Wishing everyone out there a happy, healthy and auspicious new year for 2018. I begin the year with tremendous gratitude for the gift of life and for the opportunity to play a small part in our global awakening. Thank you all sincerely for tuning in to Waking Times. Your readership and support mean the world to me.
I took a few days off at the end/beginning of the year to focus on being present with my family. I also feel like it would be beneficial to all of us if the news cycle took a pause once in a while. There’s no doubt 2017 was a year of spectacular and sensational news. One great big bombshell after another, with zero time to process or find meaning in any of it. So it goes.
Looking into my own life and speaking to friends around the world, though, 2017 was an outstanding year, albeit not without personal challenges. Even those I know whose lives were tuned upside down in two hurricanes and major wildfires seem to have come away with a unique appreciation for the adventure of it all. There’s something about being on the very edge for a bit. It tends to reveal your true colors. Especially to yourself. There is tremendous growth in that and in the sense of purpose in community that accompanies a major disaster or tribulation. How strange it is that suffering is so important to understanding who we are.
Personal growth seems to happen in waves, each bigger than the last, but in between each we tend to move through withdrawals, retreats and regressions. It’s how we handle those downward movements which defines who we are. If we’re able to appreciate their value as obstacles to be overcome, then our personal growth explodes on the next rising wave.
A passage from the I Ching speaks to this. Koan 52 – Ken, ‘Keeping Still – Impediment.’ The hexagram symbol for this Koan is a mountain over a mountain, representing an insurmountable obstacle which necessitates stillness. which is the virtue of a mountain. In stillness growth is generated and maintained without strain.
The prevailing message I receive here is that at times both the past and the future conspire to cloud the mind and confuse judgement and discernment. Therefore, the proper way forward is difficult to recognize and see clearly, and only when the mind settles in stillness will the true nature of the obstacle be revealed in earnest. From the Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth, translated and edited by Master Hua Ching Ni:
The inferior mind is the origin
of all trouble and sickness.
To treat your illness, first treat your mind.
As the impure mind becomes active,
all manner of negative obstacles arise.
As the mind becomes calm,
shadows and hardships disappear.
A harmonious mind breeds no disease.
Pride and self-neglect both breed imbalance.
To know the cause is to know the cure.
Do not think of Tao the subtle truth as theoretical.
Improving your life depends on honest self-cultivation.
Cultivate the awareness that obstacles are impurities.
Melt through your mental concepts to the eternal reality.
Unite with the final truth.
Treat your mind and body with your mind and body.
Trace differences back to their origin.
Through the truest cultivation,
discipline, proof and gain,
become the son or daughter
of the highest heavenly family.
Back to the new year thing. I sense information in 2018 is more critical than ever to our awakening and evolution, but can also serve as a trap. Awareness is essential to understanding what holds us back and what frees us, and awareness is so often curative in and of itself, if at some point awareness becomes a catalyst for change.
The way in which we intake and consume information is changing rapidly, though, and we have just entered the age of mass digital information censorship. And with so many actors now in the news and information scene, we get to choose whichever narrative we wish to follow, whether it be a constrictive narrative or an expansive one. Fear vs. Love. Or perhaps it only serves as distraction. And if so, then from what?
Having meditated on this over the holidays, I’m convinced that in a sea of possible ideas and perspectives, not all of which are helpful, focusing on personal growth and personal awakening is imperative. Awakening happens on two levels: seeing the global sociopolitical order for what it is, and connecting with our vast human spiritual potential. When the outer world and the inner world are connected, growth occurs.
We face many obstacles right now, but at no moment in the human experience have we ever been so better equipped to deal with them. The way forward is difficult to see, though, and as the I Ching advises, we first have to trace our differences back to their true origin, which is the condition of the self.
Happy new year and all the best ahead.
Read more articles by Dylan Charles.
About the Author
Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist esoteric arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. His remarkable journey of self-transformation is a testament to the power of the will and the persistence of the human spirit. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
This article (A New Year’s Message from Waking Times) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.