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Gillian Sanger

What is one lesson you learned in 2020? What do you want to cultivate in 2021?

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This week's question is two-part:

What is one lesson you learned in 2020?

What do you want to cultivate in 2021?

This year really felt unlike any other, at least when compared with the years that I personally have lived. For myself, there was much opportunity for growth and great lessons to be learned. How about for you? 

Furthermore, what quality or energy do you wish to cultivate going forward? Do you have a 'word' of intention for 2021?

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This excerpt from a micro teaching I just fired out summarizes my response to the questions that Gillian asked.
 

- - - 

The challenge as 2020 passes is to regard it with generous gratitude. It has given humanity the powerful gift of remembering. Remembering is a potentially radical and life-affirming act.
 
Remember or die. The collective human biological organism literally isn’t going to survive, let alone regenerate civilization and the natural world that it depends on for sustenance and survival, if it doesn’t clearly remember what a human being actually is, where it actually exists, how where it exists actually operates and how dependently it exists there.
 
The most important practice for humanity in 2021 and ongoing will be to not look away as fast-moving circumstances shake / wake us up to the naked actuality of our existence in this age of degeneration and uncertainty. To remember, remember, remember, moment-by-moment, and to let the clarity of remembering, no matter how difficult or confusing or anxiety-producing this experience may be, inform and crack open the collective heart like the sun cracks open a buried seed.
 
Forgetting what we are, where we are and how where we are operates is degenerative. Remembering these foundations of healthy perception, kind intention and skillful action is regenerative. This is the way of all flesh here in Earth.

- - - 

2021 is likely going to be a difficult year. May we all calmly regard it as an opportunity to help others.

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I recently commented that I liked the teaching of the monk swami Sarvapriananda better than his lay counterpart Rupert Spira. I noted that I liked that Swami was steeped in the ancient sages and their wisdom. Actually, I feel the same way about Buddhism. I love when Jack Kornfield or Joseph Goldstein reference ancient texts and stories about Buddha. Like Swami S. they convey the stories to illustrate the ethics of their beliefs and the chants and somewhat devotional nature of them. For me, mindfulness is at its fullest embedded in the Buddha and his teachings. Joseph Goldstein is especially skillful at going through the Buddhist Suttras and explaining them. At my age of 73, I notice I am increasingly inclined to grasp more about the ultimate nature of and reason for life itself. What is all of this about? I ask myself. This could seem odd to others, but I am increasingly comforted by videos of near death survivors or retunees as they call themselves. I have heard every day kind of people, Catholic priests, neurologists and just recently an orthopedic surgeon describe the same thing: engulfment in the absolute brilliance of white light with the purest unconditional love enveloping them. A life review with no judgment and a chance to see things from the view of others with whom they have had bad experiences to enahance their compassion. The final lesson:  return and love everyone and everything. For me, this gives a purpose to my life and a direction to follow. I also understand "enlightment" much more concretely now. Not only does it give the widest and deepest understanding, it is the actual baptism into the light of love. Daniel

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Happy and peaceful New Year to all in our wonderful community!

I feel there were so many lessons I learned in 2020- it is rather challenging to choose just one to speak to here.  I would have to say that this year in its' entirety has taught me that grasping doesn't translate to security or solidity.  This applies both relationally and within myself.  I have begun to more clearly see that I am not bound by nor to the roles I play (mother, daughter, educator, etc..), so clinging to or using them as a sort of armor doesn't truly serve me on my path.

What I hope to cultivate in the coming year has been coming to me in almost a mantra over the last several weeks, and I think it applies to all areas of my life- acceptance, contentment, patience, and purpose.  I hope to open my heart and mind to experiences that give me the opportunity to explore them all, to the benefit of many.

Be well-

Rachel

 

 

 

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Thank you @Jeff Miller, @Rachel, and @Daniel A. Detwiler for your thoughtful words and reflections. I resonate with much of what has been shared here and I am very grateful for your contributions to this community.

It has taken me a few days to get to the computer to share my thoughts. So here are my own answers to this week's questions...

1. One significant lesson I learned in a deeper way this year is that it is much easier to cast judgment than to look at where what we judge exists within us. Despite the former of the two being easier, this is not the path towards peace and contentment. This year has really called me to contemplate how I contribute to the things I dislike and to be more compassionate towards the evolution of others - and towards the my own journey, too.

