A thousand paths there are yet untrodden, a thousand healths and hidden islands of life. Unexhausted and undiscovered is still man and man's earth. -- F. Nietzsche
Every year my wife (bless her soul) wisely wants us to make New Year's resolutions.
To save time and effort, I dug out last year's list with all the familiar entries: lose weight, exercise, save, be more charitable, write more letters, etc., all aimed at increasing my comforts, but at a price: a hard, stressful struggle to arrange myself (and the universe!) according to my wishes.
There is another option that calls for only a stressless, somehow effortless change of approach. The faculties needed to live in the world -- body, emotion, and intellect -- are all familiar to us, but there is this other one, awareness of being unique individuals. It stands above the hustle and bustle of our daily life and witnesses what is going on throughout our lives no matter how dire our financial, energetic, mobility, or memory conditions might be. Because it is invisible, almost everybody thinks this core of our being is nonexistent. But it is promoted by all religions under different terms. To the psychologists it is self-actualization, and to meditation practitioners enlightenment, awakening.
This awareness is our core, our headquarters, our higher self, pure, vast, serene, all-inclusive, the fountain-source of intuition and conscience. It is us, a divine spark with a drive to be free and an indestructible capacity for self-determination and choice making, the captain of our earthbound ship. In this awareness-center lie all our inner resources of bliss, love, beauty, wisdom, justice, morality, and purpose. The Garden of Eden is not fiction: we are free to live in it at any time, and like a sun radiate its warmth, light, compassion, and peace. But alas, if this awareness is lost due to exterior distractions, we drive ourselves away from it.
So I told my wife and some friends about this concept. Then one of them asked, "What did your wife think about it?" Not much, so she worked up a regular list of resolutions, and I, lazy and stubborn, stuck to my guns and promised myself that for the coming year I would worry less about my old list of resolutions. Instead, with every breath I would try to become more aware of my divine capacity and obligation to live from my awareness-center, and have it resonate as much as possible with all the beauty, love, and joy the world holds.
(From Sunrise magazine, December 2001/January 2002; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)