A Happier New Year
by Michael McGinnis
As the calendar comes up on the end of 1999, we look forward to the start of the year 2000. A big party starts it off, sure, but what then? If we go back to work or school, back to the daily grind, and nothing has changed besides the date — why bother? Besides the temporary happiness of a party, perhaps a more lasting contentment can be found.
As the years go by we all get older, but we may notice something else too. Some people are more spiritually mature than others. A person's spiritual age is not the same as his age in years. You may find a child who really is "wise beyond his years"; you can also find an old person who makes the same mistakes he did fifty years ago. This happens (in part) because some of us have been in this world many, many times before — and others have not been on the earth, this school house of earth, as much. It can take a lot of time, even thousands of years, to become wise. But those who have lived many lifetimes in the past are not "good", and those who have lived few lifetimes are not "bad", any more than an elementary school student is better or worse than a high school student. Each of us, wherever we happen to be in our spiritual development, has the opportunity to grow spiritually in this lifetime. Growing spiritually means finding new ways to show love, good will and acceptance to those around you, even if you don't agree with them. It can also mean giving up old attitudes and habits that block us from being more open to love.
I used to believe that members of one political party were more deserving of respect than members of a different political party. However, life gave me some experiences to help me reconsider my attitude. In the past ten years I have met fine people from other political parties, and political beliefs. They often have great integrity and sincerely wish to be of service to others. I find I have something in common with anyone who is more concerned with service than with power, whatever his political beliefs. In realizing this, my heart was opened to some people, where before it was closed.
The start of the new calendar cycle, January 1, 2000, can be a celebration of the renovation of the heart that each person can find for himself. One way to grow spiritually is to bring new people into your circle of friends. Look for those who uplift you and challenge your heart to grow. As you move into the new cycle, look around you for those who can benefit from your spirit — those who you will uplift too.
It can be hard to recognize where a opportunity to renovate your heart might be found. There is a simple exercise you can do to help renovate your heart in whatever way you decide you need. This renovation can make you more conscious of ways to make your dreams come true. Make up a simple sentence declaring a goal: the qualities or outcomes you want in your life, such as "I am healthy and wise" or "I am making new friends". Use the present tense. Then, each day, write the sentence out 15 times. It is important to write only for yourself, and not to try to influence anyone else. This method offers a way to take a worthy objective in your life, and open yourself as a channel for the Spirit of God to bring it into reality. For example you may get a new idea or an insight about how to achieve your goal. As a way of opening your awareness, this technique also helps your development into becoming a more mature soul, on your gradual spiritual evolution from one lifetime to the next. When you realize a new insight and act to make it your reality, you are behaving as a mature Soul.