Every excuse to celebrate is good. There are two aspects of true celebration. One is celebration as thanksgiving, as an expression of gratitude for the divine. The second celebration is to move forward by dropping the past, knowing that life is eternal. Welcome the new year with either or both of these true celebrations.
Like the Christmas tree, life is evergreen. No storm or snow can weather away its leaves. Similarly, our spirit is eternal and though time and some adversities may try to cloud the spirit, it still moves forward through personal or social grief and emerges powerful.
The nature of spirit is celebration. Celebration is the best medicine to help you move forward in life - it gets you out of the gloom after a crisis. In celebration, don't just concentrate on having parties. When celebration has a tinge of sacredness and prayer, it gains depth and dignity. Then, that type of a celebration is service, it is sacred. It is not just entertainment for the mind or excitement for the body, but nourishment for the soul. In such celebration, guilt will come nowhere near you.
Instead of beginning the new year with an intoxicant, if it can begin with an act of kindness, a moment of reflection and even a second of introspection, we can call ourselves far more civilised. Your guilt for celebration is only if your celebration is for your own pleasure. If celebration is aimed at uplifting and uniting the hearts and minds of people around you, if it is to help them to let go of the traumatic past and kindle a ray of hope for the future, if your celebration is aimed at uplifting society, then that type of celebration is service, it is sacred. Don't feel stingy. Share what you have with others. Turn your celebration into a sacred offering for society rather than make it a self-centred pleasure-seeking one.
To celebrate life, you don't have to spend a lot of money. Celebration comes from enthusiasm and joy, celebration is an attitude and that does not need resources. When things are depressing, celebration is needed even more. A visit to the slums makes you realise that one can celebrate even during tough times. Look at those people. They still celebrate.
Let time celebrate your presence. When you let time celebrate you, you are a witness amid celebration. Welcome the year 2010 with a genuine smile from within. That smile comes when you know for sure that you are loved. If you don't know you are loved by the divine, you will not be able to celebrate life. You will live in insecurity. With insecurity comes greed. With greed comes selfishness. And with that comes anger. With anger comes lust. And with that comes sadness and misery, one behind the other, like a chain.
In the past year, check how many days you were entangled in maya? Turn back and remember the whole year. When you do this, do not reject anything. Let your attention be on the self. This is a delicate balance. This is yoga. This balance is spirituality. Spirituality is a harmonious blend of outer silence and inner celebration, and also inner silence and outer celebration! Celebration that comes out of silence is real celebration.
The year gone by has taught us many lessons: what we should be doing and what we should not be doing. Every pain that we went through in 2009 brought us some depth, and the joy and pleasure gave us a new vision of life and hope for the future. Difficulties give you depth and joy gives you width. One thing you must know is that life will always be better. It moves in the direction of the best. On the way you may find some rough roads, but it's for the better. Reconcile with the past and move on to the future with enthusiasm.
The wise will see their past as destiny and the future as free will, and be happy in the present. The unwise regret the past and think the future is destined, and become miserable in the present. In 2010, you have the choice of being one of the two. This new year, let there be sunshine - both in our lives and in society. Let us all have the determination to create a violence-free, stress-free society. May your life be filled with peace, joy and true celebration. Happy New Year! -- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar