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New Year's Resolutions and Commentary



Happy New Year everyone!


The following is a response to a recent post by Frederic and Mary Ann Brusset titled Spiritually Literate New Year’s Resolutions. I felt compelled to provide my own version of these resolutions, largely because the resolutions as they are currently written are dualistic in nature. They assume that there exists a ‘me’ that is separate from others. However, what mystics have taught for millennia is that there is no separation between self and others; that there is only one divine reality that contains everything. This divine reality is what you are—your true nature. It is the timeless, spacious awareness that perceives the entire phenomenal world. It is the emptiness that IS all form. It is what you are and what you are is just this. JUST THIS. THIS. THIS THIS. None other than THIS.


Have you realized this directly? If not, the 10 practices can assist you in living more fully and compassionately as a human being. However, ultimately, freedom and liberation, and all that follows, such as compassion for all phenomena and all beings, arises when you see through the illusion of the self and realize your true nature.


In keeping with the intent of the original list of New Year’s Resolutions, in addition to a brief comment about each of the resolutions, I also provide a resolution. However, note that there is no ‘me’ to adopt a resolution or resolve anything.


Note that it doesn’t take lifetimes to wake up; or decades, or years, or months, or days, or hours, or minutes, or seconds. You can realize your true nature right now. RIGHT NOW. What you are looking with is what you are looking for. So, I ask you, “what is it that is looking?”


From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


1. I will live in the present moment. I will not obsess about the past or worry about the future.


VJF Response and Resolution


1. There is no ‘I’ to live in the present moment. You are the present moment itself. Obsession about the past or the future is nothing more than mental conditioning. You are not those thoughts. You are not who you think you are. Ask yourself instead, “What is observing those thoughts of past and future?” That is the question you should contemplate.

  • Resolution #1: Resolve to see through the illusion of your ‘me.’ Do this through inquiry. Can you find a ‘me?’ Look. Really look. Are you your thoughts? Are you your feelings? Are you the body? What are you?

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


2. I will cultivate the art of making connections. I will pay attention to how my life is intimately related to all life on this planet.


VJF Response and Resolution


2. You are the timeless spacious emptiness that contains everything: all life; all beings; all phenomena. See the truth of this for yourself. That is the art of making connections. There is just one connection to make and that is with your true nature.

  • Resolution #2: Resolve to wake up to your true nature. Resolve to see clearly that there is just one thing going on; that there is no separation between self and others. Do this also through inquiry. What remains when all things are taken away?

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


3. I will be thankful for all the blessings of my life. I will spell out my days with a grammar of gratitude.


VJF Response and Resolution


3. Who or what is there to be grateful? To be grateful creates separation based on the belief that there is a ‘me’ to be grateful about something or someone ‘outside’ of ‘me’. Instead, just appreciate the flow and ebb of the life being perceived without judgment.

  • Resolution #3: Resolve to abide as the timeless present moment that you are with equanimity and appreciation for the creative appearances of life that come and go. Whenever you find yourself identifying with your thoughts, with your sense of ‘me,’ shift your perspective to that which is observing your thoughts.

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year

4. I will practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the “other” is shunned. I will welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.


VJF Response and Resolution


4. Treat others and the world as if they were you, because they are you. There is just one thing going on. To practice hospitality means to see through the illusion of separation. Thoughts of fear and of hate might still arise as a result of prior conditioning. Just see through the impermanent nature of those thoughts and abide as the timeless spacious empty presence that you are.

  • Resolution #4: Resolve to observe your thoughts and to not identify with them. Thoughts create separation. Notice that because thoughts can be observed, they are not you. What is it that is prior to thought?

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


5. I will see liberty and justice for all. I will work for a free and a fair world.


VJF Response and Resolution


5. What is liberty and justice? What is a free and fair world? These are cultural ideas that differ by culture and come and go. True freedom, true liberation, comes from seeing through the illusion of the self. All things are as they are. That is not to say that compassionate action does not occur; only that such action arises naturally from having seen through the illusion of a separate self.

  • Resolution #5: Resolve to observe your actions and to not identify with them. Notice that because actions can be observed, they are not you. What you are is what is prior to action. The character will do what it is going to do; and the more clearly it is seen that the character is not you, the more compassionate and aligned actions will occur in accord with your true nature.

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


6. I will add to the planet’s fund of good will by practicing little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy.


VJF Response and Resolutions


6. There is one thing going on and you’re it. This universe is you. The planet Earth is you. All life forms are you. What you eat is you. Your neighbor is you. People you like are you. People you don’t like are you. People with different belief systems are you. People of different races, different nationalities, different genders, etc. are you. So, how do you treat you? (Keep in mind that from the absolute basis of reality, ultimately, nothing matters. But from the perspective of the relative, everything counts. Just don’t get lost in ideas of good and bad.)

  • Resolution #6: Resolve to treat other as you would like to be treated. After all, all others are you. Not you, the ‘me’ you think you are, but you, the divine emptiness that manifests as all things and all phenomena. Action based on egoic desires or beliefs or shoulda’s, coulda’s, oughta’s, or gotta’s is not inspired action. Inspired action depends on the time, place, and circumstances in which an action might be needed and arises naturally and in accord with your true nature.

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


7. I will cultivate the skill of deep listening. I will remember that all things in the world want to be heard, as do the many voices inside me.


VJF Response and Resolution


7. Buddha once gave a talk by holding up a flower. His disciple, Mahākāśyapa smiled. The entry point to your true nature is everywhere. Just look. Just listen.

  • Resolution #7: Resolve to listen to the sounds of the world without judgment or preconception. Resolve to observe the world without judgment or preconception.

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


8. I will practice reverence for life by seeing the sacred in, with, and under all things of the world.


VJF Response and Resolutions


8. You are the one thing going on. You are all things. You are sacredness itself. Recognize that and there is nothing that requires reverence. You are both the revered and that which reveres. You are the observer and the observed. You are life itself.

  • Resolution #8: Resolve to drop all illusions of self and to wake up now. What are you waiting for?

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


9. I will give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from my imperfections. I will listen to what my shadow side has to say to me.


VJF Response and Resolution


9. A great sage once wrote: Liberation is to be without anxiety about imperfection. Do no judge. Do not fear. You are this moment: already free; already perfect. However, listen for and feel into any energetic patterns and resistances that cause separation and anxiety. Embrace and accept them; then let them go. Repeat as necessary. Don’t analyze or try to understand it.

  • Resolution #9: After waking up to your true nature, clearing up takes time. Notice when you are suffering. That means that there is residual conditioning that is arising. There are genetic, api-genetic, and environment conditioned patterns that still exist and which have influence over thoughts and actions. Clarity takes time and patience. Resolve to listen without judgment to the body for any resistances and conditioning that might still arise that causes you to suffer. Use such suffering as an opportunity to allow the suffering to express itself. Feel into the energetic patterns that arise, such as anxiety and fear. The more you look at them, the more likely they are to dissipate. Then inquiry into who or what is suffering.

From Spirituality and Practice: Resolutions for the New Year


10. I will be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around me, however, unlikely or unlike me they may be.


VJF Response and Resolution


10. Another great sage once wrote: “Even if I encounter a small child whose clarity surpasses my own, I will beg him/her to teach me; conversely, if I encounter a hundred year old person whose clarity is not yet the same as mine, I will teach him/her.

  • Resolution #10. Resolve to drop all preconceptions, ideas, and belief systems. The more you let go of what you think, the more open you will be to realizing your true nature and abiding as the timeless, open, spacious awareness that you are.



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