Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year Right Now, and Happy New Forever

It's kind of funny to say "Have a Happy New Year," as if you can cover the whole thing in that one little felicitation. A lot can happen in a year, and not all of it's going to be happy. But we sincerely wish it anyways, because we really do wish that one another may find happiness in every moment, if possible. And, as impossible as it  sounds, it may not be entirely impossible at all. What if we could collapse time, or extend each moment to the length of a year, so that if that instant could be happy, our wishes for one another would come true? Sound like science fiction? Well, remember we're all on a planet in outer space...

From the most modern physics to the most ancient scripture, the concept that all of time is a seamless, complete field folded in with space is old hat – although it's still kind of a difficult hat to wear when we're sitting here in this one spot, on this planet as we do. It's ironic that about the best way to realize this reality comes from just sitting still in one spot, as we can do almost any time we want to. Because any one of us, in any moment, can find a quiet place – a quiet opening within ourselves – where we can witness that effervescent stillness that bubbles through every instant of life. That's one of the joys of meditation, in case you've wondered about it.

Sit quietly, close your eyes and what do you see? It's not nothing, is it? There's a dance going on in there. An energy that comes at us, and through us, from every direction. From every person, place, thing, event – even from nothing at all. It just is. It even powers our memory and possibilities, too. No matter how skeptical you may be, no one can deny this vibrating energy, dancing through our entire world of inner and outer experience.

When we sit in that moment, and experience just that sense of vibrant being, the clock does kind of stop. That moment can seem to stretch out to an invisible horizon, when we are there – where past and future are only thoughts, and nothing else matters. And it really doesn't, much. Everything material is obviously always in flux, always coming and going, never staying exactly the same for very long. Rustled around on those invisible waves of energy, I suppose. I won't be the same in January, in June, or in November. Nothing here will be...but what about there?

"The common name for God used by the sages is HaMakom, "the place." God is the place of the world, the field in which all things arise and return."
                                        Rabbi Rami Shapiro, on The Pirke Avot 

Of course here is Happy New Year! Happy January 1st, your rent is due. It sounds as if my upstairs neighbor is dropping something heavy every couple of minutes. I swear the guy ahead of me is trying to get in my way. My girlfriend is calling us quits. Someone needs a new job, and it's me. Someone is dying, and that may be me too – or someone I love. Those are the things we may think about, and may have to go through that will keep our year from being completely happy. Those are the difficult parts. Here is not always such a great place.

But just beneath those real events that we have to think about and live through is a greater reality that doesn't come and go anywhere. There is always there – that effervescent stillness, and it's always reliably easy and kind to us. In that place where everything is unshakeably serene, the difficult things in life are just passing thoughts and events that can either be dwelt upon, or gracefully let go of, like everything else on this planet. Time doesn't exist the same way – it's all one. The moment does last "forever."

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense."
                                                                    Jalal al-Din Rumi 

All the good things we know and feel come from there, it's just time on this planet, and our silly hijinks that mess them up. Which is okay – they were going to change anyways. But this moment, and what's right underneath it, is always there for us. And there, you can have a happy now, and a happy forever, and an entire Happy New Year. It sounds so easy, doesn't it?

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