The Miracle of Shaktipat
Each year Sadguru Kedarji offers a Shaktipat Blessing Intensive in honor of Mahashivarati. This is a special time ....."View Now
No New Year’s Resolutions
Only New Year’s Resolve
by Kambra McConnel
Every January, I love feeling the fresh start of the new year.
Before crossing paths with Sadguru Kedarji and engaging in our Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach, in the earliest days of each new year, I would make New Year’s Resolutions that I believed would help make my year great, and would help me improve myself in various ways. I would make resolutions to leave all of my old habits and perceived shortcomings behind, after which I would concurrently experience feelings of satisfaction and uncertainty—emotions that wavered between awe and anxiety.
In one moment, I might breathe a sigh of contentment about having a clean slate, as I looked forward to fulfilling all of my plans…and in the next moment, I might get caught up in reverie and wonder: What surprises will the new year will hold? How will the new year actually shape up? Will I truly become a better person by the end of it?
Then by February, I would inevitably find myself back in familiar territory, engaging in the same old habits, and with my same perceived shortcomings as in the previous year.
However, when I recently saw a friend for the first time in this new year, my friend asked, “So, did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?” I remained silent. My friend laughed. “No? No New Year’s Resolutions for you?”
I explained that I stopped engaging in my old habit of setting New Year’s Resolutions because I realized that I had also gotten into the habit of creating expectations and attaching to outcomes. Then, year after year, when reality did not ultimately measure up to my expectations, and when my anticipated outcomes did not come to fruition, I would feel disappointed or frustrated, hurt or angry. And I perceived that I always ended up back at Square One.
So I said, “Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, this year, I simply want to resolve to live in a state of delight.” Because this is Sadguru Kedarji’s New Year’s Message for 2023: “Live in a State of Delight.” This year, I resolve to reach for my Guru’s understandings over my own. What Grace!
One priceless gem of wisdom that I have learned after crossing paths with Sadguru Kedarji years ago and engaging with enthusiasm in our Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach is that all we ever have is the present moment. As Sadguru Kedarji utters, “The past is gone, and the future does not exist.”
And it is by the Grace of Sadguru Kedarji that I have become aware of my tendency to create expectations – to mentally race ahead and leave the present moment behind in the dust, in search of excitement or worry about a future that does not exist yet, and to superimpose all sorts of notions about what may or may not happen.
Although my ego idea would really like to label this tendency as “planning,” “preparing,” “organizing,” or “setting goals,” in truth, it is simply a fertile breeding ground for fear, worry, anxiety, and other useless tendencies, when I allow my mind to become restless.
As Sadguru Kedarji utters, in our Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach, the definition of Liberation is “the uninterrupted experience of the expression of the fullness of humanity in the constant Delight of the Inner Self.”
Every time I hear Sadguru Kedarji utter this definition of Liberation in connection with his New Year’s Message for 2023—“Live in a State of Delight”—it reminds me that by my Guru’s Grace and the Grace of my self effort, it is totally possible to experience Liberation in each and every moment, from moment to moment.
It is not about a resolution to have an excellent year or setting year-long goals and expectations. It is simply resolving to remain fully present with a quiet mind and heightened Witnessing Awareness in each and every moment, from moment to moment, and taking full responsibility to act accordingly. Living in a State of Delight and Liberation are neither far-off destinations, nor states that I cannot experience in an instant, even if I inadvertently slip in a given moment. What Grace!
So how is it possible to Live in a State of Delight in moments when I feel anything but delightful?!
Like when it appears that I am being dismissed or ignored, or when someone does not share my level of enthusiasm for a particular idea? Or, to share an analogy imparted by Sadguru Kedarji, what about when I feel like I am in a “basket of crabs?”
When more than one crab is in a bucket at the same time and if any crabs try to escape, the other crabs will pull the escapees back down. So, when I perceive that people are trying to bring me down, or when I feel that their comments are deflating, or when I feel frustrated, upset, angry…. What then?
Even though we are still early in the year 2023, and even though I am consistently contemplating Sadguru Kedarji’s New Year’s Message to “Live in a State of Delight,” I have already experienced numerous moments that my ego idea has not perceived as “Delight.”
For example, I tried to hit the ground running full speed ahead in my daily mundane existence at the beginning of this new year, only to find that certain projects appeared to drag on and on, and I began to feel panic that I could not get anything else done, as I appeared to be falling way behind on my “To Do” list. I started to feel impatient, and to complain about my frustrations.
Obviously, I needed to be reminded how to Live in a State of Delight. And that is why I am incredibly grateful to have the unwavering spiritual leadership of an authentic Shaktipat Sadguru.
In a recent mini course led by Sadguru Kedarji, we studied Resolve, Fearlessness and Freedom. Through my homework assignment of contemplations, at first, I felt an awareness that Resolving to be Fearless includes not being afraid to express the full spectrum of human emotions…and the key is that I just cannot let myself get attached to any specific emotion. I cannot allow the roller coaster of emotions to bring me down like a basket of crabs.
Then, I felt how very important it is to obey Sadguru Kedarji’s instruction to “get rest”—to quiet my restless mind through daily spiritual practices of meditation, chanting, japa, and selfless service. Because when my mind is not flooded with thoughts, distractions, and anxiety, then I do not have to fear drowning in any of that. Instead, I can see the Grace and examples of where and how Love always prevails…I can see that a State of Delight is always present, ready and waiting for me to live in it.
And while people, places, things, situations, and circumstances that may not appear to be “delightful” will always be part of my mundane circumstances of daily existence, in order to Live in a State of Delight from moment to moment, I simply cannot reach for thoughts, false notions, or fears that I may associate with them.
Instead, in every interaction, I have to consistently put forth the self effort to reach only for the highest understandings—to hold my Guru’s understandings over my own, in each present moment, from moment to moment.
For example, it is so important to reach for, and remember, one of the highest understandings that Sadguru Kedarji imparts: that there is no such thing as duality. There is no such thing as an “Other” who might appear to oppose anyone else. Because we are all God…everyone is the same Supreme Self.
And in my recent circumstances, as soon as I reached for and held this highest understanding, my whole experience changed in an instant – I no longer felt like I was in a “basket of crabs.” Instead, I enjoyed Living in a State of Delight and experiencing Liberation for more and more moments. I felt and shared more and more Love, Joy, Patience and Compassion in all of my interactions. There was no longer any room for Fear; therefore, my Resolve strengthened. And I felt Free.
What Grace! Om Guru Om.
Kambra McConnel is the Treasurer of The Bhakta School of Transformation. She sits on our Board of Directors and also volunteers as a certified staff teacher and program leader for Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga.
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