Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ready for a Happy New Year? Don't bet on it. Question it.

Have you been making plans? Resolutions? Ready to make some big changes? Have those resolutions often worked out according to plan before? No? That's ok, that's the way that works. But wouldn't you rather try something that actually works?

Don't worry, making real changes doesn't take changing everything you do, only understanding better what you thought you already knew.

It's ok, review the past year, definitely. Take stock of things, sure. Go ahead and make plans, that's ok. But keep your money in your own pockets, rather than in the gyms. After all, if you haven't followed through on those New Years Resolutions before, you won't now either, not without making some deeper changes anyway.

And changes like that don't come from a moment's plans, they come from beliefs being more deeply understood and adhered to, inside and out.

Oh, and did any of your resolutions have to do with changing your country? Bad news: resolutions works as well for an entire people as they do for a single person. You do want things to work out more successfully than your last gym membership did, don't you?

Then please don't bother telling everyone what you think - that won't work any better on them, than it did with you telling you what you thought you ought to do with that gym membership. So don't bother trying to appeal to new demographics or resolving to improve your political party's appearances; focus on something less flashy and more substantial.

Work on understanding better what you already think you believe. That will lead you towards making some real meaningful changes, that is if you talk about it with others. With your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers.

But don't tell everyone what you think, or even worse, what they should think. Share with them what you wonder.

If there's one sure thing about the coming new year, if you spend some time thinking about what you assume you already know, you'll find a lot to wonder about. You know, What's Real? What's True? What's Good? The Questions don't change, only the years do. And how the years turn out, depend upon how well we as a people ask, understand and apply them.

Pay attention to those questions, and the other questions they raise. And ask those questions of others. And especially question their (and your) easy answers to them. And ask them if they know why they don't add up... and why it is that it always seems that what doesn't add up, subtracts from your bottom line... and from your liberty to live your own life, and why is it always making it that much more difficult to pursue your happiness?

A deeper understanding of what you think you know, is sure to raise a number of disturbing questions, especially as you see why it is that what is, is not what it should be. Value those questions. Share those questions, far and wide, and work on finding out why not.

It's not enough to say that the unexamined life is not worth living, you've got to ask why. And spend some time putting those questions into action. Or this year, will be no better than the last, and almost certainly worse.

And that won't make anyone happy.

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