By Tim Burnett
I'm happy to write this New Year's morning to wish you well and thank you for your interest in mindfulness. I deeply believe that this oddly simple and deeply profound practice and sensibility around how we meet our moments is critical. I deeply believe that taking up this practice of mindfulness to whatever level we each can is helping our society and our world. And I have a lot of faith that with our shared efforts this benefit will continue. It matters.
Why our mindfulness matters
Gandhi famously wrote:
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
What a wonderful reminder that unlike the assumption that thoughts are just a private thing and that form and matter are completely separate, the way we think and what we believe critically matter. The mind creates the world in deep and important ways. The world isn't all "out there" and beyond our influence: we are co-creating it with everyone else all the time starting with the way we think about it, the way we look at it, the way we talk about it.
And it all starts with a meeting between mind and moment. Mind and moment. That meeting is profoundly important. Our practice helps us to show up for that meeting with awareness, with curiosity, with perhaps a little more kindness.
It's easy to look at that "out there" world and be very discouraged. There were many problems in 2018 and the daily news is as much of a horror show as it's been in a very long time. This is true. And it's challenging.
See the good, too
And yet there are also billions of kind, caring people doing their best - doing our best - to make this world a better place. I strongly encourage you to review this article on overall trends in the environment, education, health care, and economic justice. You might be surprised that there's a lot of good news out there: Ways the World Improved in 2018
I had the honor of presiding over a turning-of-the-year ceremony last night at our Zen Center here in Bellingham and as we practiced meditation before we began the ceremony I was thinking about time and our place in it. So many have come before us and so many are yet to come. We hold the space for a brief moment. May we all be even better stewards of these years we're here as we honor those who came before and prepare for those yet to come.
And see below for a wonderful example from the poet Naomi Shihab Nye of how it can be. All is not lost.
Happy New Year,