Welcoming 2017: A WORD A THOUGHT
Ever Fresh, Ever New
Some of us have made ambitious resolutions for 2017. Others take a deep breath and hope for the best. As we welcome the New Year, the twelve months ahead come fresh and new from the storehouse of Time.
Let us be reminded that this is a gift from the Divine. We have done nothing to deserve it or to earn it. Like the air we breathe, time comes to us as a part of life.
On the eve/dawn of the New Year let us look into Gurbani: who or what is ever fresh and ever new?
1 With the ushering in of the New Year, come thoughts of how to start afresh, leaving behind the negative experiences of the previous year. It is a time of reflection. Where would this freshness come from?
Gurbani states that the Divine – the treasure of virtues – is ever fresh and new and His gifts are perfect and complete. Why don’t we open the door this New Year to the Truth of the Divine, the all-pervading consciousness and to His gifts?
The Divine, the Creator, manifests within His creation. Some believe He is Immanent, deep within mankind, smaller than small, yet bigger than big, all-pervading. Others say He is Transcendent, an onlooker from outside the universe.
Our Gurus believe that the divine spirit is an unchanging essence that is a part of the Creator and it exists in all mankind. It has, it is and it will always remain fresh, new and up to date. We are reminded to be conscious of this essence in us, to reflect on the wisdom of the One and the treasure trove that is open to us.
Gurbani asks us to fall in love with the true Lord who does not come and go, as He is pervading amongst us all. He loves His devotees and removes pain and suffering. Why not start the year afresh with a new, stable and steady companion who is wise, giving and tender hearted?
“The treasure of virtues, the Divine, is ever fresh and new and His gift is perfect and complete” [GGS:47].
2 The Guru’s true teachings or divine wisdom has been passed down over the years to mankind. Just as we wake up every morning to a fresh, new day, this wisdom remains fresh and new every day. It is timeless in its value and applicable for eternity.
We are indeed fortunate to have the Guru Granth Sahib to provide us with guidance to establish a relationship with the Divine, to understand divine wisdom. Due to our ignorance and egoistic nature we have removed ourselves from this experience.
In the New Year, let us strive to understand the advice of the Guru. Let the timeless words of the Guru Granth Sahib challenge our stereotyped thinking. Let us open our minds to an understanding of the Guru’s teachings which are fresh and new. Let us look at the true word of the Divine and the love enshrined in this. Let us move into His fold, enjoy His love and the peace that it brings into our lives. Let us choose the more loving direction, the kinder impulse, the more encouraging word in our daily interactions.
“The teaching of Truth or the true Word of the Guru is ever fresh, and the love for the Almighty created through the true Word is ever new" [GGS:242].
3 As we begin a New Year let us forsake our past, fickle and self-centered intellect and try to attune to a fresh and new love for the Divine.
What is there for us to gain from this? Divine love and mercy has been a gift to mankind from the beginning of time and throughout the ages. Ever fresh and new, it is the oxygen of life. When the mind becomes attuned to this love, from this attunement springs wisdom, the sublime essence of Divinity.
We are fortunate indeed that the Gurus have opened a door to this love and wisdom through their divine revelations. One method through which we can remove our wrath and egotism is by replacing these ailments with virtues like truth, contentment, compassion, and faith. Through this love, and contemplation on this wisdom, our mind is refreshed and renewed, and our unhelpful habits gradually fade away. In our daily interactions, we choose to express and manifest gratitude, offer help and comfort, instead of complaining and criticising.
“(By planting Truth within my heart, the Guru) has eradicated my anger; egotism and attachment have been burnt away, and an ever fresh and new love for the Divine has welled up within my mind" [GGS:1232].
4 As the Divine is considered to be timeless, then His love is timeless too. It therefore remains fresh and new throughout the ages. When He bestows His grace upon us, we are immersed in this fresh love.
As we enter the New Year, with new resolutions and hope for fresh beginnings, this is an opportunity to connect to the Divine as the object of our devotion. By remaining absorbed in devotional worship, we blend with Him. As our mind dedicates itself to His love and His virtues, it becomes steady and calm amidst challenges we may face in life.
With a love that is ever fresh and new, let us nurture a relationship with the Divine who is our support and our strength. Let us experience Divinity in every breath that we take. Let us be aware that behind every life experience, the True Teacher is there.
“The love which is placed in our Beloved is ever fresh and new" [GGS:407].
5 We are all aware of the passing of time and the aging of the human body and mind. Every New Year is a wake-up call. We make resolutions to change for the better, to learn from the experiences of the previous years.
Gurbani reminds us of not only the passing of time but turning our attention to the need for some form of spirituality in our lives. Most of us are focused on the accumulation of material wealth when young and turn to thoughts of spirituality when old. What happens when life is cut short and there is no experience of being old? We leave this world not knowing the bliss of spiritual awareness. Gurbani reminds us to enjoy this bliss of spirituality while still young.
No one knows at what age we will take our last breath. The time is now, while the mind is still fresh and blooming, to acquire spiritual wisdom. As parallel tracks on a railway line support the train on its journey, let the material and the spiritual run side by side to support us on our journey too. With an injection of spiritual wisdom in our lives (no matter what age we are), we may be pleasantly surprised at what the New Year ahead can bring.
“Dear, as long as your youth is freshly blooming do enjoy the bliss of spirituality. The days of life are few, they will soon be finished, and the body also will grow old soon” [GGS:23].
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In conclusion, do we remain where we are and keep believing in what we have been taught? Or is this an opportunity for a fresh perspective on life? Why not start the New Year with the Divine as a guide and be open to fresh, new and more exciting experiences. We give ourselves a priceless gift when we open ourselves to the Divine. It is only an awareness of divine wisdom that is clean sweeping enough to free us from the old ways of thinking and make the fresh and new realizable.
Let us be more aware of our limited time on earth. Let us seek a connection with the Divine, His wisdom. We need to surrender willingly to what is quiet within us – the divine essence.
Why not accept the resources and the strengths that it offers?
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December 22, 2016