This is a very special time of year because it is the Time of New Beginnings. For me, January signifies the wonder and the excitement and the liberation of "starting over." The Old Year is behind me and the New Year has just begun; the blackboard has been erased, I've got a clean slate.
There's something metaphysical about all that; there's a message in the folds of that experience that comes directly from God. The message is: no matter how badly things may have gone, no matter how bad I may have been, that was `Then' and this is `Now.' A New Day has dawned, a New Moment has arrived. It is the Golden Moment of Now, wherein which all things are possible, all things are forgiven, all things are made new.
They say that February is the Month of Love. If so, then for me January is the Month of Hope. Hope is the first step on the road to Mastery. There are three in all. They are: Hoping, Believing, Knowing.
Hoping starts the process, and January starts the year. Hoping begins the cycle and so does January. The cycle completes itself in December with the ultimate conclusion: the finding within each of us of the Eternal Flame of Chanukah-the light of God that can never and will never be extinguished, because it is Who We Are. The Knowing of this, and thus, the birthing of the Christ within every human soul, is what December's celebrations invite.
This cycle from Hoping to Knowing can complete itself in one year, in one lifetime, or in one moment. It is really all the same to God, who knows nothing of Time because God is Timeless, as is Life, except within our imagination.
And so we are born and we die and we are born again, all in the self-same instant, the Holy Instant, the glorious and ever present Moment of Now, which we stretch out across the breadth of our perception in order that we might expand the Now and thus expand Ourselves, thus to know more of both.
This is the incredible, indescribable miracle of Life, and we have come to mutual agreement in fairly large numbers that January shall be called the endlessly recurring new beginning of this ever present, forever ongoing Process.
So, welcome to January, the Time of Hope. In case you have lost yourself in the drama of it all and have forgotten Who You Are; in case you have come through the last cycle and missed its ultimate conclusion; in case you have made a turn into a corner where it is dark; take heed! The Time of the Light has arrived.
The Eternal Flame has been placed within you. It is you. The Christed One has been born again as you. It is you. And the New Year offers you another chance, another beginning, another start on the journey to self-realization.
I like to use January as a Time of Forgiveness, too. For me it is a Time of Cleansing, when I try as hard as I can to forgive myself my trespasses, even as I forgive those who trespass against me. I am not always successful with that first part. I can forgive others, and believe that I sincerely do. I am not so good at forgiving myself. It seems indulgent somehow; it feels self-serving. And so I have to let go of my thought that it is not okay to serve myself.
It is self-serving to forgive oneself. There's no question about that. The question is not whether it's self-serving, but whether it is okay to be so self-serving. God says that the answer is yes. You must serve yourself to know yourself. Indeed, you cannot know anything without serving it. Service is the experience of Knowing, in action. This is how we come to Know God.
It is how we come to Know Life.
It is how we come, at last, to Know the Self.
Serving God is, of course, Self-service. And this is what we ultimately come to Know. Through the process of serving God, we come to know that we are serving the Self. Through the process of serving the Self, we come to know that we are serving God. And through the wondrous process of serving others, we come to know that we are serving both. The circle completes itself, and we see that the circle has always been, and will always be. There is nothing but the Circle, there is nothing but the Cycle, and it is only a question of where we are, now, on that never-ending revolution of the soul.
We are revolving, and as we experience each revolution we see more clearly that it is a Spiritual Revolution, producing a Spiritual Evolution. We are doing much more than simply "going around in circles" here. For the soul, revolution is evolution.
The Cycle is Eternal, but that does not mean it is getting nowhere. Ever upward the Cycle goes, and one day we see that the Circle is not a circle at all, but a Spiral.
Looked at one way, from a place of perception that sees with no depth, but only on the surface of things, it looks for all the world like a circle. Only when we see into the depth of things, only as our perception grows deeper, do we see that the circle is a spiral.
It is like a Slinky.
Remember the Slinky? What a wonderful childhood toy. Pushed together, crammed together, it looks like a circle. Only when it is expanded does it reveal itself to be a spiral.
And so January, the start of a new Cycle, is a time to expand our consciousness, to grow our awareness, to move from Hoping to Believing to Knowing.
When I find myself reading articles such as this (much less writing them), I find myself, at first, hoping they are true. Hoping that maybe, just maybe, I have chanced upon something that is quite true and quite remarkable and quite helpful and quite different from anything that I understood before, and, therefore, quite valuable to my own growth and expansion and evolution. Yes, I hope this. I see the words here, and I hope.
Then at some point in time I move into believing. I believe they are true. I believe that this is How It Is. I may not be absolutely certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I believe that this is How It Is.
Finally, as I continue on my journey, I come to a place of pure certainty. The Hope which became Belief has become Knowing. I suddenly Know-simply KNOW-that this is How It Is. I know it, because the IT that IS this, I Am. The Perceiver and the Perception have become One. The Creator and the Created have merged. Unification has occurred. We are, I am, All of It is, ONE.
Do you understand what I'm saying here? I sounds like I'm on drugs, right? That's the problem with spiritual clarity. It can be very difficult to share your thoughts with others because you start to sound crazy. People will think you're hopped up. Heck, I look at what I just wrote and I think I'm hopped up.
Yet maybe it's time for just that. Maybe it's time for all of us to hop up to a New Level. To take the next step, to make the next leap-a quantum leap into new understanding, new awareness, a new experience of ourselves and of what it means to be human. Maybe this will be the year in which we do that. And maybe enough of us can do that to make this next 12 months the year that the world itself changed forever. Or at least began to.
What do you say? Want to make this the YEAR of the New Beginning? In the larger cycle, want to make this the time when we first saw, really saw, the Spiral? Okay, then let's begin. Let's start now.
Let's use this onset of the New Year as the onset of the New Self. Let's forget everything we think we know about ourselves, let's forgive everything we think we've done that is "bad," and let's start over, this time recreating ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are-as a species, as an individual, and as an Aspect of Divinity expressing That Which Is.
Remember today that you are not your Yesterdays. Remember today that you are not your weaknesses, not your foibles, not your offenses, not your failures. Remember today Who You Really Are, and claim that.
Happy New Year, everyone. Happy New YOU.
© 2013 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.