There is something about the New Year that seems fresh and different. It feels like we’ve been given a clean slate and the upcoming year seems full of possibility. We become energized and feel ready to change or improve ourselves. We even make resolutions to ourselves and others to make this change happen. We all know the trend, the gyms fill up in January and we stick to our resolutions for a while, but by February and March they empty back out. We lose our feeling of “freshness” somewhere along the way and we quickly fall back into our old habits. What if we could learn to keep this feeling of possibility and self- improvement throughout the entire year?
What Makes a New Year?
Since practicing Buddhism, the New Year has become a very interesting event to me. One day, it is “this year” and at the stroke of midnight, the ball drops, everyone goes crazy, and suddenly it’s “next year”. In reality, we have all simply decided to agree that January 1 marks a New Year. Other than the new name we have given it, New Year’s Day is not really different from New Year’s Eve. We mainly have a feeling of possibility and “freshness” because we have decided to think of the New Year as being a beginning, something new.
A liberating understanding that comes from Buddha’s teachings is that the way we think about our world and events in our life influences how we feel about them. So when we think “this is a New Year!”, we automatically change the way we feel about the present moment. What’s really incredible is that we can learn to intentionally create this feeling we have in the new year every day by thinking about impermanence.
Happy New Moment!
Buddha described that in reality, nothing lasts for more than a moment, everything is always new and fresh. We can understand that our body is actually changing from moment to moment, as is everything around us. Unfortunately, we do not usually recognize this and grasp on to our relationships, bodies, and and things we enjoy as being fixed and unchanging.
When we stop to contemplate impermanence, we can realize we are not really the same person we were yesterday, or even earlier today. We are a totally new person, and today is a totally new day! It begins to open up that sense of possibility and freshness the more we connect with this understanding. All it takes is familiarizing ourself with recognizing impermanence more and more. Then we can learn to let go of our failures and limitations of yesterday and identify with our possibility for change in every moment. Happy new moment everyone!
What do you think? Do you have any insights on impermanence or questions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.