To help you along, I'm offering seven spiritual New Year's resolutions to go deeper in understanding yourself. They can help you to understand what you really want in your life. Hopefully, that might make it easier for following through on your other New Year's resolutions.
However, we sure do let our minds wander off a lot, so clearly, there is a need for most people to practice bringing that wandering lamb on home to the rest of the herd. It's really not hard to do because you are always here now. The minute you notice that you've wandered off into mental fantasy land you've already returned your attention to the present moment. That noticing is your awareness, and your awareness lives in the present moment. There's nothing more you need to be done, although I suspect you'll begin to become aware of how often your mind is attempting to abandon the present moment.
As such, resolve this year to make it a practice from time to time throughout your day to draw your attention to the present moment and to let go of thoughts about the future and the past.
Be Here Now
2. Start or Re-start Your Spiritual PracticeMany people do not have a regular spiritual practice, or they've let their practice fall by the wayside. I encourage you to resolve to start or re-start your spiritual practice.
The specifics of your spiritual practice are up to you. Whether it is prayer and Sunday church, daily meditation, your regular yoga class, a combination of these, or something else entirely, find something that works for you. Then work on continuing it. It doesn't have to be hard or extensive. You don't have to meditate for 3 hours a day. But there is a certain about or discipline that is needed, and through that discipline, you can benefit greatly in terms of physical relaxation, emotional stability, and mental serenity.
If you are brand new to the spiritual path, check out this blog post to help you get started developing your spiritual practice:
How to Start Your Spiritual Journey
You may also find my ebook to be helpful:
Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening
3. Deepen Your Spiritual CommitmentFor those of you who have a regular spiritual practice, make it a resolution this year to go deeper, whatever that means for you. I don't mean meditate more necessarily. I mean find places within yourself that you haven't explored or find additional spiritual people to support you.
People tend to explore parts of themselves that they are comfortable with and avoid other aspects of their inner spiritual work. Many people who are comfortable with intellectual pursuits only engage with the spiritual path via ideas. They can talk up a storm about Eckhart Tolle or Ramana Maharshi, but when it comes to knowing their hearts, they are still in the dark. Similar imbalances can be true for people who know their hearts. While they are strong in their emotions, they are not clear and at peace in their minds or their bodies. Some people know their bodies, but they avoid dabbling in the world of the intellect. There are all kinds of ways to grow and to deepen one's commitment to the spiritual path. It usually means attending to the places where we are weak and under-developed.
Another way of changing and deepening your commitment can be around the spiritual support you have or don't have. For the solitary seeker, it may be time to find a spiritual teacher. For the long-time student, it may be time to go deeper with the teacher you have, find another one, or learn to listen to your inner teacher on your own. Whatever this deepening of commitment might be, you know what it is. I encourage you to trust your own knowing and follow through on it.
How to Find a Spiritual Teacher
4. Seek Out and Confront a Core IssueThis resolution could easily be the same as the previous one, but not necessarily. Core issues sit at the center of the unconscious ego. They're part of what we unconsciously believe about ourselves in the most fundamental of ways. Core issues include self-hatred/lack of self love, abandonment issues, fear of the unknown, trauma, and others. At the center of core issues is the belief that "you are not okay." When people believe that they are not okay, then they need validation, awards, attractive clothing, lots of money, prestige, fame, feel-good spiritual experiences, and other things to hide and medicate this deep issue. Thus, many New Year's resolutions end up being part of this medication process. Someone may resolve to lose weight, but they're not doing it to be healthy. They're doing it to be attractive so that other people will like them. This is just another way to hide the core issue of lack of self-love and the feeling that "you are not okay." It's not surprising then that this resolution may not be followed through upon, and even if it is, that core issue will rear its ugly head in another way.
So get out your pick axe or journal (okay, the journal will probably work better), and write out your issues. See what they are and how you act them out. Then you can resolve to change the way you act in a mindful way.
5. Surrender Something You Need to Let go ofThere are so many things that people hold onto. I encourage you to resolve to let go of one--just one--thing, relationship, job, situation, or something else that you know you need to release. It could even be an idea that you need to let go of.
The more important it is that you let go of something, the more likely your ego will throw a fit when it comes time to do so. That usually means that once you let this thing go, you are likely to feel way better. A lot of your energy is clearly tied up in this thing, and the only way to get your energy back is to let go of this thing.
Once again, it only has to be one thing. That shouldn't be too hard to achieve at least once during the new year.
Giving Up Something You Don't Want to Give Up
What Is Surrender?
6. Tell More People You Love ThemLove seems to be this magical potion that is kept off limits except for special occasion. That's crazy. Instead, practice telling more people you love them. You don't have to shout it to your strangers and enemies. Just practice telling those people you already like and appreciate that you love them.
Most people hardly say those three little words, "I love you." And this does strange things to human beings. Many people feel cut off from each other. Reaching out and opening yourself up in this way is a beautiful way to help others feel connected again. It also tends to have the added benefit of helping you feel more connected to the love within you.
7. Let Silence Consume YouWhile anyone reading spiritual awakening blog post this can resolve to let silence consume them, I know that some of you are really ready to let everything go. You are ready to drop into the space of silent presence that is already here. So allow it. Let silence consume you. Let the presence within you dissolve away all of the remaining unconscious ego. Any place that holds on, notice that resistance. Sit with it. Leave nothing else until you are simply silence itself that lives, breathes, and acts in this world.
Melting Into Silence
Enjoy the Ride for the New YearI would encourage you to let go of expectations for the New Year as well as for your resolutions. Life has its own unfolding, and there are many forces and flows moving through the world. Just do the best you can, and perhaps more joy will emerge out of it than you would have anticipated.
Happy New Year!