I’ve been writing year-end messages in the midst of uncertain times for years now. And perhaps like me, when you stop to think about things, there is a feeling of puzzlement bordering on despond – that we could have — or should have — been doing better as a species, a planet, a country, a civilization.
And then when you stop again – and stop thinking about all of that – the anxious feelings subside. The things surrounding you — the room you are in, the people you are with, the natural world — that is what engages you. Joy has been there all along.
Joseph Goldstein, a meditation teacher and author I have long learned from said, “Look into your mind – you see nothing. Look through your mind – you see the world.”
In looking through our minds we recognize that they have the ability to color what we see. And with a little encouragement, we can affectionately (and compassionately) enlist the heart in warming our connection to everything, appreciating the grace of merely being. Alive to it all.
I am still playing with my band – on the first Wednesday of every month at the Lilypad in Cambridge at 7:00 PM. This one activity plays a central role in my life: organizing my practice time around the creation of the set of music we’ll play; collaborating with my colleagues in the band; finding the poem I’ll read; writing to invite all of you; and contemplating how this expenditure of my life’s energy and resources deepens my understanding of my life purposes.
I know all of this is a blessing. And you are a big part of it.
Hope to see you again soon at one of these first Wednesdays at the Lilypad.
Meanwhile, sending wishes to you for a new year of clarity and warmth.