Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Stroke of Midnight

For all that is said in this blog about the way many of us operate on automatic pilot setting most of the time, there is one period of time in the year in which a lot of people become very mindful. I am speaking, of course, of the moments leading up to, and then culminating in, the stroke of midnight signaling the beginning of the new year.

For me, it is reminiscent of being a kid, and getting my picture taken with one foot on either side of a state line. In that moment, I knew where I was in relationship to everything else around me on the planet, and I could point to that exact spot on the map. To this day, when I travel by plane, I often eschew the in-flight entertainment so I can follow the moment-to-moment progress of the little airplane icon on the GPS screen.

The truth is, we can become aware of any moment we choose at any time of the year. However, there is something about the awareness of the exact moment that one year ends and another begins that holds special magic for us. For that moment, we seem to be in control of time, and we can make of that moment whatever we choose to make of it. For a few moments there is mindfulness of our surroundings, the people we are with, and the feelings that we have. Then the mindfulness, along with the moment, begins to fade and we are back to automatic pilot mode. January 1st is just another day.

Mindfulness is short-lived and requires regular attention to maintain for any length of time. It is not our default setting as humans. Christopher Titmus once said, "It is easier to walk on the Sea of Galilee than to feel three complete breaths." This is obvious to anyone who has practiced mindfulness of breathing.

The point is to be as aware as possible of the special (and not so special) moments in our life. They are fleeting and impermanent. We will only be in this place right now for this moment, and then this moment is gone. Don't wait for the countdown to midnight to practice some mindful awareness. It is available to you right now. It is a half a breath away.

From Deepak Chopra:
We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.

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