Saturday, 4 January 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Janus is the Roman god after whom January is named. He has two faces, which enables him to look backwards and forwards. January and Janus are also connected to the Latin word ianua, which means door. Janus represents the threshold, the space between past and future. Perhaps for that reason he holds the key to heaven (source: Wikipedia).

Image by AndrĂ© Koekemoer:
While we associate the crossing of the border between “old time” and “new time” with New Year ’s Eve, it is needless to say that this date is arbitrary. Repeating it every year keeps us stuck in the linear concept of time, where all things ironically repeat themselves in endless cycles. We are never completely in the present unless we let go of everything, because the present is too hard to define.

The consciousness associated with Janus teaches of the potential that can be found in the threshold. It encompasses more than the passage between the old year and the new, because each moment is actually the gap between the past and the present. Janus is always present to offer us the key to change. Without the past and the future to define the present, the gap is empty. Since everything is only present, everything is actually nothing. In this gap we can simply be, which provides the fastest tool for creation. It is from this empty space that new things come into the world.

Nothing is actually anything unless we give it meaning or purpose. As far as identity of anything is concerned, we only have ideas of things, which will never be completely accurate is to what the thing is. That means that we cannot actually know anything, not even ourselves. This is incredibly liberating because it means all our past ideas of ourselves are erroneous, which leaves the empty space to define ourselves. When we recognise this, consciousness expands.

If I draw the head of Janus on a flat piece of paper, he looks left and right, but I decide which one is past or future. In the in between gap in 3d space-time, Janus’ forward face can look in any direction, making it the future. Conversely, his other face will face in the opposite direction, making it the past. This opens up a myriad of possibilities, precisely why the in between space offers so much creative potential.

Since this time of the year is one of taking stock to see whether we are on track, I might as well share my personal insights. A week or so ago I thought of the same period last year and the place I was back then. Things look very different now, in a good way. This time last year I felt disconnected from purpose. I had strong doubts about the road I had chosen and felt like none of my efforts were paying off. I then had a very powerful reading with someone that confirmed that I was on track, regardless of appearances. Nevertheless, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to see through the next seven months. This year I am pleased to say that while I know the next few months will be demanding, I feel confident that I will be able to cope with it. A few things I have picked up along the way that have proved to be valuable follow.

1. I have been making the right choices all along.
Obviously I have made many mistakes too. But as far as the big decisions are concerned, I usually went with my gut, which turned out to be the right way. Just doing your best is usually enough. A decade or so ago I made a very impulsive decision when I was in a really bad place emotionally. I have at times had my doubts when I wasn’t able to see the fruits of my efforts. Looking back, it was the best decision I have ever made. I gravitated towards what I enjoyed and what resonated with me, regardless of what others considered to be valid. There is no better reward than a life that is more interesting because of one’s choices.

2. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.
I have learned to say thank you and appreciate the small good things as it truly brings more of the experience. We have been conditioned to focus on scarcity to such an extent that we start thinking the abundant things are unimportant. The good moments that come from nowhere are actually important. You might notice that as you pay more attention to them, the world where lack reigns drifts to the background. Don’t worry about it. The real world is not out there, but in here.

3. What others tell you is important, is not. What you feel is important, is.
If anybody wants to tell you what is important then more often than not it is because it is in their interest that you believe them. You might not be endorsed if you go with your own standards, but it’s your life so you have to take charge. In the end, death will also be yours. You are the one who has the responsibility of making your life worthwhile.

4. Doing what you enjoy makes a world of difference.
The minute I started doing things I enjoy more often, the doors started opening in the strangest of places. Try it, even if it’s just an hour a day. I can’t say that I have everything figured out or that I’m even close to success, but at least I’m getting more of what I love into my life. That in itself is already major reward.

5. Sometimes karmic debt needs to be paid.
It sounds like punishment, but it’s not. It’s an opportunity to learn from your mistakes so you can do it better next time. Paying karmic debt sets you free. Once you forgive another person, what they have done to you no longer has power over your well-being. It is also an opportunity to forgive yourself for what you have done to others and clear the effects of the cycle.

If you would like to share what you have learned looking back and forward, please feel free to comment.