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A lifestyle blog by Daiken Nelson on The Whole 9

Buddhist Priest, Yoga Practitioner & Instructor, Mystic, Photographer, Writer, Web & Graphic Designer, Traveler, Beekeeper, Honorary South Bronx Puerto Rican, Citizen of The World. And now Bloggeur.

New Year

New Year

This New Year, 2014, also happens to have fallen on a New Moon. Two strong symbols of newness, possibility and intention.

Typically, New Years is a time of the infamous resolution. I will quit…. I will stop…. I will give up…. I will lose…. A view that something—some aspect of our Life—is negative (a behavior or our body itself) which we want to change. So we resolve to give up smoking, alcohol, sugar; to lose 10 pounds, go to the gym every other day; watch less TV, spend less time on-line. Etc., etc.

And, also typically, the gym and the Yoga studio are packed for the first 2 weeks of January. Then the numbers drop as our resolve wanes. We keep up the new behavior, or extinguish the old behavior, with the zeal of a convert.  And it becomes easier to slip into old habits.

Typically, we “fail” at New Year’s resolutions.

In Buddhism, one of the 8 spokes of the Dharma Wheel is Right Intention. Not right in opposition to wrong, rather as in correct or proper amount. One discerns the correct, proper amount, then gives that to the moment.

So, that path of Right Intention in Buddhism can also be known as “right purpose”, “right motivation”, “right thought”, “right resolve”, “right conception”, “right aspiration” or “the exertion of our own will to change”. In this factor, the practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral.

We “know” that behaviors such as smoking, drinking to excess, overeating or eating things that are not good for us, or wasting time are harmful.

The New Moon is a symbol of beginnings. The New Moon cycle is one of breathing deeply, feeling grounded, moving slowly and inviting the ability to see one’s life more clearly.

So, this Year, perhaps we can reframe our aspiration to make changes. Rather than resolving to stop a behavior or state of being that we view as negative, we can begin to discern what is good for our Life, then move more towards the direction of that way of Being. We can aspire to be Whole, aspire to not harming ourself or others.

We change the focus from cutting out to filling in. From fragmentation to wholeness. From what makes us “bad” to what makes us whole/holy.

And since this process is based on intention/aspiration, we cannot “fail”. We begin, we do our best, we do not attach to outcomes/results, we persevere then accept where we are. We can then reassess, then recommit. It is a process rather than the pass/fail of resolution.

Ultimately, we can make this decision at any moment; we do not need an event like New Years. Or a New Moon. Next breath… health. Next breath… wholeness. Next breath… Peace. But that is a more difficult process.

We’ll work up to that one….

Blessings for the New Year. May You be Happy, Healthy, Free….

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Very clearly and simply written, well put and relevant. Thank you, Daiken!

This approach makes so much sense. Focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want to experience in our life, since what we focus our attention on is what we will experience. “As a man thinketh, so he is.”

Father’s Day

I am sitting in a hummus place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NY, having an impromptu lunch with my Buddhist Sister Michele.

We acknowledge that it is Father’s Day. She raises her coffee and I raise my water to toast our Fathers.

I mention that I am traveling to LA this week for a belated Mother’s Day; my Brother—who was busy in May—will also drive down from Reno to join in.

Michele asks me of my Father. Is he still living? (Which, given that we are both long-term, serious Buddhist practitioners is more of a courtesy question/curiosity since we experience that nothing dies, though it may no longer be in the physical realm).

“He passed away my Senior year in College. It was his death that began my Spiritual Journey.”

I was raised lukewarm Methodist, I was attending a Lutheran College. I turned to those expressions for some comfort and understanding, which I did not find (In retrospect, plus to be fair, I doubt that anything would have aided me at that time).

So, I began to read voraciously about other Traditions. I went to Catholic Mass, Quaker Meetings, Unitarian/Universalist Society Services. Friends took me to their Episcopal Church.

After some time, a Friend Geof said to me: “Ya know, I have been going to this Meditation Center. You should check it out. I think you might like it.”

So, I went. On Wednesday, 5 May. Steve, who later became a Friend as well, gave me beginning Meditation instruction:

“Go sit on that cushion. Turn to face the wall. Fold your legs and put your hands in your lap.”

