As I start to emerge from hip surgery fog of the last few weeks, I am overwhelmed and heartened by the outpouring of loving-kindness, compassion, caring and generosity shared by so many of you, my beloved community. I must admit, being out of it for several days was an interesting and fruitful sort of imposed vacation, although the circumstances weren’t ideal. But, as I’ve continued this personal health and healing retreat at home, by my tree-lined pond, I’ve had the time to reflect on many things, most importantly, the great gift of weakness and dependence—not an easy thing for someone of my age, a helper and caregiver (if not a caretaker), but invaluable as a “late” life lesson. I’m used to helping and being a strong and independent man! Helplessness is much harder to receive, to accept, to allow, to be with things as they are without much control or power of interference. One could almost live like this rather than against it!
Temporary feelings of imbalance and dependence have spurred a new-found level of gratitude and appreciation, for those around me as well as those who are similarly affected, and has forced me to let go in ways I never actually experienced as possible. Genuinely letting go and letting be, melting into the ground of being via surrender and acceptance, trust, vulnerability and openness: the essence of true inner freedom. For this, I am profoundly grateful.
I am also grateful for all of you; those who open my emails, attend my retreats, workshops, and dharma talks, as well as those who take the time to read my books and blogs, listen to my interviews and podcasts, and follow me on social media. While I have always said that my mission is transmission, maybe it’s really been simply to pay attention and maintain positive intention, and share with others how to do the same– because the amount and quality of attention we genuinely bring to bear here and now is what really counts. This is wisdom’s timeless, evergreen secret. Though you may feel far from it yourself, it is never far from you.
Many people are relieved to see this year come to an end, and look ahead to new-found resolve, turning over a new leaf, or even a fresh start. Yet some are simply dreading more of the same spilling over into a new year, fearing that nothing will change for the better because the forces of greed, hatred, intolerance and illusion are simply too entrenched. Many despair of being too ineffectual to make a difference in the face of our massive challenges. So I ask you, how can we each contribute toward building a more harmonious community and world? Let’s be the changes we wish to see in the world, and do something extraordinary by joining hands toward a less divided, more equitable and sustainable world that works for all.
Let’s start by considering how and when to forgive each other and ourselves for whatever missteps may have been made. It’s nearly impossible to move forward and meaningfully evolve if negative energies such as resentment and regrets are still holding us back, weighing one down like old, excess baggage. Gratitude brings in more of the natural good, positive and healing forces; forgiving lets you release what is not healthy. Forgive and remember; learn the lessons so it doesn’t happen again. If you don’t learn now, you might get left back and have to go through very similar experiences again until you do, and can move on.
May peace, wellness and buoyant newness-awareness be with you and your families as we enter a new year!
With love and blessings,
Lama Surya Das
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