I absolutely adore major transition times in life.
Times of transition are very special times. They are filled with both potential power and promise for new beginnings.
Yoga, in many ways, is about developing awareness and sensitivity to all the spaces in between. It is in our practice that we begin to notice and to dwell in the spaces in between our breaths. As our senses and our minds become more pure and sensitive, we begin to notice and dwell in the silence in between our words, in between moments in time.
Yoga is about becoming aware of the distinction between the material and the non-material or spiritual aspects of existence. It is during moments of transition, the "in between" moments that we become aware of the distinction between the material and the spiritual aspects of reality.
As we become more and more aware of these "in between" moments, we can learn to utilize them more powerfully. These transition times can become times of healing and empowerment.
The source of all true power comes from the spiritual realms. Our access to these spiritual realms is always greatest during times of transition, the time when one moment ends and another moment begins.
Everyone is intuitively aware of this fact. This is the reason why birthdays and anniversaries are always celebrated with such adoration and passion. This is why the time during sunrise and sunset are held in such special regard. Not only are those times of day incredibly beautiful, but they are charged with an incredible amount of spiritual power.
Now, how can we use these very special times to our maximum benefit?
The best uses for these times are always in the context of spiritual practice. They are times to deepen our practice in a multitude of ways.
It is a time to heal old persistent wounds and hurts. It is a time to remove obstacles that have been blocking our progress. It is a time to plant new seeds and new habits to enhance our lives, both spiritually and materially.
The transition from one year to the next is a particularly special time for me. I have found that they are especially powerful transition times. They are times when I have been able to make the greatest and the most profound changes in my personal and spiritual life.
The very first thing that I do at the end of the year is to take time to reflect as deeply as possible on the previous year.
Here are some of the questions that I like to ask myself.
1. What do I have to be grateful for this past year?
2. Who were the most significant people in my life this past year and how did their presence in my life enhance my life?
3. Whose lives did I enhance most significantly?
4. What were the most memorable events of this past year?
5. What did I learn about myself in this past year?
6. What were the most significant books in my life this past year and why?
7. What happened this past year that I totally did not expect?
It is important that you write the answers to these questions down on paper. There is something remarkable when words are committed to being written down. Not only do you see them differently, but you also have a written record with which to reflect on in future times. Aside from putting these reflections down on paper, I also like to make some kind of audio and/or video recording of these kinds of thoughts.
Additionally, the following questions are reflections to be directed towards the year to come.
1. What are my highest hopes and dreams for the coming year?
2. What are the biggest obstacles to the achievement of these dreams and what habits will I put in place to overcome these obstacles?
3. As part of question 2, actually pull out a calendar and detail your weekly and monthly habits for the coming year.
4. What specific people and communities am I going to invest my time and energy into this year? Be as specific as possible with this answer.
Doing this particular exercise in self-reflection is more powerful than you realize. Reflecting on yourself in these ways and then writing your reflections down significantly influences not only what actually happens in your life, but also changes the way that you see yourself.
Most people do not realize this, but the way that you perceive yourself has tremendous power. Most people never really grow or change simply because the way that they perceive themselves never really changes for their entire life. Those people who actively work to change their own perceptions of themselves inevitably are always changing and growing in deep and dramatic ways.
The scriptures teach us that reality, in its highest sense, is truly unlimited. The only limits that exist are the ones that we hold in our own minds. That means that we are the only ones who are stopping us from achieving our highest dreams, from becoming the best that we can become.
Times of transition are the absolute best times to transcend, to go beyond our preconceived limits. Spiritual life is about liberation from these limits and the experience of radiant joy.
Let us utilize this transition between the passing year and the New Year and claim our birthright to this new and joy filled horizon.