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New Year’s Message 2018 - Determination is a Fruit That Grows on the Tree of Hope

As I write this New Year’s message to all of you, I’m sitting in a fast train from Berlin to a meeting with a personal friend. We will discuss our experiences on the spiritual path and explore different possibilities of how to progress further. As the train speeds through the winter landscape, people around me read, type on their laptops, or doze. In front of me is a boisterous family – grandparents to toddlers – playing cards and quarrelling noisily. I ask myself what the journey of all these people could have in common with my spiritual journey? Perhaps they may not know about the spiritual path, what to speak of traversing it. As I reflect, I feel a surge of gratitude for somehow or other I have been blessed with knowledge from the ancient scriptures, many spiritual experiences, and various opportunities to engage in spiritual life. I lean back to conclude, “We are all on a journey – the journey of life!”

But on this journey - especially the spiritual journey - where do we get the determination to move forward with strength? It is a big question.

Usually most people start their spiritual life with big expectations and great enthusiasm. If, however, they find in the early stages that their idealistic expectations are not met, their determination wanes. One of my monk friends recently confided to me, “If only I could get signs from the Lord that he cares about my effort… but I’m surrounded by a deafening silence.” It’s clear that we need strength to move on, but from where do we obtain it?

Sources of Spiritual Inspiration For the New Year

When we have nurtured and fortified real reasons to hope, then all our mental functions become enlivened. Thus, we can focus on our goals, and determination – that rare quality that collects our dissipated energies and bundles them together in a great purpose - takes birth. Consequently, determination grows on the tree of hope.

Here are some tips that have helped me gain hope and enthusiasm in the past year. I hope that by applying them you can also harness unwavering determination to move forward with strength.

The Inspiration List

1. CHOOSE good friends and dare to talk with them of things you are usually silent about.

2. Know that in GIVING service, compassion, and time for your ultimate goals, the real treasures of life are given to you.

3. ACT OUT OF LOVE rather than duty (though, of course, there are things we have to continue to do responsibly even when they are hard).

4. Learn to THINK thoughts that give you energy.

5. READ the Shrimad Bhagavatam every day.

6. REMEMBER every day that you are a citizen of the spiritual world spending a little time in the guesthouse of planet Earth.

7. Let go of your fear: SURRENDER! Do this by conscientiously choosing small acts which you do only for the pleasure of the Lord.

8. WRITE down your realizations and share them with others.

9. LISTEN to saints – every day.

Let me take this rare and special opportunity to thank each of you who receives this message. I am grateful that you are a part of my life. As I address you all, I feel the desire to serve you much better next year.

I wish you a wonderful new year where every day you harvest the fruit of determination from the tree of hope.

Sacinandana Swami

 

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