2. On the morning of the 1st, I completed my journal exercise to set intentions. The energies I feel called to cultivate more abundantly this year are: equanimity, acceptance, and presence. However, something lit up within me when I read 'purpose' in your own reflections @Rachel. I am going to sit with this again and see what new energies come up.

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Following this am''s practice, these 3 words came to mind as my intention for 2021:

Patience, Purpose and Presence ❤️

To continue the theme and ensure even greater success with these 3 I will add: PRACTICE !

 

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Beautiful sentiments and intentions here. Thank you everyone!

This year I look forward to:

- reconnecting with family and friends

- more self-compassion

- healing our planet

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On 12/30/2020 at 1:46 AM, Gillian Sanger said:

This week's question is two-part:

What is one lesson you learned in 2020? That I am truly creative and capable of so many things! 

What do you want to cultivate in 2021? New beginnings! Stillness! Clarity in purpose.. 

This year really felt unlike any other, at least when compared with the years that I personally have lived. For myself, there was much opportunity for growth and great lessons to be learned. How about for you? Absolutely, I feel we could have either been stagnant in our growth or found our true inner power to move on and move up! Of course we all probably felt like doing the first for some point of time.. but then us who decided to MOVE ON and grow .. hit the ground running! I am so grateful for this opportunity overall!  

Furthermore, what quality or energy do you wish to cultivate going forward? I want to bring STILLNESS and Clarity into the new year - I want people to see me and know I am where I want to be, even if that changes day to day - I want to display a strength that intrigues others to ask how?!  Do you have a 'word' of intention for 2021? RESTORE - I want to restore peoples hope in themselves, this world, their health, their power, and I want to restore my health that the horrible terrible circumstances of this past year tried to take from me 🙂

 

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I find little about which to be inspired. Too many “spiritual” people seem to invoke Jesus’ last words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” They seem to take righteous satisfaction in the belief that they are maintaining civility and high moral values.  Although their message is coupled with wonderful resolves to pursue personal growth and service of others, it sounds like the ultimate confession of helplessness to me. How do we encourage people to “remember” or reckon with what they refuse to acknowledge?

On the one hand, that sort of attitude is a perfect expression of pragmatic spiritual practice—applying effort toward wholesome action where such action can be of benefit and not driving ourselves crazy where it cannot. On the other hand, to me, it represents a sort of spiritual bypass to avoid speaking truth about conditions that promote dishonesty and harming that sometimes are a byproduct of implicit biases but oftentimes are simply rationalizations for avarice and callousness.

There must be more people courageous enough to speak uncomfortable truths to power and its supporters who unconsciously or expediently want to avoid it and demonize its purveyors. There must be a willingness to endure some hardships as a result. This seems to me the single most important thing to emphasize now and I think Jeff points in the same direction if I understand him correctly. Any additional actions that promote personal growth and help others have multiple rewards and benefits. They help the actor, they help the recipients, and they lend respect and credibility to the speaker.

We have no obligation to relieve malefactors of being made to feel uncomfortable about their conduct. To construe “right speech” or civility to require such acquiescence is to mistake them for their near enemies for the sake of avoiding our own fears of rejection and disapproval, of perhaps losing opportunities that we might preserve by being “agreeable.” It serves not only others’ greed and delusion but it serves our own too.

 

Edited by David Weiskopf
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On 1/3/2021 at 7:15 AM, Gillian Sanger said:

One significant lesson I learned in a deeper way this year is that it is much easier to cast judgment than to look at where what we judge exists within us. Despite the former of the two being easier, this is not the path towards peace and contentment. This year has really called me to contemplate how I contribute to the things I dislike

I do want to add that, while some truths can be manifestly clear as matters of fact or having an extremely high probability of being so, others require doing a lot of homework, formal practice, and reflection. So, I don’t want to undermine what Gillian is talking about. We see a lot of people who have not done the work even to acknowledge the former, obvious truths, like climate-change deniers and believers in conspiracy theories completely devoid of any supporting evidence.

Of course some truths might be more personal than objective, arising from one’s core values and motivations. I like how Gillian is getting at how we need to examine how well our values and motivations underlying our actions actually are aligned. That same sort of examination has to do with whether we courageously speak truth or maintain silence for selfish reasons.

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