The first day of the new year always represents the potential for profound renewal—a new cycle in relationship to the passing of time, a precious moment in which many of us feel we are getting a chance to start over. And for most of us, that chance is usually connected to our highest aspirations, to important projects we had wanted to accomplish, and to the many ways we intend to improve ourselves. The new year represents that moment when we renew our desire to evolve.
The powerful experience of inspiration that many of us feel at the beginning of a new year is the recognition that we really can do something that we hadn’t believed possible before—that we are capable of breaking through to higher ground and reaching previously unimaginable levels of our own potential. Indeed, the uplifting experience of inspiration that we feel in those moments is the thrilling sense that anything is possible. That feeling of inspiration is a taste of spiritual freedom, because within it we experience liberation from any habitual sense of limitation.
Many of us, for many reasons—founded and unfounded—tend to be doubtful about the possibility of change, not only in ourselves, but in the world at large. Most of us are accustomed to living with an unconscious conviction that “it’s not possible” or “I just don’t have what it takes.” And we are all struggling with the great challenges of our time—the economic crisis, climate change, and continued conflict in the world.
So on a day like New Year’s Day—a day of renewal when many of us, at least for a few moments, light up with a sense of inspiration—the cloud of self doubt and the cultural climate of cynicism momentarily fade into the background. We find ourselves temporarily filled with a lightness of being, a tangible conviction that it really is possible to change. We are in touch with an indomitable intention to catalyze change in ourselves and in the world around us. When we are awake to this powerful creative possibility, it connects us to that boundless energy source that has enabled human beings historically to move mountains.
When you or I feel this kind of inspiration, it’s not just a personal experience we are having. In those moments, we are awakening to something much bigger and more profound. It’s actually the tangible, felt, human experience of the energy and intelligence that created the universe and that is driving the evolutionary process right now.
To see this for yourself, just stand back and bear witness to the majesty of that evolutionary process as a whole—the miracle that emerged from nothing in a burst of light and energy 14 billion years ago. See the glory and inconceivable creative power of this cosmic process that ultimately gave rise to the conditions that made it possible for you to have the experience you are having in this very moment. And then pay attention to the experience of being alive when you step this far outside the normal narrow sphere of your daily awareness.
Realize the enormity of what it means to exist from this expanded perspective. What you will notice is that inherent in the vastness of it all is a powerful driving urgency. That urgency is the felt sense that the entire creative process is moving. It’s going somewhere all the time.
When you or I are in touch with the unrestricted potential, the infinite possibility of evolutionary inspiration, we are tapping into the creative source of the entire cosmos. The reason this is so significant is that when you directly experience this tremendous energy, you realize its profound positivity. In those moments you are free from crippling self-doubt and the long shadow of cynicism, because you are experiencing the overwhelming positivity that is the very nature of existence itself.
When we embrace this evolutionary worldview, we come to see that our personal existence is not separate from a vast creative unfolding that is definitely trying to go somewhere. We recognize that what we experience as inspiration is in fact that same cosmic energy and intelligence aspiring to evolve and renew itself through us, as us. So the experience of inspiration that we feel on days like today is very important because of what it can reveal to us about the nature of life itself, and what it can reveal to us about our potential to be liberated, deeply creative, engaged human beings.
But to actualize this potential, we have to have the courage to trust what becomes apparent to us when we are awake to this kind of inspiration. It’s important to recognize that no matter what appears to be happening in our challenging and often-confusing personal lives and the fast-changing world around us, the transformative presence of inspiration awakens us to a deeper and more fundamental truth about the nature of reality.
Even if we find ourselves in very difficult times, it will still always be true that the power and energy that is animating the entire process is overwhelmingly positive. That does not mean that the personal or collective challenges we face are not real. But our relationship to these challenges changes when we recognize that the energy that is driving the process as a whole, which we individually experience as higher inspiration, is positive. Why? Because it means that to exist is good. Life itself, at its essence, is good. Remember, the entire process is in a state of continual becoming. It’s trying to get somewhere.
So on a day like today, the first day of the New Year, when you experience the thrill of renewal, realize that it is not merely a personal experience you are having. The universe is trying to evolve through you. The challenge, for most of us, is that we too easily forget that fact when we lose touch with the thrill of a new possibility.
So what I want to propose, as we begin the new year, is this: what would our lives be like if every day was like today? What if every day represented that sense of renewal? What if every day we were in touch with the sense of infinite creative potential and life-positive inspiration? I believe that to live an enlightened human life, these days, it is essential that we find the courage and conviction to live most days like that. And in order for that to actually become possible, we need to remain in touch with the deeper truth about the nature of reality that we’ve seen in our highest moments, no matter what our external circumstances may be.
Remember, when you are awake to the thrill of the possible—when you can see it, taste it, touch it—you no longer feel trapped in the mundane presence of the present, because you are now awake to the unmanifest potential of the future. You are always reaching beyond where you have already come. When your mystical heart has been opened to a profoundly creative context, you realize that to consciously exist—which is what it means to be enlightened—is to evolve, to be in a constant state of becoming, renewal, and creative inspiration.
So make this day every day. Then you will find the spiritual self-confidence that comes from being in touch with the infinite source of creative potential that lies at the heart of existence.
This post was originally published on Andrew’s BigThink blog, The Evolution of Enlightenment.
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