Meditating in the New Year 2001

Do you remember a year ago when we faced the threat of Y2K computer breakdowns and terrorist attacks? Remember all the prophecies of doom and destruction? Our thoughts were bursting with speculations about what the turn of the century could mean. One short year ago individuals and nations held so many queries and uncertainties. And now, here we are again, at the threshold of another New Year, a millennium shift (the "official" one they say), and what questions rumble within this time around?

Yet rather than focus on unknowns, an enlightening stance could be to bring to our minds and hearts the truths we discovered from that time to now. If we were to start with how the world felt last New Year’s Eve, we would remember the awe of seeing how the entire planet connected in peace and celebration. There were, in fact, no terrorist attacks. No failed securities or systems. What did unfold was a spectacle of colors, languages, rituals, music and peoples circling the globe to acknowledge a reality of true kinship. The planet seemed to dance. And many spoke of feeling a deep in the earth pulse that pumped out a shared appreciation of humanity’s magnificence. For days afterward a gentle hopefulness settled in. The winter cold felt more energizing than chilling. The world appeared awake to conscious potential and heartfelt harmony. It was a wondrous example of what the American philosopher, Ken Wilbur calls "transcend and include". Last New Year’s planetary gala showed us the depths of our collective soul could transcend the casualties of our times.

We needed it all to occur exactly as it did. And we need it once again. Yet perhaps this Millennium vision can unfold not only between nations, but also within us. Having absorbed the image of a united planet, we can use that same template to illumine our own being. It’s as if our internal world has distinct continents with varied elements, landscapes and dialects. And though the kingdoms of our bodies, minds, hearts and souls function in quite unique ways they also strive for a balanced state of wholeness and cooperation.

This is the paradigm of holistic health and soul-fullness. As the visionaries Denise Breton and Chris Largent write in The Paradigm Conspiracy we are witnessing a shift from rules of division, control, and exclusion. On every level we are becoming aware of the glue that holds us together, both within and without. This is the millennium of interrelatedness where we cross over shores of difference to bridge separate parts to each other. It’s a time for re-membering. Not in terms of what was but rather of what can be. In other words, to come to know how the whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts.

For this moment, sit still and reflect on the dimensions of your inner self. Notice your heartbeat. Listen to your breathing. Feel the touch of cloth upon your skin. The smell of the air. The buzz in your mind. All the subtle feelings moving through you. Note how wherever you are sitting or lying you are held and supported. All these elements may feel separate and distinct, yet they perform quite purposely and in perfect unison. Now turn your attention to your imagination and sense yourself standing on a mountain peak high enough to view the entire planet. Take a few moments to imagine the world as you would most wish it to be—a world where you and all other beings would truly thrive. Say to yourself, "I see a world where . . . " and fill in the blank, over and over, with your hopes, desires and dreams. And notice how you so very naturally "transcend and include".

Now shift your awareness to the mountaintop within. Look over the intriguing expanse of your inner world and again fill in the blanks, "I see a self where . . . ". Allow your responses to float up from the quiet, still space in the center of your being. Don’t censor or judge. Refrain from conditions or best answers. Just listen and receive. Let the landscape within, even those shadowed shrubs or craggy cliffs be welcomed by a kind and open heart. Invite them all into the New Year. Then, whether you fly off the pinnacle or climb down the slope, when you reach the ground be sure to re-member and revel in the magnificence you glimpsed.