As the Lunar New Year came and went this past weekend, I’ve been awash with old memories and new ideas.
New Year, New Ideas
This weekend, I celebrated Losar – Tibetan New Year – with my spiritual community. Our teacher shared the words of the Dalai Lama during his Losar celebration, which I’m going to do my best to paraphrase here:
If our intention is to continue to improve our minds (and by extension our lives and those of others), then there is certainly cause for celebration during the Lunar New Year. However, if we’re not planning on changing anything, i.e., we’re choosing to remain stuck in unhelpful mental patterns and bad habits, then there’s no point in celebrating the New Year.
This totally blew my mind. It sounds so obvious, but somehow it’s a concept that’s been completely missed in the personal development world. What exactly are we celebrating in the New Year?
Now, we all come to the New Year from different viewpoints. The spectrum ranges from, “I can’t believe I survived last year, and I get to live to see another day…” to “Last year was the best year of my life, here’s to more AWESOME!”.
But regardless of where you landed from, my question to you is: Where to, from here?
Is it going to be more of the same? Or are you going to choose something different?
Are you approaching the new year with fear and anxiety over the full gamut of possibilities of what could go wrong? Or are you excited and celebrating the infinite possibilities and miracles awaiting you?
If the former, then certainly no point in celebrating that. But if the latter, then – HOORAY! Let’s keep this high vibrational energy going and celebrate. Whether the celebration be big or small, take the time to honour your commitment towards moving closer to your Higher Self or Bodhisattva Nature.
One of my favourite mantras is: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better”. May it be of service to you.
I’m not Tibetan (I’m Canadian by way of citizenship and Filipino by way of nationality), but since Tibetan culture is deeply intertwined with Tibetan Buddhism, I do find myself steeped in certain Tibetan cultural practices (not the least of which is Losar).
When I lived in Hong Kong, I (obviously) celebrated Chinese New Year, and I MISS IT SO MUCH.
Well, at least I miss all the free money and the extra 2 weeks off school for Chinese New Year holidays after the 2 weeks of Christmas holidays (yes, you read that right!).
I also miss the fireworks, the boat parade, and the dragon dances. It was just 2 weeks of pure jubilation and generosity. EVERYONE was happy all the time! Strangers smiled more than usual, your parents’ colleagues gave you little red packets full of non-taxable cash, you had mooncake, you had parties . . . It was like Christmas on crack. Literally, it was like Christmas was the warm-up for generosity, gift-giving, and partying.
I will always miss Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. I’m grateful for the memories, and grateful to have spent my childhood living the high life in Hong Kong before moving to Canada.
I’m also grateful to have found a new way to commemorate the Lunar New Year in a way that is deeply connected to my chosen spiritual practice. Who would’ve thought that I would have to move across the world to rediscover my spiritual roots? And that I would find it in a Tibetan Buddhist temple in the heart of the city of Edmonton, of all places? It’s almost poetic, actually.
Anyway, I digress. To bring it all back to the New Year: I hope you choose to celebrate the magic and the potential of 2021 (the Year of the Metal Ox).
I hope my words brought you joy. May all beings benefit.
Image credit: “Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim” by Abhishek Singh.