The song ‘Old Lang Syne’ is a traditional song which calls on each of us to reflect on whether times gone by should be forgotten or remembered… ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon’. It is a song for endings, which in turn bring new beginnings. Therefore, it is no surprise that this ballad has become the most celebrated custom of the ringing in of the New Year.
There are many moments, events and people that came into our lives over the past twelve months that we will want to leave behind. Conversely, there are many that we continue to hold close in our hearts. Perhaps, we can reflect on what stays and what goes for 2015, over the next few days.
There are a few way to reflect or approach past grievances/ glories, mindfully. First, we can consider anything that we are clinging on to or pushing away with a beginner’s mind. Often, our perception of a situation or a person is affected by several different contributing prejudices. What would happen if we dropped these prejudices? What would happen if we stepped back from the situation and took the ‘I’ out of our experience? How would this affect our beliefs surrounding these ‘old acquaintances’, whether they be people or things?
Secondly, we can practice mindful inquiry/reflection through a meditative process. This involves engaging in the mindful meditation process of settling the mind via following the breath, grounding the mind in the body and then resting in awareness. Once we are resting in awareness, simply drop in a question that you may have about a situation, person or thing; and rather than ruminate or conceptualize an answer, return to resting and watch whatever thoughts, sensation, images come up naturally.
Through these two processes, we will come to know what is for us and what should be forgot. So, it is my invitation to you, in the upcoming days, to find some quiet practice moments to reflect on if there is anything to be forgot and never thought upon with the coming of a brand new year; to take up a cup of kindness towards those things; and to remember that the responsibility for what we bring forward into the new year lies with each and every one of us: “And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!”