So, that was the beginning of my conscious Spiritual Journey….

That Journey which has taken me to LA, Yonkers, Auschwitz, Santa Fe, back to LA, NYC, back to Santa Fe, Bruxelles, back to NYC, Brazil. Zen Centers, Interfaith Services, sitting on the stage at talks by H.H. The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Centers, Santo Daime Works and Episcopal Services on Good Friday & Easter. And, today, the Upper West Side….

It has brought me Friends, Lovers, Brothers & Sisters, Teachers. A certain amount of notoriety…and a certain amount of infamy—when my tendency to move off the mark has lead me to fuck up and shoot myself in the foot.

I have Meditated, Chanted, Counseled, performed Weddings plus Funerals & Memorial Services, Prayed, Sang, Danced, received Hymns, Read & Written, practiced Asana, Taught.

I understand the importance of remaining true to the Path. I realize how fortunate I am to have been born and I realize I am lucky to be alive. I am filled with Gratitude.

Part of me wishes that I could have seen my Father then as I see him now. And part of me wishes he could see me for who I have become (though my Life would have been different without his pivotal passing when he did).

I came through him. He taught me some things. I see now that he was doing his best—living with alcoholism, judgment plus living with the Life he had with his Father. And though he left me with each of those legacies, he also gave me a strong work ethic.

So, I have persevered. And I experience great compassion for him…now

I have had conversations with my Father over the years; mostly monologues (or, early on, rants) directed towards him. And yet, I have met with him several times over the past couple years—in ceremony or dreamtime. He is doing fine. He is being attended to, taken care of, taught and healed.

So, I Thank & Love my Father now, 26 years after his passing, in ways I was unable when he was alive.

Honor to Thee Dad.

And to all Fathers.

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As we heal ourselves, we often heal those that caused us to be wounded. This is a beautiful post, Daiken, and one of the many reasons I’m glad to call you Friend. I look forward to seeing you when you’re in Los Angeles.

Beautifully written and heartfelt. Really appreciated reading this. Thanks, Daiken.

Begin It Now….

There is one elementary Truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment that one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too…

Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goëthe

Guidelines for Being Human

YOU WILL RECEIVE A BODY. You may like it, you may hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

LESSONS WILL BE PRESENTED. You will be enrolled in a full time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have an opportunity to learn lessons. You may learn lessons or you may think them irrelevant and stupid.

THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, ONLY LESSONS. Growth is a process of trial and error and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works”.

A LESSON IS REPEATED UNTIL LEARNED. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms and with more and more energy until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

LEARNING LESSONS DOES NOT END. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

“THERE” IS NOT BETTER THAN “HERE”. When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will, again, look better than “here”.

OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

WHAT YOU MAKE OF YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. All the choices are yours.

YOUR ANSWERS LIE INSIDE OF YOU. The answers to life’s questions lie inside of you. All you need do is look inside, listen and trust.

YOU WILL FORGET ALL THIS.

From If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules by Chérie Carter-Scott

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Hmmm… I don’t know. I agree with a lot of the statements above, but some I don’t (eg: “A lesson is repeated until learned” and “Others are merely mirrors of you”). Haven’t read the book, but it all sounds a bit simplistic and doctrinaire to me; more on the level of theology than philosophic inquiry or reasoned deduction. But as a basis for discussion and thought these are good jumping off points. Thanks.

Thanks for sharing this…I find nearly all of this to be true, although I’m not sure how I feel about:

OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

I love people who are musical and patient, but I would certainly never ascribe those qualities to myself. I dislike qualities including lack of integrity, laziness, lack of discipline, evilness, etc., and I suppose I could look at those qualities which (I hope) are latent within myself and find them.

I’ve heard this statement before and it doesn’t ring true with me. I would love your thoughts on that.

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for the comment.

I feel the intent behind “OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU” is, that what we see & experience in others is only a projection of aspects of ourself. Since we are all One, how could that annoying thing that I experience that “other” person doing be anything other than an attribute of myself?

And, likewise, for all the “good” things we experience.

We are all flowing in the energy of the Universe—call it God, Love, Peace or Harmony. So we are in it and it is us.

