Oscar Wilde once wrote that “good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
Sorry, Oscar, I disagree. There is an account and it belongs to all of us and it is abundant; no, not just abundant, even more—it is bottomless.
The bank is an infinite resource awaiting our withdrawals in any amounts: joy, kindness, compassion, empathy, energy, astuteness, clarity, focus, patience, balance, peacefulness—you name it, it is there for the taking. We can fulfill each and every resolution made for 2018 by regular withdrawals from this bank.
This bank is not online nor do you have to stand in line. It’s closer than your fingertips. You can sign up at this moment! After all, there is no cosmic sign in the night sky on December 31st heralding a change to a new year. It is the same as every night, offering us a pause in our focus before sleep comes, when we may think purely, and resolve to live the next day on a higher platform.
Stepping onto this loftier platform is easier than you might suspect. Being resolved doesn’t require tremendous commitment or will-power any more than a seed needs resolve to grow into a fully realized blossom. It does, however, need fertile ground in which to grow.
Maybe your resolution is something you’ve been thinking about for a while. Your thought is a subtle impulse within your mind. More fundamental in your experience than the thinking level is what underlies thought: it is called “Being”, or consciousness, the mind in its pure restful state. And this pure state is not just your mind’s most fundamental level—It is the same as nature’s ground state of infinite potentiality from which all creation is created. It necessarily has all the building blocks of building a universe within it—infinite energy, intelligence, creativity and organizing power. At this level, any intention can set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. By settling down to that most silent level, your mind will be strengthened, and resolutions will have their strongest basis.
In our analogy of the seed, consciousness—this infinite field of potential within everything, including one’s own mind—is the fertile soil. An intention or resolution is a directed impulse in consciousness that contains our goal in seed form. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow unless the field is “plowed.” How do we plow consciousness? By fathoming it with our attention regularly, systematically, like turning soil with a shovel. This is what happens during the Transcendental Meditation technique. One experiences thought systematically and effortlessly at subtler levels of activity and then the mind disengages from thought and rests in its own silent, settled, calm, collected state.
At the same time as the mind is becoming more rested, the body—which always works in coordination with the mind—starts to relax until it arrives at a state of deep rest. In this state of rest, stress and fatigue that have been accumulated begin to dissolve, leaving us more healthy, energetic, and dynamic—capable of fulfilling our resolutions. Resolved to exercise more? The TM practice leaves you energized with more stamina. Resolved to eat a healthier diet? TM reduces impulsivity, fatigue, stress and other issues that leave you at risk for compulsive or thoughtless eating habits. Resolved to get along more harmoniously with family or work associates? Research shows that the TM technique improves relationships as it reduces your stress. And so on… .
Maybe your one resolution this year—it’s not too late—can be to develop your potential as an individual. And all the changes will evolve more naturally, without strain. If Oscar Wilde had known about this, he would have likely been a bit more optimistic.
Happy New Year!
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the U.S.