The beginning of a New Year is a powerful time. A wave of fresh energy is released. It is an auspicious time to set intentions and to make changes in our lives.
I was fortunate enough to see the first rays of the New Year sun shining on the Summit of Mount Shasta, and then to spend the afternoon meditating and journaling on the sacred Mountain. In meditation, I received fresh inspiration, direction, and tools to share with you for 2022.
As you know, the completion of 2021 did not bring an end to the huge challenges we face collectively. COVID is surging once again. Global warming continues, and natural disasters are occurring at an alarming rate. There is a bitter divide within the United States, with each side seeing the other as a threat to democracy, and to our most cherished values.
We begin 2022 in a cloud of uncertainty with a lot of fear, grief, and anger in the collective consciousness.
How can each of us navigate these times to be happy, in spite of the circumstances humanity faces, and to make a positive contribution to the whole?
Here are 3 simple keys to do this in 2022 and beyond:
- Make inner peace your #1 priority
- Meet pain and fear with gratitude
- Live in the Present
Seek ye first…
The key to being at peace in the midst of change is to connect deeply with that which is unchanging. It’s easy to get caught up in focusing on the outer dramas happening on the planet, or in our own lives. Easy to have our attention go to the thoughts firing away so continuously in our minds and the emotions pulsing through us.
Yet, beneath all of the movement, there is a place of deep stillness which never goes away. In times when everything is going smoothly, we all experience moments, perhaps many moments, of connecting with this place. The challenge is to find it, even in the midst of intense turmoil.
Jesus gave us a huge key when he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.” This radical statement is in direct contradiction to the way our society, and most individuals, operate. The prevailing norm is to seek happiness and security through acquiring and controlling things (money, relationships, homes, positions, etc.) in the outer world. However, when these outer things are lost or threatened, we are shaken to the core.
In these times of rapid change, it’s increasingly apparent that we can’t count on anything in the outer realm to be stable. In facing this reality, our choice is to be in constant fear or to take Jesus’ advice to heart. Advice, that has been consistent with the teachings of all awakened beings. When our priority is finding the peace inside, we are not anxious about what tomorrow might bring.
Meet Fear and Pain with Gratitude
After exploring a ton of different methods for dealing with painful emotions, I’ve found gratitude to be the most powerful tool.
When fear, sadness, anger, or another painful emotion is triggered, our immediate response is often to want to get rid of it or get away from it. This generally isn’t very effective since ‘what we resist persists.’
When I’m able to meet painful emotions with gratitude, my resistance to them dissolves. Gratitude relaxes my mind and body, so the emotion can move through.
As Michael Singer teaches in The Untethered Soul, emotions are like water; their natural tendency is to move. It’s only our resistance that keeps them from moving through us like a river flowing downstream.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can be grateful when a painful emotion comes up. Here’s one simple way:
When an emotion arises, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It has been held unconsciously in your mind and something (an event or even a thought) has triggered it into conscious awareness. Recognize that you have a Golden opportunity to meet it in the light of awareness and to become more free.
Live in the Present
When we bring our attention fully into the present moment, there is seldom anything to fear. Almost all the fear we experience is triggered by imagining future scenarios that scare us. When we are in the present, we experience whatever circumstances we are in as an opportunity, not a threat. We can respond with confidence and clarity or do nothing, as appropriate. We can tap into a deep sense that, despite the circumstances, all is well.
Of course, there are times when it is necessary to bring our attention to the future. When we do this from a place of presence and focus, we can effectively assess options and make choices without fear. What we want to avoid is obsessive, fearful thinking about the future. When we catch ourselves doing this, we can simply be grateful for the awareness and bring our attention back into the present.
So, I encourage each of you to make the inner game your priority in 2022. Set a clear intention for your spiritual awakening in the New Year. Use our collective challenges, along with whatever comes up in your personal life, as opportunities to grow stronger and to become more free. Spend more and more moments living in the Eternal Present. If you do this, you will be at peace no matter what happens. You will be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem…since the love you radiate will impact the collective consciousness for All.