Therefore, no projection. No finger pointing. No aversion or clinging. Only Union. Or awareness of the Union.

Hope this might clarify.

Love to You.

I think the “we are all one” idea is a very macro-cosmic point of view. I don’t disagree with it (I mean one of my primary homepage statements is “everything is everything”), but we can’t ignore the fact that we live in a world in which we perceive, act and interact as individuals. I feel that it is in no way wrong or inappropriate to point out vicious, harmful, corrupt, abusive actions perpetrated against individuals and society as a whole by others (state, corporate, institutional or individual). That is the only way to change things and make the world a better place. You are a monk, and perhaps for personal and/or theological reasons you’ve chosen a life of detachment, but for most of us this is neither a practical way to live nor a way to help solve the many problems facing us. I don’t believe in an omniscient, all powerful ‘god’ who ‘controls’ the universe, nor do I believe in heaven and hell, but I do believe there’s such a thing as good and evil and it behooves us to recognize it and do something about it if we can. I believe we should condemn and stop those who commit genocide, hold others in bondage and slavery, practice torture, rape and pillage the earth out of greed, or for that matter abuse innocent, helpless animals and children. And if they represent some part of ourself, it is our responsibility as sentient, self-conscious beings to recognize and either change, transform, sublimate or supress those parts of ourselves that would act on those inclinations and emotions. Anyways, that’s the way I see it.

We tend to emphasis the individual—not able to see the Forest (Oneness) for the trees.

I am not detached from anything. I do not walk around thinking it is all ponies & rainbows. Here in NYC, no different than anywhere else, there are horrendous things—homeless-Children & Families, filth, folks living with addiction & mental health issues. It is not about closing our eyes—and more importantly our Hearts. It is seeing all this, giving a sigh then saying “I am That”.

All we see are parts of ourself. We are all addicts of one sort or another. We all have poverties with which we live.

And we all have nobler aspects and aspirations.

All I am pointing to is to focus on those parts of ourself. Acknowledge that folks are doing the best they can. We can all become better people. As you said: Change or Transform. That is why we are here.

And to truly know, to the depth of our perception, that we are all sparks of Love, looking to unite with each other so that we might be stronger & brighter and more who we are meant to be.

If I Had Not….

A while ago, I was walking through the 42nd Street/Times Square Subway Station, listening to my iPod on Shuffle.

I had gotten off the train to the strains of Miles Davis.

As I wandered through the station, Miles gave way to Vivaldi’s Winter Concerto from The Four Seasons. I Love that whole piece, but especially Winter. So, I am walking through the swirling flakes of the Music.

As I climb the stairs to another level to reach another platform, I begin to hear some music over the strings coming through my earphones. It becomes louder as I walk.

I turn a corner to see a tall, blonde woman playing a violin. She has an open case with CDs, business cards and a couple of dollars & loose change.

I pull out one of my earbuds.

Karen, (as I learned from her business card [and a 20 year orchestra violinist who also gives lessons—as I learned from a poster on her music stand]) is playing….

Vivaldi. The Winter Concerto from The Four Seasons.

I smiled, pulled out my other earbud then put my iPod in my pocket.

I stop and stand to listen to her play the rich tones, sometimes closing my eyes. I fill in some of the other instruments from my memory & imaginiation. She was very good.

The low ceilinged, tiled walls and concrete floored station proved to be an acoustical wonder.

She finishes. I applaud, joined by the dozen others who had stopped to listen to the sweet tones of Karen & Vivaldi.

I pick up her card, then leave her some change.

We catch each others’ gaze then share a smile. “Thank You”, I say .

From then on, I have given up plugging into my iPod. I have learned that the Music of Life trumps what I have collected. The Sound of Existence outweighs my preferences of tunes or retreat.

I now notice the hundreds of people (what one commentator calls “sheeple”) walking through the stations or sitting on the trains with earphones & Dr. Dre Beats™ headphones. At least every other person. And the other person has their nose in their smartphone….

If I had not unplugged, I wouldn’t have noticed Karen & Vivaldi nor the strange synchronicity/coincidence (?) with what was playing on my iPod.

