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Happy New You

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Renewal is 'making new' but just how do we renew ourselves? The body has been aging steadily and it is natural, take care of it but it will still age. We sometimes age the body prematurely by not taking care of it or by pampering it—by which indulgence brings the mind into play. The mind may start centered around the body, but it quickly centers around itself as it assumes entityship—and here lies the root of many physical, mental and emotional problems. The outer world of things as they are does not correspond to the inner world of things as we would like them to be. Renewal is an inner return to our original nature by first living amongst outer things just as they are without the interference of the urge to change things—and then that indivisible mind discovers its source.

The original mind or total mind is incorruptible, indivisible and never needs renewal. Though this is the mind we are born with, it itself is unborn and beyond corruption in any way. The mind that we generally function with or functions as us is a thin sliver or abstraction of the total or indivisible mind. We know this by our direct experience, as no matter what you experience, you are also aware of it—this awareness is the original mind.

Unfortunately, we have gotten so caught up with the little mind—the ego—that the original, indivisible mind seems to be just a concept. We have turned the tables on ourselves; the little mind or ego is a concept, just as waves are to the ocean, and we identify with this false abstraction so completely that we are ready to defend it at any cost.

The little mind or ego cannot be renewed at all, as it being a false abstraction, can only be attempted to be renewed by another false abstraction which will be its own creation. This is why so many new year's resolutions do not last, because the resolution is made by a part of us that is not so happy with some other part—not realizing that all parts are manufactured of 'the part' we are trying to renew. This little mind divides itself endlessly and makes each fragment appear as the full picture.

The need for inner order

First to realize that an ungoverned inner life is not fulfilling but chaotic. Order must come in the mind that directs life and all of life will be orderly. Without inner order, the outer life will be an attempt to fulfill a stream of desires that can never be fulfilled and which only results in an improvised mind and exhaustion.

We are orderly when it comes to doing certain things or in certain aspects of our life or with certain people, but we are not inwardly orderly of an enduring and stable nature. Self-discipline is self-government and not suppression of any sort—it is simply directing one's attention and energies towards that which one feels is best. Facing the best in attention and energy, turns one away from any and all other factors and there is no need for any suppression. It is a movement from inner clarity which manifests itself externally without any worry about outcome.

How to Renew?

The original mind or total mind is pure awareness. Not only do we know, but we know that we know, and this background is pure awareness—the total mind. I mentioned that this is incorruptible and it is so—but the error is not in its corruption but in our identification with a series of wrong notions till we live as if we are this totality of errors called 'personality'.

Broadly speaking, renewal has three stages. These are not steps or solid divisions but it helps to have an outline as long as we know that these are only pointers to what needs to be done and refrain from making these divisions and getting caught up in them.

Renewal is neither difficult nor easy. It is challenging in the earlier stages only because of the force of habit. We have taken wrong turns too often and they have become natural and second nature. There will be slips and falls, but victory will be yours if you only will.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

—Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th U.S. President, 1901-09

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