When Buddha was on his death bed he noticed his young disciple Anan was weeping.
‘Why are you weeping, Anan?’ he asked.
‘Because the light of the world is about to be extinguished and we will be in darkness.’
The Buddha summoned up all his remaining energy and spoke what were to be his final words on earth:
‘Anan, Anan, be a light unto yourself.’
Ahhhhhh…the beginning of a new year…thoughts of resolutions…intentions…goals…one word mantras.
Over the years I’ve made so many resolutions. I think the only one I can remember really keeping is to stop smoking. I actually did that one about 25 years ago. (And to quote Joe Biden…“This was a big f…. deal!“) Last year I moved from resolutions (because for me they always faded away by February) and embraced “intentions.” It was more along the lines of how I wanted to approach the new year and it was mainly about my photography. (If you’re bored with nothing better to do, you can read about it here.) And looking back over 2012 I actually did a pretty good job with my intentions. Even towards the end of 2012 when a request was made to add to a list of New Year’s intentions for my Vision and Verb group, I submitted the word “share.” Actually that’s been “my” word for a long time…just sharing!…and as it relates to my photography I do want to share it more and yes there are ideas in 2013 around those thoughts.
BUT, after spending some contemplative time during the last week and reflecting on the latest events of murders and devastation, thoughts returned from a discussion at the last weekly Dharma gathering at the Shambhala Meditation Center in NYC. I wrote down the words “be a light unto yourself.” Funny how those words reminded me of the song I learned as a child in bible school. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Who knew fifty some plus years later this little girl would be studying Buddhism and still contemplating “light.”
It is really all the same though, isn’t it? We all have a light inside us, don’t you think? But how often do we pay attention to our light and listen to our own inner voice? How often do we share our light with others? How often do we speak from the heart? If we find the light within ourselves, won’t we light the path for others?
To be honest I’m not sure where all of this is going…but I do think there’s a message here and one that has lots of merit for 2013 regardless of what you want to call it.