If I had not chosen to unplug, I wouldn’t have been aware of the wacky Jazzman who blew his tenor sax on the train last night—mixing Coltrane, Davis and noise with his banter.

And if I had not given up my iPodophilia, I would not have stopped to have a conversation with Leroy, the Black Vet with his jokes and rap. And his brown eyes ringed in blue…

And I would not notice the many conversations in different languages which pass by me on each trip through the City. Russian and Spanish tonight. Polish last night.

To borrow from Timothy Leary (Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out)…. Drop out, Turn off, Tune In.

The World is made of Music….

Happy New Moon and Happy Lunar New Year, all you Water Dragons. NOW is the Time to make some Resolutions….

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Daiken…what a beautiful post. The world is made of music and I feel blessed that there are people in my life like you that remind me of that. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment in your life…and making it part of min.

It Is You….

1:23 a.m.

I am just returnéd from a Laya Yoga Seminar. Nikolay, a Russian Yogi & Daimista, is my Friend & Brother. He has found this group in Russia who are working to transform Planet Earth—through Meditation, Yoga and a clear Spiritual focus in order to transform one’s personal Consciousness, then by extension, the Consciousness of Others & The Planet.

We were instructed in Russian (Leo & I, the only non-Russians, were treated to two tag-team translators throughout the evening).

The last item on the Program was a Puja to the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. Puja is modeled on the idea of giving a gift or offering to a deity or important person then receiving their blessing. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of Wealth, Prosperity (both material and spiritual), Light, Wisdom, Fortune, Fertility, Generosity and Courage; and the embodiment of Beauty, Grace and Charm.

After some chanting, we entered into a Meditation. We were directed by the female monk to first, imagine Lakshmi in front of you in all her radiance. Then, imagine her inside of each of  you. Then say silently to yourself: “I am Lakshmi”.

It was a powerful Meditation. My Mind & Heart were transformed from my busy day —To a place more present, more kind.

After the Seminar, under the Full Moon, I walked out to head home. In part, I guess, as Lakshmi. Passing the partiers on the street. Past some event at Madison Square Garden with the trailers & trucks outside. A guy on a Harley with a skull face mask.

Into the Subway. As I walked through the turnstile, the A Train was just arriving. A stroke of “luck”. And, the entrance to which I had walked placed me at the tail of the train; where I needed to be to get off at my stop. Another stroke of “luck”.

The doors closed. It was crowded. I was leaning against the doors. I closed my eyes for a bit. A chant came into my head.

It was a Buddhist Chant, The Song Of The Jewel Mirror Awareness. It speaks of an Awareness/ Understanding/Experience  of the Absolute (Universal) that is like a jewel mirror, reflecting into the World. There is a line therein:

You are not it

It is actually You

Suddenly, I was aware that “It” is me. And You. And Everyone. Always present.

Lakshmi. God. Buddha. Allah. Jesus. The Absolute. Brahman. Great Spirit. Nature. Art. Music. Beauty. Truth. Wisdom. Compassion. Love. What ever your “It” may be.

I saw all the folks on the train. It is them.

All of you reading this, It is You.

We have all had this moment, a glimpse of It. Our sense of our small self drops away. For a moment, the illusory line between Self & Other, Inside & Outside, Subject/Object, Lover & Belovéd, Human & Divine, melts. We flow. We breathe. We are….

To have this understanding is what the Laya Yoga folks are all about. If we have that awareness, then our Worldview is dramatically & radically plus irreversibly altered. And,the World around us is transformed as a result. All Traditions point to this State of Consciousness. This State of Grace….

To have this awareness can alter one’s perspective, Life & interactions.

So, go forth with this awareness. Make Art. Make money. Make a difference. Be Love.

Be with and for the It within you.

Happy Full Moon, Y’All

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This is really beautiful Daiken…and a much needed reminder for, unfortunately, to some extent, during the past month, everything that has happened in the past year has caused me to lose my patience and some of my faith.

After reading about your experience and meditating on the Buddhist chant ‘The Song Of The Jewel Mirror Awareness’, these words came into my heart…Look into a mirror and say to your reflection, “How do you know me?”

ReUnion — You People, Remember!

