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Marieke van Vugt

Aspirations for the new year

http://www.soundoflife.net/new-year-quotes/ http://www.soundoflife.net/new-year-quotes/
For me, the holidays are always a time for reflection on the year that passed, and aspirations for the year that is coming. I am lucky that I have a family who is for the most part not crazy about having a very packed Christmas or New Year's eve, so all is relatively quiet, and at the same time work has also slowed down. For me, a lot has happened in the past year, my first year as an assistant professor, so I learnt a lot about teaching, writing grants, and all kinds of rules and regulations I have to deal with.

It was also a year in which I was stressed out at several points, surrounded by deadlines on all sides, but mostly, pressurizing myself. I often find that I can drive myself crazy with working all the time, because my ego wants to feel good by being a hard-working person. Of course that is not a very easy way to deal with yourself. I notice that I feel much better when I am able to connect with a motivation of working for the benefit of others.

There is a beautiful translation of the bodhisattva vow by Roshi Joan Halifax that I find very inspiring. I hope to use that as a guide for the coming year:

Creations are numberless, I vow to free them
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them
Reality is boundless, I vow to perceive it
The Awakened Way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it

If only I could remember that motivation to free the numberless beings. And if only I could remember how many of my thoughts are simple stories and delusions. Just remembering that allows you to transform them, because they no longer affect you so much when you see they are just stories. And then, if you can be free of the stories, then you see reality is in fact boundless. And the final goal is to embody the practice--not just talking about it like I do now. Talking is easy, but doing is quite a bit more of a challenge, especially when things get busy... So I hope to also be able to cultivate a little mindfulness to enable me to remember these things at the crucial moment.

Do you have any aspirations for the new year?