It’s as if society has become stuck in a groove with our ears repeatedly assailed by the well-meant message: “Wishing You A Happy and Prosperous New Year”.
The first few times we may actually register the idea behind the words. But it doesn’t take long before it becomes a meaningless mantra going in one ear and out the other.
But is repetition all that makes it meaningless, or are we also assuming it is simply unachievable?
And, if so, is it possible we could be wrong? Does the New Year actually offer us an opportunity to transform our lives?
Two helpful articles on resolutions provide some answers.
One suggests a “simple and easy” addition to life (see TIME magazine).
“Add more joy,” the author says, urging us to let go of any material possessions that don’t inspire that quality in us.
“There’s a fascinating Japanese decluttering method based on a really simple principle of asking if an item brings you joy. If not, get rid of it; you can donate it and perhaps it can find an owner who will find joy in it,” writes Nataly Kogan, CEO of “digital wellness company” Happier.
This is, of course, a welcome and, indeed, practical idea. But isn’t it also symbolic of a deeper step we can take – ridding ourselves of joyless thinking? That is, letting go of attitudes such as “grief, fear, pride” which can clutter thought and undermine happiness.
Admittedly, that sounds like a harder task than taking unwanted possessions down to the local charity shop! Perhaps in the long run, though, doing it is easier than neglecting to do so.
But does it need to take a long time to change?
In the other helpful article, the author describes how she won a battle with just such “negative emotions” and shares what she has learned about the possibilities of hitting a “New Year reset button” (see The Christian Science Monitor). The writer, Elise Moore, likens our potential for change to the process of frozen and crashed equipment being restored by simply rebooting it.
“Almost no time is required. No laborious retracing of footsteps to find the mistake. No extended study of advanced technology. It is simply the willingness to rid oneself of whatever is inhibiting progress by depriving it of power. With no power fueling the mistake, the error is erased. When power is restored, the unit starts fresh. The past is gone. The future is unburdened,” she writes.
So what kind of “reset” mechanism might disempower long-standing habits of thought?
“To me, the spiritual reset button is the Christ, which comes to comfort us in times of trouble and removes evil from our thought and lives,” explains Moore.
She points to a description of Christ as God’s message to humankind (see Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”), which, she says, “resets thought and restores our life to its original harmonious relation to God”.
For over three decades I have experienced the ability of the Christ to repeatedly “reboot” my thinking – that is, to spiritualise my outlook and actions whenever I’m too absorbed in material self-concern. Through reading Science and Health I’ve found we can mentally insist on our divine right to experience and express joy and, through prayer, to deny negative traits the power they might seem to have over us. The message of the Christ is that we have a spiritual authority to do this on the divine basis that each of us is a precious and unique child of God, subject only to His/Her all-power.
Gaining some understanding of this has given me a different sense of myself and others – what I would call a God’s-eye view of who we all are as cherished children of the Divine. This has made a tremendous difference to my experience. It has brought restoration of bodily health at times, more consistent physical and mental wellbeing and inspired solutions to difficult working relationships and other stressful career situations.
To me, this is only natural. It echoes the effect seen in the thinking of Christ Jesus who was so full of this vision of the true spiritual wellbeing that his compassionate mental touch repeatedly resulted in the healing of those with whom he interacted.
Of course, if the reset button is an eternal, ever-present Christ-message we can clearly benefit from its renewing action at all times of the year, not just as the year’s change. Nevertheless, early January is as good a time as any to act on the desire to start over wherever it’s needed.
If we can “add more joy” and rid ourselves “of whatever is inhibiting progress by depriving it of power”, surely we stand in better stead of not just having a humanly happier New Year, but a spiritually prosperous one as well.
I wish you both of these over the coming twelve months!
This blog was first posted on Linked in as “Looking Beyond The Fireworks To A Prosperous 2015”.