I saw her again. That beautiful, smoldering young Black woman on the bus. The same bus.

She was sitting in the middle, aisle seat. I always survey the bus when I get on; looking at the amazing faces.

I got the sense that she recognized me as well. Again, there was that fire in her eyes.

I looked in those eyes for a bit. Smiled & nodded my head.

She held my gaze for a while, then turned her head slowly to look out the window.

I exited the bus a few stops later. I did not look back to see her. I did try to catch a glimpse through the window as I walked away from the bustop. I could not see her through the reflection on the window.

Though I have moved from the Harlem neighborhood where we “met”, I take the buses on 125th from time to time. I look for her. Perhaps, sometime, we will get a chance for words again.

She haunts me a bit, that fiery woman. I want to sit to talk with her. Not so much to show her I am a good person, more to just allow her to vent or tell her stories in order to release some of that anger. To allow her to free herself from its grip. To show her that her Life is a work of Beauty.

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I recall the story and the fiery young woman of which you speak~

Cooler heads prevail and you seem to be the yin to her yang~

Fire and Ice shall meet again and woe to the driver of the bus and the occupants unaware…a mist will fill the air and fog the windows, making it impossible to ignore the duo of destiny~

Oh, Alright, I’ll Do It (Methinks I Doth Protest Too Much)

And we’re back. Lest y’all thought I got “raptured”….

After last month’s New Moon Resolution, 13 pingback/spam attempts on my blog posts and an e-mail request for help from Heidi & Lisa, I find my way back to The Whole9 orbit. I am never that far away; I just use the excuse of my crazy, busy Life to avoid putting posts on my blog. Mea culpa.

Having not yet contributed to the process, I was glad to travel by subway, commuter train & taxi to an Industrial Park in Cranbury, NJ, where I had the opportunity to photograph the loading of a 40′ shipping container with 19 pallets of canes and crutches (plus pads & tips), destined for Sierra Leone as part of Operation Rise. Wheelchairs & 3 pallets of items which did not fit into this shipping container will be sent at a later date.

I spent the better part of a day photographing the stuff, it’s repacking then loading by the folks at Invacare, a company which makes then distributes adaptive medical devices. They were part of the collection of businesses & individuals who came together to make Operation Rise possible. Items are being shipped to the UNICEF programs in 7 sites in Sierra Leone.

I was struck by the immensity of the project; the amount of stuff plus the labours of innumerable people (most notably Lisa & Heidi) to bring this idea to fruition.

I am honored & humbled to be a part of this project as well as a part of The Whole9.

Until soon….

n.b.: Just to be clear: my choice of this title is a self-deprecating, chiding comment on my own shilly-shallying in maintaining an active blogging presence, NOT contributing to The Peace Project or Operation Rise or The Whole9. So there….

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Good to see you back, Daiken!

Daiken, you’re another angel among us!

Now that is reporting on the ground! Thanks for being our eyes and showing us these crutches and canes on the move. That is very exciting to think about. Congratulations to Lisa and Heidi and everyone working on Operations Rise! A 40′ shipping container! Is this amazing or what?

You People

A New To Harlem Adventure from a few weeks ago….

I noticed her standing waiting for the bus. Big woven yellow-green coat; the color of spring grass. Lion’s mane of hair. Pretty young Black woman….

As is my custom, I allow others on the bus first. The bus was crowded. I was carrying a bag of laundry; I was catsitting for two Friends a few blocks away, so I was off to launder.

The bus that arrived is the one that shuttles back & forth to LaGuardia Airport along 125th Street, the main drag through Harlem. There are racks & shelves over the wheel wells for peoples’ luggage.

I boarded the bus then placed my bag on the shelf over the front wheel.

“You could say excuse me!” she said.

I was taken aback. I wasn’t aware of anything that I had done.

“YOU PEO—ple!” she said loudly in a tone of disgust.

I looked her in the eyes. “I am sorry, I did not realize that I had gotten so close to you with my bag”.

“And your well-de…served su…per…i…or…i…ty”.

A flash of anger arose with in me. I thought of all the things I could say about her well-deserved anger. And space issues on a crowded bus in New York City. But I said nothing, just looking at the fire in her eyes.

