From the spiritual point of view, each new year has a specific significance, ushering in new energy, new possibilities and often a fresh new consciousness unique to that incoming year. This incoming fresh energy does not always coincide with the calendar new year, but often begins before or after the first days of January. It is like a bell ringing to awaken and re-inspire humanity, and when it comes it can be felt in our lives quite clearly.
Each new year is like a new rung on the ladder of consciousness which we have to climb up. When the new year dawns, we have to make ourselves conscious of the fact that we have to transcend our present capacity and present achievement. The new year energises us, encourages us and inspires us to run towards a higher Reality.
During his life, spiritual master Sri Chinmoy would often describe the unique incoming energies of the new year, enabling us to best utilize these and prepare ourselves, like a weatherman mapping out the advancing highs and lows of the outer weather. He comments:
“Each year has a soul of its own. Even the astrologers can tell something about the soul of a year, just as they can very often tell about the soul of a country.
Every day, when morning dawns, we should feel that we have something new to accomplish. When we start our journey in the morning, we should feel that today is the continuation of yesterday’s journey; we should not take it as a totally new beginning. And tomorrow we should feel that we have travelled still another mile. Then, we know one day that we will reach our Goal.
“When the new year dawns, a new aspiration, a new dedication and a new realisation enter into us. Tomorrow, on New Year’s day, that new newness will enter into us. What can we expect from tomorrow? We expect that which we do not have right now: freedom from bondage, freedom from limitation, freedom from disease, freedom from death. I always say, ‘The past is dust.’ Once again I repeat, ‘The past is dust.’ Why? The past has not given us what we have been striving for. So the past is of no use. It is the present, and the golden future which enters into the present, which make us feel what we are going to be—nay, what we truly are. We are not children of the past, but children of the glorious future.
“There is no end to the progress we can make, and each new year comes and stands in front of us to remind us of that very fact: that there is no end to our progress, both inner progress and outer progress. God is entering into us to inspire us to dive into the deepest, to fly into the highest, to run towards the farthest. We must always feel that we are children of the Supreme, that self-realisation or the conquest of the self is our birthright, our divine heritage.”
In a modern world marred by conflict, war, poverty and widespread suffering, the teachings of the spiritual masters continue to offer beacons of consolation and hope, reminding us firstly of our task of self-perfecting and of the power this has to better the world around us; and informing us of the great and dormant power of love, one of the primary gifts of the human heart. For when the heart’s power of love replaces the love of power, and self-interest is replaced by a widening oneness and concern for others, all of the world’s problems will quickly disappear. We will not want to prosper at the expense of others, nor remain silent and uncaring at their misfortunes, for we will feel and understand that we are but one family, a part of each other. Sri Chinmoy writes:
“ The world exists just because love still exists on earth. No other divine quality can create, sustain and fulfil God here on earth like the quality of love. How can we help our sisters and brothers of the world? We can help them if we become all love for the One who is all Love. Let us love the One, the root of the tree. Then we shall see that the branches, the leaves and the foliage of the tree will also feel our love. Each individual who fulfils God and His creation embodies God’s living Concern and living Sacrifice. And it is in this Concern and Sacrifice that God and man are both fulfilled.”
In an earlier new year, and referring to the heart’s love, Sri Chinmoy once wrote:
‘My Lord, I do not want the peace
That tells me I need nothing more.
No, I want the peace that creates in me
Constant hunger to receive You
In every way
And distribute You
In every widening heart.’