What is the New Year?
Is it merely for celebration? Or is it the time to start everything anew? In the past, I associated it with parties, fresh beginnings and a never-ending list of resolutions.
My perception has changed drastically over the years. I no longer section my life into 365 days—on the contrary, I now see the new year as a progression. I no longer believe I should start from scratch at the beginning of every year. Instead, I continue my goal for personal growth. Be it spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically, I don’t put anything behind me—all is embraced in the new year.
Studying Buddhism has helped me escape the notion of time even more. It has taught me to focus on my internal growth rather than focusing on the time escaping me. Celebrations don’t matter—what matters is how we are evolving from moment to moment.
Just a few days ago, when his Holiness was asked to wish the world a Happy New Year, he said:
“I would love to express a happy new year. I think a happy new year is not just party and some cake, some wine—not only that. I think a happy new year should include peace of mind and a happy mind.”
The Dalai Lama then went on to say, when he visited Buddha Smriti Park in Patna, India:
“In today’s world, there is an emotional crisis; too much anger, too much fear, too much stress. That is wrong. In order to reduce anger and stress, you take drugs and alcohol, this is not the answer. The answer is the training of the mind. Gain full knowledge about the emotions. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer, knowledge of the mind, of emotion, is needed.”
I’m fond of this idea of: “A happy new year means a happy mind.”
His Holiness is a great example of someone with a happy mind. His country has been occupied by the Chinese since 1959 and ever since, he’s been living in his exile in Dharamshala, India, with his people. Despite all the difficulties that his people and culture are facing on a daily basis, the Dalai Lama always wears a smile on his face.
When I was in India this year, I watched a documentary on his daily routine. It was stunning to see him constantly laughing and cracking jokes. His life is a true example of how to welcome every single day with a happy mind.
At times, we tend to focus on celebrating the new year, rather than focus on what we wish to improve in the days ahead. It is likely that the ultimate resolution we can make this year is to work on our peace of mind.
We need to learn more about ourselves before learning about anything else. The fact is, the mind is the source of everything. It is the reason for our fear, anger, and stress. If we don’t know how to train our mind and deal with it, we will never know how to cope with emotional calamities.
Here are four simple ways to help us learn how to achieve a happy and peaceful mind:
Meditation is the ultimate method for training the mind. It allows us to gain a better insight and understanding of our own emotions and thoughts. Five minutes a day can be of great benefit.
Take notes of your daily emotional activities. What made you angry? What made you sad? What made you happy? Write down the reasons and start working on eradicating what’s not serving you. Then work on strengthening what’s of benefit for you.
3. It’s all in the mind.
Know that your reality starts in your mind. All anger, stress, fear and worry stem from your thoughts. As you wake up every morning, say to yourself, “I am the creator of my own reality, and today, my reality will be one of happiness.”
4. Happy New Day.
Don’t wait for the new year to work on having a happy mind. Make it your utmost priority every day.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Nicole Cameron