The crowded bus lurched forward as the driver braked suddenly. Our elbows touched. She pushed me away from her. “Don’t stand so fucking close to me!”

Anger morphed into sadness as I realized that something, perhaps many somethings had happened to this pretty young Black woman to create in her such anger.

I focused on my breath. I breathed in her anger & breathed out Compassion. I tried my best to be non-defensive.

A couple stops later, she exited the bus. ”Have a nice weekend”, I offered.

“FUCK YOU!”

My stop was yet a few more streets away. At the next stop, a man who had been sitting next to the shelf on which I put my bag (and whom I thought I might have touched with my bag, inciting this encounter) got up to exit. He looked me in the eyes then shook his head. I have no idea what he meant by that.

At the the next street, as I prepared to exit, an older Black woman, who had been standing next to the young Black woman where she caught our whole encounter, caught my eye. She smiled then shook her head. She reached out to touch my arm as she passed by to exit the bus.

I like to think of myself as at home wherever I find myself. I like to think of myself as not being the Whitest guy in the room. In the 2 months I have been in this new neighborhood, I have initiated contact with Reggie, a middle-aged Black man in a wheelchair who hangs between the subway stop & my place; I have given him two pairs of gloves and I speak with him every time I see him. In spite of all these ideas I have about myself,  I realize that I may always be a Stranger in A Strange Land. Representing something, perhaps many somethings to folks who, through no fault of their own, only view Life on the surface. To some, I may always represent “You people”.

My heart goes out to them, my Brothers & Sisters. The struggle. The anger. The resentment. The separation. The alienation. The pain. The fear. The whatever that keeps them in that place.

I breathe in that whatever. And breathe out Compassion, Peace & Loving Kindness for them.

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Compassion is the one thing that will get us through, because there really is no difference and the only thing that keeps us apart is us.

Thanks for sharing, Daiken.

I applaud your willingness to suppress your anger and irritation. It showed more compassion than she deserved from you, in my opinion, and your reaction was probably the best and smartest way of handling the situation. Unfortunately, you’ll find angry, bitter, hostile and mentally disturbed people of all races, religions and creeds. Maybe their feelings can be justified by their past experiences. I don’t accept that, but I’m willing to understand it. You’ll also run into racists and bigots among all ethnicities, nationalities and faiths. In my neighborhood I’ve had racist remarks directed at me a couple times and have been shocked by it (maybe because I’ve so rarely experienced it and racism has no place in my own way of thinking). Being on the receiving end does make one more aware of what others who perhaps have been in that position more often must be feeling when it happens.

Great story! Yes…compassion is the only way to go. I’ve been in your position, and I’ve also been that angry person unfortunately (when I was younger). When I moved out here to L.A. from the east coast, it was interesting what some people would project onto me…and it took me a while to realize that that’s what it was…a projection of their own inner angst. I grew up in a very “white” place…and didn’t have much interaction with people of all kinds until I moved closer to Boston.

What a compelling insight about life, love and the nature of things. The timing was more than random. After reading the Whole 9 newsletter ( thanks, lisa) filled with stories about being black and related experiences, this seemed to be the terrace that completed the mosaic. After reading stories of a little black girl, being brought up by white parents or a white Buddhist, making his way in Harlem, I can’t help but feel more connected, not separated from humanity. If we can remember the sins of our fathers are not ours and the future is yet to be written, it only leaves us in the moment…with all the possibilities… Great Blog & Great Newsletter for the LAST day of Black History !Month.

Resolution

Happy New Year!

I have written here before about New Year’s Resolutions/Intentions. How, in Nahuatl (Aztec) Belief, the first 12 Days of a New Year correspond with the 12 months of the New Year. One can ensure the changes by implementing them in the first 12 days of this New Year. I thought of reprinting that piece, since I like the story/intention behind it.

But then, I thought about this. And I came to see things a bit differently.

Ideas & paradigms & beliefs are all OK, but they can cloud what one must truly do in one’s Life in order to live more in accord with one’s True Spirit (and, by extension, the Divine Spirit — whatever the feeling or name). It is too easy to settle on some system, then use those beliefs to be the default setting. Orthodoxy is easy & it is lifeless. I believe thus & such, so I don’t need to question anything. It all fits in this little box, which is wrapped up purty with a bow. I am content… I am happy… I am a Spiritual automaton… going through the motions.

