As we enter the New Year, we all hope this year will be better than the last one, and new and wonderful things will come to us. We seek to improve our worldly situations and become better people. But what if the most wonderful thing that could happen would be to realize that we live in a universe absolutely and eternally dedicated to our well-being?
While listening to a classical music radio station, I heard the show’s host announce a cantata by J.S. Bach entitled, “The Spirit Soothes our Weakness.” I was struck by the title, as appropriate today as it was 300 years ago when Bach composed the piece. Even while Bach’s world was radically different than ours, the issues he dealt with were the same. He, too, was plagued by the insistence of the deluded self, and he, too, recognized the empowerment of a spirit-guided life. In that awakening the apparent chasm of time dissolves and we are joined.
King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The more I explore what appears to be new and different, the more I realize that, while the world goes through constant change, truth is impeccably reliable. What works always works and what doesn’t work never works. All else is detail. It is not the parade of events that makes evolution, but the upgrade of consciousness. If there is any evolution, it is the awakening to the presence and power of a kindly reality that far transcends worldly events.
Here we come to the juiciest of paradoxes: To become new, we must recognize that we never change. Healing comes in claiming our inherent eternality. The personality seeks to gain newness by manipulating people, things and events. The soul needs no newness because it is eternally whole. The part of you that seeks change is not the part that will be fulfilled. What needs to change is to gain the awareness that you don’t need to change. I told you this paradox is juicy!
A Course in Miracles tells us, “Seek not to change the world, but seek instead to change your mind about the world.” If you attempt to change your circumstances without changing your mind, nothing will change. Change your mind, and everything around you will change. The world is not a cause. It is an effect. Edgar Cayce said, “Mind is the builder.”
Time is a blank screen upon which we project our consciousness and play out our intentions. Any demarcations we make in time come only from our beliefs about it and what we wish to use it for. Most people in Western culture made a big deal about the advent of the year 2000. Meanwhile that same year was the year 5760 on the Hebrew calendar, 4697 in China, and 1420 in the Islamic religion. What year was it really? The year lives in our minds more than we live in the year. Buckminster Fuller said, “Human beings are the only creatures who tell time and think they have to earn a living.” Whatever we think time is, is a story we made up. Nothing happens because of time. Everything happens because of the thoughts we apply to it. The only purpose of time is to learn to use it wisely.
If we are going to make something of the new year, let’s use it to discover ourselves rather than find new and more complicated ways to forget ourselves. Rather than moving more pieces around the chess board of your activities, rise above the board so you can see it from a higher perspective. Use the year to make up a new story rather than continuing old stories that lead nowhere. A mythology expert identified 11 plot categories into which all stories fit. That’s it. So it is with life. We just keep repeating the same stories over and over again, with minor variations that make them seem different, while they are not.
There are two kinds of evolution: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal evolution just keeps playing out the ego’s beliefs and reinforcing its fearful world in more complex forms. Cave men stockpiled rocks to throw at invaders. We stockpile nuclear weapons. Just more and bigger expressions of the same mentality. Just because technology advances does not mean we are progressing. Seven billion people thumbing smartphones does not necessarily indicate an advanced society. What people say on their smartphones demonstrates evolution or its absence.
Vertical evolution is measured by the level of consciousness with which we use our tools and toys. The only real evolution is self-knowledge, awakening to the you that never needed to evolve because you were created perfect by God. The outer world is a set of props laid out according to the mind we are using. If you are going to make the new year new, recognize that time has no power over your life, but you have power over time by recognizing you live beyond it. Pray not for new things to happen, but for a new consciousness. St. Paul said, “Be renewed by the renewing of the mind.”
I wish you the best year of your life because it is the one in which you escape time and claim your eternal self. In this moment you are new because the real you lives beyond time, and you have no age, history or future. You just are.