So, we are now eight days into the new year and I guess it is time for me to come up with my New Year's Resolutions....or not. I had actually decided that I wouldn't put into writing what my resolutions would be this year as I always end up failing miserably at them and, well, I am resolving to ease up on beating myself up constantly...okay, so I just put a resolution into writing....
Anyway, on Sunday, the service was all about New Year's Resolutions and the following was inserted into our order of service:
What are Intentions?
It is easy to make New Year's resolutions, but so hard to keep them. Underneath each resolution is intent. Often it is here that we find the motivation (or lack of) to carry out a resolution. Are your resolutions grounded in well considered intentions? Reflect on your deepest intentions and you may find the reason you fail to keep your resolutions.
Reflections: These questions are better than resolutions. Use them as a mantra through the year.
- What are my intentions for myself, my friends and family, my enemies, the world? Do I wish them harm or do I wish them well? Do I intend to make them happy? Is my intent to be right?
- Am I jealous or envious of others? Do I measure my own worth by my neighbors, my wealth, my success?
- Am I living up to expectations from my family, from advertising and the media, from my fears and insecurities? Does this make my happy?
- Are my goals and resolutions for the year grounded in Right Intention* or am I trying to fill a void, make myself more acceptable, successful, desirable, etc.
- Am I truly grounded in good will for all beings -- even those I do not like?
- How do I intend to have good will toward all beings? What must I give up? What must I develop?
- How aligned are my goals with my deepest values?
- Are any grounded in greed, hate, or delusion?
(*Right Intention is not "good intention". It comes from an understanding of what liberates me from greed, hate fear, and delusion.)
- Just what are my delusions?
After reading through this and thinking on this, I realize that there is so much that I can improve in myself just by thinking through these questions and putting these up against my actions and hopefully be a better person for it in the end. Therefore, 2013 is the year of no resolutions...only intentions. I want to make myself a better person and by doing that, hopefully, be able to improve the world, even if it is just one small corner.