Lessons From A Rare Year

(Published in Spiritually Speaking Column of The Daily Guardian on December 28, 2020)

2020 is about to end. The cycle continues. The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the year gone by and to introspect on the lessons we all learned as individuals. It is also a great time to apply those lessons in the New Year that is coming in. While this year had its challenges, it wasn’t all bad. It has taught us many important lessons as well.

This was one of the most significant and eventful years in human history. The global pandemic dominated this year in every way. Whether it was the lockdowns, the economic slowdown or the race for the vaccine. New terms that were unheard of now have been sealed into our global consciousness, such as—masks, quarantine and social distancing. This year has been quite a wild ride and most of it was spent right at home. Like a global reality show we all were in tune with global events through the Internet, social media and streaming services primarily.

Millions of people have been infected by the virus. Hundreds and thousands have died globally. Millions around the world have lost their jobs and businesses. It has been a year of several challenges. But has it been only bad? 

Not at all. This has been a year of many lessons. While we all sat at home mostly in the earlier part of the year during lockdown, we also got a chance to rediscover our loved ones and ourselves. Many families have become closer to each other than before. Many people have had precious time to look inwards and rediscover themselves.

Everyone must have learned their own individual lessons. But there are some that hopefully most of us learned. One is that we are literally in ‘the same boat’. Remember all the things we have heard about a global crisis affecting us all? Well this was at least in the last 100 years the first crisis that truly affected us all. We all went through lockdowns, shutdowns and quarantines. This was not confined to some part of the world but rather the whole world and these kinds of global events happen very rarely.

So since we are all in ‘the same boat’ we can also conclude that we are truly ‘not alone’. Whether we like it or not, we are a global family. Like all families, we have our moments, our ups and downs but that does not change the fact that we are all one global family.

On an individual level, we have realised that life is a lot vaster and deeper than we thought. Life is not just about money and career. Life is about family, creative talents, relationships, introspection, health, change and adaptability among many other things.

On the global scale remember that 2020 is the year that has brought us both virus and vaccine. So while many got sick and passed on from this physical world, many more recovered and were granted a new lease of life. That is what we need to focus on and celebrate. Darkness came but the light prevailed. 

Now we are in the last week of 2020 so ask yourself the new things you learned about yourself or your loved ones this year. We all need to be thankful for our lives and those in it. Take this moment to realise that even our lost loved ones are still with us but in a different state of existence. Let us thank God for every blessing we have. Have faith in yourself that there are better days ahead. 

The cycle of time is perhaps best symbolised by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Every year we go through this cycle—like a soul that reincarnates through a multiple series of births and deaths. December 31 is generally a day of celebration. But what is being celebrated? The year gone by or the new year coming or both? I would say both.

We look at the experiences we had in one year, introspect and process those learnings and lessons and then apply them in the next year. A lot like the cycle of karma.

We all are human and make mistakes. We all go through cycles of happiness and sadness. We all have moments of companionship and loneliness. We all go through sickness and health and so on. Life is a cycle. Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass. So don’t get attached to individual moments but enjoy them and learn from them.

Apply the lessons that you learned. This is a great time to do new things and form newer and better habits. It is also a great time to look inwards and see the glorious divine light of love inside you. By our positive and creative thoughts, words and deeds we can spread new light upon the world. These do not have to be big things. If we all just do good in our daily lives, in our normal interactions, we will be doing a great service to the spiritual development of the world. Hopefully, that will create a chain reaction or a ripple effect. 

We are living in a very significant spiritual period when we enter into what is called the ‘Age of Aquarius’. On December 21, 2020 the Great Conjunction occurred when Jupiter and Saturn appeared to be in a straight line as seen from earth and this happened in the constellation of Aquarius. It is said that this is the beginning of a new era of spirituality on earth. Let the light of the Divine shine in your hearts and souls and let us celebrate our humanity together. We have come through a challenging period together and should celebrate. 

I wish you and your families a very happy, safe, healthy and insightful new year. 

As we all enter the New Year together, remember that your life is precious and you are here for an important reason: Be God’s love. Be God’s light. The cycle continues. 2021 is about to begin.