Colm Holland - the original publisher of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - reveals life changing secrets from the book.
Why I won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions!
On December 31st 1999 my family and I lived on Sydney Harbour, Australia, and we had a ringside seat on the waterfront to watch the old millenia pass and the new arrive in a blaze of fireworks previously unequalled in the history of the country, the final inspiring message that emerged out of the gunpowder smoke, emblazoned across Sydney Harbour Bridge was this: Eternity.
Now in some ways this is a strange message to send to over a million revellers across the harbour and yet it has stuck with me every New Year since; because it puts my life into true context:
I am part of the timelessness of Eternity, which is here now.
I want to pause on that thought for a moment. It’s true that time never stands still, and yet the only time we are connected to Eternity is now - right now we are in Eternity and all the power of Eternity to live a meaningful life is at our disposal - NOW! Because Unconditional Love lives in Eternity and is its nature and purpose.
Joseph Campbell expressed it like this:
Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. ... And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. This is it. Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth.*
Let’s dive in a little deeper and try to unravel the meaning and potential impact of this as we pass into a New Year!
Here is what Jung wrote on the subject:
When you succeed in awakening the Kundalini, so that it starts to move out of its mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is totally different from our world. It is the world of eternity. Carl Jung- The Undiscovered Self.
In Jungian psychology, Time is an archetype, where individually and collectively we unconsciously give it power over our lives. The concept of Time is one of the oldest topics of human mythology and in ancient Persia they considered Time as one of the gods and even the God of the gods. In other words, time is a master over our lives - one that we must obey without having any resistance against it.
Time’s ultimate power is death and this is partly why we have New Year celebrations; we are marking the ‘death’ of the old year and the birth of the new - an ancient mythological tradition going back to a recognition of the winter solstice - the death and rebirth of the sun.
The question I asked myself is; do I allow the Time archetype to dictate or control my happiness and fulfillment? Am I locked into the effects of the events in my past or am I consumed with anxiety about my future? Can I really be content with the Now and not be defined by my past or my hopes for the future?
Yesterday, today, tomorrow, last year, this year, next year, birthdays, anniversaries and even birth and death are just a few of the myriad of time-marks that we use to add milestones to our life’s journey. They help create an order out of the seeming chaos of life and death, but when we let Time dictate how we measure the progress of our inner journey of transformation, then I believe we are in peril of missing the answer to true happiness and empowerment.
If I am using the start of a new calendar year to review and plan my inner transformational progress it’s an indicator I am in Time’s grip and I’m using a temporal tool to do an eternal work: which is The Great Work of the alchemists. (for more on this see my book The Secret of The Alchemist - Colm Holland)
As an archetype, Time keeps us imprisoned to the milestones of birth and death, youth and age and everything in between and how we place illusionary value on the positive aspects of our temporal existence and grieve at the loss of them - thus letting the events of Time dictate our happiness or the lack of it.
The ‘enlightened’ soul in almost all faiths and spiritual practices recognises this and seeks to free itself by connecting with the eternal nature of the Self; that has no beginning or end, and passes through this temporal life as an earthly home at least once and in some traditions, multiple times.
By now you are justified in asking; what does all this have to do with New Year’s resolutions?
Erkhart Tolle wrote this and I agree with him:
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” Erkhart Tolle, The Power of Now.
To make any progress in our personal journey of transformation, we should not only celebrate earthly time and milestones, but also take care to see they are not our only measure of our earthly existence. To measure our true worth and progress, we should reach within, to the eternity of our own souls, because it is there that the growth and fulfillment we seek will be found and then manifested in our daily lives; everyday and not just at the start of the New Year.
For that reason I have abandoned looking back over the year past and making New Year’s resolutions and have swapped that activity for one eternal resolution: which is - NOW, I will commit to discovering my true Self. NOW, I will continue my journey toward true empowerment. NOW, Unconditional Love is present here in this moment and this is the true place of my eternal existence.
On that note I wish you a very happy NOW on New Year’s Day and everyday.
* Episode 2, Chapter 13-14, The Power of Myth (1988) With Bill Moyers.