Every day is a New Year. Each moment is a whole New Year. One is confronted with experiences, which, appear similar (waking up in the same house with the same people, drinking the same coffee, driving the same car to the same job), yet everything is new & different. Different you, different people, different day. And, different opportunities to discover who you truly are as well as what you are truly meant to be doing in this Life.

The historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (who was, after all, an awake human, with no talk of being Divine or a Prophet), said:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

So, everyday, we can make a Resolution. New Year’s Resolutions can be trite & conventional; they are for amateurs. Therefore, they are rarely kept.  To be willing to put oneself on the line each day, challenging one’s position by continually inquiring, that is one way to be fully alive.

So, here is to living each Day/Moment), being fully present to the unfolding; no past — no future. Only living in accord with one’s own Spirit. Following your Heart. Living your Divine Spark: Your Love, Your Art.

Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s Eve Benediction:
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

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Beautifully said. I never make New Year’s Resolutions for that very reason, they are trite and rarely kept.
The idea of life changing every day even when everything stays the same (same house, same people, same job, same school) is something my sister and I have been working on getting some people to realize at our our church. Change is not bad and it happens in every second of every day.
That Siddhartha Gautama was a wise man. I struggle with family members all the time who simply believe things because they are told to, because that is what their religious texts say. That is not a belief. That is blind following resulting in blind ignorance.
My goal in life is to surprise myself as much as possible, daily if I can.

Beautiful :) Living in the moment…each day…makes each day a New Year’s day…

Very healing sentiments~

Living in the city and trying to decipher each day as it unfolds can be quite exhausting~

Small victories and living in the moment is a genuine way in which to keep things in perspective.

Make the time and then spend it with those you love~

Imagine

If you can Imagine it, you can Create it.
If you can Dream it, you can Become it.”
William Arthur Ward (1921-1994: American Scholar, Author, Editor, Pastor and Teacher)

(I began this blog earlier, then stored it in my drafts folder. It is from the first week in October; October 9th would have been John Lennon’s 70th Birthday)

I was walking through Washington Square Park in NYC’s West Greenwich Village. I became aware of piano music.

This Summer, New York City was having a public art program of placing pianos in parks & busy areas like Times Square. People were encouraged to play the pianos.

A lanky guy in distressed jeans, black t-shirt, fingerless gloves & a straw porkpie hat was playing Imagine by John Lennon. The chords rose up in the air in the Park.

And, today is the 30th Anniversary of the Death of John Lennon.

For me and some Friends in High School at the time, this was the day the Music died. A unique voice for Peace & Revolution from the old mores was silenced forever.

Walking through the Park, listening to the piano Music, I tried to Imagine what could have transpired in the last 30 years. How would things have been different if John Lennon had continued to write & protest & speak out?

Unfortunately, we shall never know.

We can however, pick up the mantle to do what we can for Peace & Justice in the World. And Imagine/Dream what a different World could be like.

Imagine…Create
Dream…Become

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

comments

This is beautiful Daiken…and you’re right — it’s up to us to pick up the mantle. I have sort of a crazy story to tell…I recently suggested playing this song as part of a slideshow at my father’s memorial and was told it was “too political”. Ponder that if you will. War is patriotic, but peace is political.

Step away from the television…

I used the lyrics to “Imagine” on my Christmas Card one year….Several people told me I had some nerve putting “Imagine there’s no heaven….and no religion” on a Christmas Card!…I guess peace really isn’t a Christian concept either!
So, this year I am going to say: Merry imaginings! Peace on Earth Goodwill to ALL!

Every once in a great while a good one comes along and no one blinks an eye until they’re gone from this earth.

What will it take for those of us, who fail to see the truth and the light, to finally wake up and discover this one simple fact…

We are all a part of a greater whole and each has to do their part~

I remember reading about that piano thing in the park! It looked like such a great experience :) I always find it interesting how when people like John Lennon pass away earlier than we think they should…that they usually leave behind so much to remember and teach us.