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Quiet Resolutions

In a recent IDP email, Lani Rowe (our esteemed Outreach Director) encouraged us to choose something other than "an earth-shattering I'm-going-to-change-my-whole-life resolution."  As an alternative, Lani encouraged us to attend a class at IDP (which I recommend whole-heartedly), but, if you are like me, you might also wonder what we should do about our more private goals: to eat better, volunteer more, consume more thoughtfully, or exercise.  Should we, as the subject line of the email suggests, set goals and not resolutions for our resolutions?  What does that even mean?

A friend of mine last night asked me about my relationship with IDP.  I halting stammered some longwinded something that translated to, "I don't know."  I mentioned that the main players at IDP were extremely talented and nice, that the classes were very good, and that I volunteer by doing audio editing and writing.  But when I think about my relationship to IDP or how it benefits me, it feels very quiet--I have no answer.  Working with, attending class at, and hanging around with the community at IDP has left me with nothing.  My life is still here.  My friends and I are friends.  My job has meandered without inquiring about my meditation practice.  I have the same family members.  My relationship with IDP has not even changed the weather. 

It is not surprising that meditation and working with IDP has not made my life noisier (translate: super duper exciting and awesome); meditation practice is about seeing what is already here. Meditation is about training our mind to gently return to a quiet place when our thoughts take us on a noisy journey.  Consequently, there isn't a whole lot of noise when someone asks me about meditation or IDP.

Lani's characterization of some New Year's resolutions as "earth-shattering I'm-going-to-change-my-whole-life resolutions" is not surprising.  Many New Year's Resolutions are very loud.  We make them from a noisy place, so this is not surprising.  We vow to get from no exercise to exercise every day, from no vegetables to vegetarianism, from no lover to an exciting marriage.  It is not surprising that many New Year's Resolutions fail!

As it turns out, we do not really have to make a New Year's Resolution.  We already know what is good for us.  We already know what is good for others.  It may not always be easy to see those things, because confusion (noise) is a part of life.  However, there are times when the world is very quiet (does not translate to:  romantic and longing).  That might happen as we meditate.  It might happen in the shower.  It might happen during a meal.  When our mind is quiet, it is a good time to see what goals and resolutions we already know.  Planning to achieve those goals from that quiet wisdom will help us plan in a way that we already know is the good way to proceed.

So, if you think it wise to have a New Year's Resolution, try to discover it when your mind is quiet.

A very Quiet New Year to you.

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This was lovely.




That means a lot.  :)  Thanks for the inspiration.

May 12

Thanks for your comment.  I couldn't agree more about May 12th.  I had just mentioned the idea of using unimportant days as days for setting goals, and May 12th fits perfectly.  Let's not get worked up about it though, or May 12th will be another Jan 1st. 

Best wishes to you as well!

Enjoy the silence

As a rule, I don't believe in making resolutions simply because the calendar turns - hey, why not May 12th! - but I was just thinking about how deafening even silence can be... your post was well timed for me... best wishes for 2011!

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