Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year radio

Tuesday evening I appeared on Toginet radio, The Way of the Toddler Hour, to broadcast a New Year message as part of their slot on Creating Meaningful Holiday Traditions.  Thank you to Leta Hamilton for inviting me.
There is a short article about me in their Recent Guests section and a podcast of my new year message (2011-01-04 from time index 4:40 to time index 10:30).

Here is the transcript of my new year message:
"At the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year people are often more open to greeting one another and being friendly. During the Christmas season we make an effort to be jolly, and for the first weeks of January even strangers will greet us with 'Happy New Year'. Generally there is an air of greater open-heartedness and goodwill.
Then when the festivities are over and we return to our usual routine; when we are faced with the enduring months of winter, we forget that we can always live with an open and friendly approach and that it is possible to be warm towards one another throughout the year continuing to encourage cheerfulness of spirit.
In the northern hemisphere the ancient festival at this time of year was the winter solstice – recognising the death of the old year and celebrating the birth of the new year. Impermanence is a key teaching in Buddhism, so it is useful to be reminded of this. The past cannot be changed or revisited however much we might wish to. The future cannot be predicted or foreseen and it will unfold as it will. All we can ever know and enjoy is the present moment – and present moments are infinite. If we can learn to live in the present moment and appreciate everything it has to offer, we will discover happiness and contentment.
There is much to enjoy about the winter – the iridescence of a snow-swept landscape with rainbows glistening in ice crystals; the stark beauty of naked trees silhouetted against a clear cold sky; snuggling in front of a warming winter fire; tucking into hot soups and stews; hearing the laughter of children playing in the snow; deciphering the tracks of creatures that have traversed the garden; enjoying the softness of winter woollies and cosy hats and gloves.
The new year is often a time for making resolutions.  If our children wish to make a resolution it is good to encourage them, but it is important that they choose a resolution that is sensible and achievable so that they can keep it. People who can keep the promises they make to themselves are then more able to keep the promises they make to others. Commitments inevitably become inconvenient at some point, but if the promise can still be kept despite this, then our children will discover a great sense of achievement and self-confidence. The capacity to make a promise and hold to it develops integrity and honour so that our children grow up to be reliable and trustworthy individuals who believe in themselves.
For adults our resolutions are usually about shuffling or adjusting the pieces of our life – we resolve to lose weight, or to work towards changing our job, we promise we will take more exercise, or we decide to start a new hobby. . .  These may all have value and be worthwhile, but it is useful to recognise that such alterations to our lifestyle will not bring lasting fulfilment and happiness.  We will not miraculously be a totally happy and content person if we get slimmer or fitter. The new job or new hobby will not bring everlasting satisfaction. The benefits of such resolutions are superficial and transitory.
I would like to suggest that we resolve to begin a daily practice of meditation in 2011. This is something we can do with our children. Daily meditation enables the development of greater awareness and this can bring lasting fulfilment and happiness. Developing awareness illuminates the patterns that dominate our lives that cause us to feel unhappy and dissatisfied. Through regular meditation practice increased clarity begins to sparkle through into our everyday life and we become happier and more fulfilled.  Through being happier and more fulfilled we become kinder people.  Through becoming kinder people we bring happiness to those around us. Meditation practicejust ten minutes every dayhas the potential to benefit everyone and everything everywhere. 
 Happy New Year to you all!"

1 comment:

Thanks for commenting!