Festivities mark the beginning or the end of a cycle and the entrance of a new stage in life. Behind the social connotations of the celebrations it is possible to find a transformation, a symbolism and a sacredness. For this reason these dates are a turning point where one can make an assessment of the past and aspire for a better future.
In the majority of the ancient communities, the beginning of a new cycle was celebrated with a social and cultural activity that reunited all the members in a festive spirit with dance and delight. But it was also the time to invoke the gods, the archetypes or spiritual qualities that prepared and gave blessings to the community for the following cycle. Signifying that the exterior celebration looked to inspire an inner transformation.
When the New Year arrives the echoes of these remote times are heard with the hope that we have in our hearts for a better future. Hence in the middle of these holidays we long for health and prosperity; maybe a new object or perhaps a trip, or a professional goal. The list of desires is manifold, but it is unusual to find goals for the renovation of our inner being.
We know intuitively that we are here on the Earth to grow; we look for harmony, love and wisdom and we frequency hear it being said that the most fundamental aspect of ourselves is “on the inside of us”. However, most of us are not fully conscious of how important is this inner growth and its potential to give us fulfillment in our lives.
One of the principle reasons for this forgetfulness of our inner Self is the excessive value that is directed towards the world of the senses in our societies. Never before in the history of humanity have we had so much access to multiple resources, nor have we been so connected. And never before have the ghosts of existential emptiness and solitude been so present.
This reality invites us to return to a place where the human beings have found relief and plenitude from immemorial times. This refuge is our Spirit. In the words of the Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy: “Body and mind form a unity, the psycho-physical unity, but this unity still does not represent the entire fulfillment for man. Without the spiritual [the inner world] and its basic extension, fulfillment cannot exist. While we continue talk only about the body and the mind, fulfillment will continue turn its back on us”. (Frankl. 1999: 43).
In the New Year we are encouraged to listen to the voice from our inner being. Besides the family reunions, and the festivities, we can contemplate about our aspirations to discover the mystery of the inner world. The realm of the senses represents a fundamental reality, but to consider it our only existence limits our vision and reduces the immense possibilities that we have for growth.
The beginning of a cycle should be a starting point for us to find the sacred part of ourselves, where we can find a key for our mental and emotional liberation. It is there where we will find the knowledge to remove our obstacles and discover our most authentic Self. Our deepest wisdom is born from the realizations from our inner Self; but this knowledge will emerge only when we follow the maxim written in the temple of Apollo in Delphi: “Know Thyself”.
One of the best aspirations for our inner Self would be to know ourselves a little more. This means going beyond the knowledge we have of our individual tastes and roles in life. Signifying that we can become more conscious; observing our thoughts, emotions and our physical being. That we can perceive ourselves in action; and fundamentally recognize what is sacred in us and who we are when we are silent.
This is a knowledge that unifies, harmonizes and liberates the being. And in the enchanting words of Rabindranath Tagore, holder of the Nobel Prize for literature: “(…) do not look for another object but the nityo’nityanam, that is, the permanent in the ephemeral, the rasam rasatamah, the true joy that unifies all the joys”.
The inner growth, like whatever goal we set on the outside of us, requires will and a sincere pact with ourselves. If not, the rhythms in daily life and our habits can silence inner realizations. A method to maintain the spiritual fire that I learned from my Master Premananda Deva was an inner agenda. I remember in my first months of training as his student, he suggested to me to create an aspiration for the conquest aspects of myself. For example, “I would like to invite more patience into my being”. During this period I observed the situations where the impatience would arise, I would write about this subject, read about it and invoke meditations and create prayers to have patience in my being. After this time I saw how I had changed and I no longer blamed the exterior world for my impatience. My Master said: “A spiritual agenda gives a direction to the inner Self”. What does this phrase mean? That it is necessary to have clarity about our inner aspirations, work on them and put our will in the direction of a transformation.
Consequently in the spirit of renovation in the festivities of the New Year we can invite our will to reflect, contemplate about our aspirations, and make this beginning of a cycle an opportunity to find in this silent inner place our greatest potential and plentitude.