Towards the end of the year, we can get into the habit of letting Christmas drinks, heavy foods and low amounts of sunshine take it’s toll on both the body and mind.
Of course this is definitely the moment to make the most of time with loved ones, enjoying treats and relaxing into Winter comforts, but it can also be a time when we put all our ‘good intentions’ to the side, and that new year’s resolution we made right at the beginning of the year is way down at the bottom of the bin by now….
Is there ever time to be ‘great’? It seems as though we wait until January 1st to make the promise to ourselves that this year we’ll make the most of our time, to do all those things on that list, to reach a new goal and achieve whatever else we’ve got left to achieve.
The thing is, we always seem to be waiting to be great…. Thinking that after one difficult situation is over, then life will finally be ‘ok’, that we just have to wait until the ‘right time’ comes up to do what it is we’ve been putting of for days, weeks, months or years….
We all have 24 hours in a day, it’s just what we choose to do with them that makes the difference….
The word Mahatma means ‘great soul’, but it’s not an exclusive title; everyone has a ‘great soul’, some people just choose to cover it up with a load of rubbish instead of allowing it to fully reach the potential it has. It’s also about Brahmacharya, often translated as ‘right use of energy’. We all definitely have greatness inside of us, it’s just about creating the right environment for it to emerge.
One useful question to continually ask ourselves is ‘am I using my thoughts, words and actions in a worthwhile way?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then it may be useful to ask a few more questions….
- Do I continually focus on worrying about unnecessary things… becoming my own worst enemy?
- Do I focus on what I don’t want, or easily get stuck in a sense of ‘lack’ and inferiority?
- Do my words reflect what I really feel and mean? Do they inspire others, or criticise?
- Are my words wasting my breath?
- Are my actions carried out only in order to receive something in return? Are they selfish or selfless?
- Do my actions help create a Life Worth Breathing or do they waste the potential of life instead?
To use our time in a worthwhile way means to be fully awake and alive in each moment, and to recognise that all the ‘stuff’ we need in order to be our best selves is in there already, bubbling away and waiting to come out.
‘Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!’
Mahatma Gandhi isn’t Gandhi’s actual name (his full name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) – the word Mahatma just recognises the great soul he is (after all, the soul is eternal) because of the work he did during his lifetime. Everyone is a Mahatma at heart, if we allow ourselves to be….
There’s a Yogic saying that goes; “Neti neti nama rupa” meaning ‘I am not this name, I am not this form’. Overly identifying with our name and form often causes us to also over identify with the ‘story’ we’ve created about ourselves. The drama of life’s ups and downs, the way we look, the job we have and the car we drive all seem to make us who we are when we identify ourselves as a name and form instead of the simplicity of a ‘soul’.
The moment we’re able to realise that who we actually are is far deeper than our grossest elements of name and form; we begin to act from a completely different place, more aligned with our core values and intuition rather than acting according to what other people may think of us. Acting from a place this deep allows us to access the potential greatness that naturally lies within every single person. It’s not a case of adding more and more things onto ourselves in order to become great, it’s about removing the unnecessary that stops greatness from naturally emerging.
1. To move out of or away from something and become visible.
2. To become apparent or prominent.
So what’s stopping you?
Ganesh is the elephant-headed Hindu deity known as the ‘remover of obstacles’, the thing is, he doesn’t just remove the obstacles for us – of course it isn’t that ‘easy’ – he also puts them in the way. So why would a ‘god-like’ figure actually put obstacles and issues in our way? Surely they’re meant to help us out in times of trouble, not cause trouble?
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, the Hindu deities aren’t especially known for giving us an easy and straightforward time – instead they’re all about helping us to grow and flourish and emerge our greatness, which sometimes means they’ll place a huge obstacle right in the middle of our path, and it won’t be ‘removed’ until we learn from it….
It’s the learning that actually transforms us into mahatmas though. We can indeed also be our own worst enemies at times if we get caught up in identifying overly with name and form, effectively stopping ourselves from becoming great. Usually it’s self-doubt and procrastination that stops us from being great…
To take some genuine ‘greats’ into consideration; Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa… they definitely didn’t wait until making their new year’s resolutions until they used their time in a worthwhile way to become ‘great’. Not because they wanted to be recognised by everyone else as ‘great’, but because they were totally true to what they believed and knew within themselves, and brought it all to the table with worthy thoughts, words and actions.
The energy we put into January 1st every year could in fact be put into each and every moment of each and every day. As Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) said himself; ‘A man is of his mind’, therefore the state of the world reflects our collective state of mind. Imagine what the state of the word would be like if everyone decided to use their thoughts, words and actions in a worthwhile way to become a mahatma?