…May It Be Yours In The Coming Year
Last year began with a new moon, symbolizing an opportunity for letting go of what isn’t working to create room for new possibilities. (see “Happy New Year“) The beginning of this year roughly coincides with a full moon, symbolic of bringing to fruition, or fulfilling, those seeds and intentions planted last year. As we begin this new year let us contemplate two age-old questions: What will we choose to harvest? And what will be the meaning of our choices?
In a recent article acclaimed novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace ponders how we decide what has meaning to us. Wallace writes, “A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong.” He asserts that most of us experience the world from a default setting that defines our own self as the absolute center of the world.
Though this basic self-centeredness is perfectly natural, Wallace contends we rarely talk about or acknowledge it because it’s not socially or politically correct to do so. This is a shame. If we are not willing to investigate how our natural default settings affect our ability to influence and impact the world around us, we are missing a unique opportunity to evolve our consciousness, and our personal effectiveness.
The ability to choose how we respond to what happens to us may be the most precious freedom we have. Unfortunately, of all the kinds of freedom available in our culture, you will not hear this critical freedom talked about much at all. This freedom, to decide how you are going to see things…to decide what has meaning and what doesn’t…may be the most basic and important freedom available to any of us. Yet on any given day you may be operating in default mode instead of truly reflecting and deciding on your own what is meaningful to you.
- If you determine that money and material things bring real meaning to your life, you may discover that you will never have enough…or at least that you will never feel as though you have enough.
- If you determine that physical beauty and attractiveness are what provides meaning, then you may die a thousand deaths as time and age take their inevitable toll.
- If you define meaning by the power you are able to exert over others, then you may feel weak and afraid when your power is challenged, and you may seek ever more power to keep the fear at bay.
- Hide behind your intellect and a need to be seen as smart, and you may end up fearing being seen as stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.
There is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing wealth, beauty, power, and intellectual growth. But if they’re pursued unconsciously, then you are operating in default mode. Over time you may lose touch with what’s really valuable and meaningful to you…and what really makes you feel free.
According to Mr. Wallace, the really important kind of freedom is the kind that “involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being truly able to care about people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little ways, every day.”
It’s not about morality or dogma or “supposed to” or life after death. Rather, it’s about simple awareness…and the quality and meaning of your life before death. So let us ask ourselves again: What will we harvest? And what will our choices mean to us?