We started on this topic of New Year’s Resolutions a little while ago and since January is coming to an end, it’s a great time to revisit it.
The problem with resolutions is that they’re often expressed more like wishful thinking – and they often come from a place of guilt or poor self-image. We feel fat, and we know we should lose weight, so we resolve to try another diet. We feel life passing us by, and so we resolve to try and make the most of each day. These are just ideas. They may also be ideals that we hold for ourselves – that we should be more noble in how we honor each moment, and we should be stronger and resist the candy dish at the office.
But have you ever noticed this weird phenomenon? That the person making the resolution is not the same person who is inhabiting your body when the alarm clock goes off and you slap it quiet for another 10 minutes of sleep – instead of getting up and going for a run. The person who resolved to “be a better person” is not the same one who’s cut off in traffic and flips the bird at the other driver. We can have good intentions, and still have a helluva time making real change happen. Part of this is because you are in one state of mind – a happy, contented, optimistic state of mind – when you make the resolutions. But when you then move out into the world, into a crazy day and a stressful life, then you’re in another state of mind – a reactive, defensive, low-energy or cornered place, where you often cannot even access any of the feelings you felt before.
This of course is one way that meditation can help. When you have a regular practice of meditation, it builds up your inner reserves and gives you a lasting foundation of equanimity. You have more balance. You don’t get rattled so easily. You’re able to stay in that optimistic, peaceful place even when you’re out in the world.
We have a little more to say on the value of INTENT over INTENTIONS, which we’ll offer up to you soon. Stay tuned!