Tradition, yet Originality
Good Day, Everyone …
Let’s take a few moments to settle into ourselves : to meditate, to contemplate, to intro- and/or outro-spect, or to pray – to actualise our connexion to the Force and to come together in the spirit of our unity …
May the Force be with you …
Here we are again, have ended another of the sequence of days that we call December, and changed the calendar again to one called January, adding ‘1’ to the series begun by the Pope Gregory XIII from the one that Julius Caesar began before him … and we keep on counting.
And what are we counting ?
Alternating of daylight to darkness, low and high tides, moon phases, seasons and trips around the sun by the lot of it ; births and deaths and the arbitrary numbers that pass for the money we earn and spend to try to forget that we too are passing through the World and Time …
To mark some of the endings and beginnings of cycles, we commemorate a something or another that occurred once (maybe) during the similar Time of the cycle we’re paying attention (maybe) to. We then add that memory to the chain of remembered experiences at the same time as we add ‘1’ to the calendar sequence and then go on from then, repeating the cycle of Nights and Days, rising and falling and the phases of the moon, changing seasons and trips around the sun.
During this Time, babies are born, family, friends, enemies, strangers and other ‘loved ones’ pass away, we do things, experience failures and successes (and some of these disguise themselves quite cleverly one as the other) and all of this gives us things to talk about when we come together to commemorate other things that happened (maybe) at a similar Time …
And for similar Times we do similar things : the coloured eggs at Easter, the candles and rice cakes at the tsukimi time, the meal of crushed apple and nuts at Passover …
But do we ever stop to contemplate why we honour these Traditions ?
Apart from that we may have grown up observing them (there are many things which we abandon in growing up – so why continue with “tradition” ?), what is it that is firmly rooted in the Human Psyche that warrants observing these Traditions from year to year ?
On one hand, we do it because we are used to it. Traditions change from culture to culture, but the same conditioning phenomenon operates throughout. If a certain Tradition is respected in our culture, we will also respect it, even if the way we ‘respect’ it is by avoiding it (quasi-)completely. That is, if I disagree with the “commercial corruption of Christmas” and thus I make it a point to not participate, then I’m still engaging with it. Participation by Revolt : Investiture by Dis-Investiture – it is paradoxical, but nonetheless true …
Tradition is not the worst way we have of keeping track of cycles ; they break up the monotony of the day-to-day living and can be occasions of real Joy. They give us a common frame of reference for our periodic coming-together. But …
… a common frame of reference does not mean simply doing things formulaically. When we practice a common Tradition (regardless of which) then it must be done with the Originality of the moment wherein it is celebrated. The spirit of the Tradition is only living if it is kept current.
For example, the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is a Jewish Tradition for which the same prayers are uttered, the same practices are honoured – yet the insults that one pardons one another for are those of the past year. One does not pardon ‘Traditional’ slights …
We have to bring our current, living selves to our Traditions, and honour the Tradition according to its spirit – that spiritual aspect the Tradition is established to carry, not according to its formula. If the Tradition is done just because it is ‘traditional’ yet, is bereft of the inner mythic dimension it is to bring to Life, then it is a “commotion” and not a Tradition.
Therefore, this year as we get pissed, dance, eat a lot and kiss one another right before changing the Calendar to the 2015 one – let’s remember to bring the “NOW” to the party. What we’re really celebrating is that most of us are still here today. We are off for another 12-month adventure, punctuated with Traditions of one sort or another, to be observed or not with the Originality of the moment and its circumstances as all part of the Eternal cycle of the One Life we all are on the foundation of the Force.
Thus, in ‘Letting Go’, with a lot of Gratitude and some Contempt, the Old Year 2014 and with Anticipation and some Apprehension for the New Year 2015, let us greet the changing of the calendar with the recitation of our Creed :
I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, I shall bring love ;
Where there is injury, pardon ;
Where there is doubt, faith ;
Where there is despair, hope ;
Where there is darkness, light ;
And where there is sadness, joy.
I am a Jedi.
I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console ;
To be understood as to understand ;
To be loved as to love ;
For it is in giving that we receive ;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned ;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Force is with me always, for I am a Jedi.
Happy New Year, to everyone of the TotJO and to all Others wherever they may be – and whether or not they are changing a calendar today or not.
& May the Force be with you all …