Sunday, June 26, 2005

Every day is a fresh beginning

Every day is a fresh beginning
Listen my soul to the glad refrain and,
spite of old sorrows and older sinning
Troubles forecasted and possible pain
Take heart with the day and begin again...
-- Susan Coolidge


Think about this : Do we need to change the way we live?

Or begin to change the way we think. We can change our mind. And then we will feel so much lighter......about life.

What belief that keeps you off balance?

Keeps dragging on your spirit?

What unhealthy relationship or practice, have you been clinging to?

Is there encouragement you can seek that can help you enter each day in a healthy way?

Every day is a fresh beginning
Listen my soul to the glad refrain
and, spite of old sorrows and older sinning
Troubles forecasted and possible pain
Take heart with the day and begin again...


It seems to me that being able to make a new beginning, involves some element of forgiveness.

To begin again requires that we let go, of old ideas and grievances.

Sometimes old sorrows and older sinning get in our way of beginning again.

Sometimes we grieve and argue with the past year after year.

Renewing our mind can require that we let go of old grievances, fears, resentments or shames.

Is it time for you to forgive? Old sorrows and older sinning?

Who is it time to forgive?

Yourself?

Another?

Life?

God?

Is it time to ask forgiveness?

To say, "I'm sorry?"

John MacDougal wrote, "Forgiveness is giving up hope for a better past." "Forgiveness is giving up hope for a better past."

"Resentment is expecting the past to change. Forgiveness is accepting the past as real, our injuries are real, and accepting that our lives are changed because of those injuries.
When we forgive, ourselves and others, the past can become the past, part of history, part of who we are, without dominating our present."

--- John MacDougal.

"My precious burdens", Whitman says, "My precious burdens I carry them wherever I go..."

Our old failures get as heavy as our children's backpacks.

We carry them around, resentments and failures, ours and those of others and GOD's.

Some days it seems as though we would rather die than change.

How do we BEGIN AGAIN?

How so we put those burdens, and bundles down?

I want to conclude with a Zen Buddhist story, I read this version in, Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart, by Mark Epstein.

There was an old Chinese monk, who after years of practice with no enlightenment, went to his master and asked for permission to go to the mountain to seek enlightenment in an isolated cave.

He took his begging bowl and a few possessions and he headed out on foot to the mountain.

He started to climb.

He saw an old man carrying a huge bundle on his back winding his way down the mountain towards the monk.

In this story it is Buddha in disguise as an old man. Greeting the monk Buddha asked him where he was heading.

The monk replied, "I am heading to the furthest mountain to find a cave in which to meditate and I will stay there until I die or realize something."

Then monk asked the old stranger this question. "Tell me, do you know anything about enlightenment?"

The old stranger dropped his bundle onto the ground.

Just like that the monk was enlightened.

Now that he had also put down his defenses, the monk admitted to himself he was still confused and so he asked the old stranger, "Now what?"

The old stranger smiled, picked up his bundle and continued down the path...

Listen again....

Then monk asked the old stranger this question. "Tell me, do you know anything about enlightenment?"

The old stranger dropped his bundle onto the ground.

Just like that the monk was enlightened.

Now that he had also put down his defenses, the monk admitted to himself he was still confused and so he asked the old stranger, "Now what?"

The old stranger smiled, picked up his bundle and continued down the path...

When the student is ready the teacher appears...

He did not have to climb a mountain...go far away from home...into a cave...off to an ashram...or a new age spa.

He had practiced for years, it was integrated into him, he was prepared and ready, he did not have to die for it, he was ready to lighten up, let go, be enlightened, and he could receive what he needed from an old stranger, he was able to see the wisdom of a simple gesture from another he encountered on his path.

Day to day, everything is the same and everything is different, yet you are changed.

The monk meets the Buddha, disguised as a poor old man, a stranger, or a woman, a physical therapist or my mother, or yours.

Or your child, friend, beloved.

Or you.

You could be the disguised Buddha for another.

You are Buddha in this world, now.

Every day is an opportunity to put down our burdens... lighten up and be enlightened and then when you begin again, and you pick them up, everything is the same, and different , at the same time.

Everything is new.

If you want to transform yourself, renew your mind.

Every day is a fresh beginning.

Listen my soul to the glad refrain...

But, what about troubles forecasted and possible pain?

The monk still had to pick it all up again...and continue on his path.

In the second half of 2005, there still will be troubles, there will still be disease, illness, suffering, loss, sadness, death and grief.

Oh Yes.

We are human beings, this is a troubled time, a troubled world.

And in the second half of 2005 there will also be healing, love, happiness, joy, mystery, gladness, life, and opportunity for renewal.

So take heart...be encouraged, sing glad songs, make each day a thing complete, the new day comes and we begin again.

How many times we yearn for the human capacity to change, transform, to grow. For broken hearts to enlarge, forgive, and beat on.

For minds to renew and our capacity to transform at all ages, at all times of our lives, until the moment we die.

Just when you think you know it all: about your self, life, another.....if you set down your bundle for one minute;

if you can set down your delicious bundle of knowing even for a few seconds ;

if you can clean out the old goop of regret and anger in the back of your mind;

if you can put down the bundle of old fears, unhealthy habits ;

you won't die, but you will be changed, and you might be surprised and confused.

That lightening up is enlightening.

If you want to transform your life, renew your mind.

And yes, you will have to begin again, and pick that bundle back up and carry it with you on your journey through life......but everything will be changed and the same in the same breath.

Do you need to change the way you live and begin again?

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