All this month we have been exploring how the spiritual qualities of Advent relate to the practice of Open-Mindedness. We’ve come to understand that Open-mindedness is all about forgiveness and acquired by us through our practice of non-judgment. Our inner experiences and outer expressions of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy naturally cause us to be more open-minded, more accepting and tolerant of others and more receptive to new ideas about our self and life.

With Advent behind us and a New Year before us with all its symbolic promise of positive change, let us explore how the ritual of “the burning bowl” can give us an extra boost in our practice of open-mindedness:

As we symbolically “release and let go” of a particular negative habit of thought, a limiting self-concept or attitude toward life, we clear our mind of some of barriers to our Good that our judgments have built there. As we clear some space in our awareness, we find we’re more mentally open to receive the Good in life.

Life doesn’t happen to us. It happens through us, through our mental and emotional direction. If it seems that we’ve been unable to call to us the “good things” we desire to experience in our life; if it seems that no matter how hard we pray those good things still don’t come our way; it is likely our thoughts have created a mental barrier against our Good, and we’re directly It elsewhere!

The ritual of the burning bowl can be helpful as we see a particular negative habit of thought go up flames. It can be, if we intend it to be, a sign of our willingness to deliberately direct our thoughts. If positive intention is present within us as we participate in the burning bowl ceremony, we cannot fail to experience more open-mindedness (and less “judgmentalness”) that will enrich our life every day, in every way, in the new year.

A Course in Miracles tells us that judgement and Love are opposites. As we consciously “release and let go” of judgment, we ignite the fire and passion of Love within us in such a powerful way, we discover that no matter what may be happening in any given moment, if a negative thought arises in us it seems to spontaneously combust and turn to ash before it becomes a word or action.

There is an ease to living with the freedom and awareness that we, alone, are responsible for our responses to life. That we can choose our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. We are the creators of our experience of life on Earth, not victims of a world outside us that is creating it for us.

As we release a particular habit of thought, we want to be clear about the goal we would achieve through the letting go. There are two parts to the burning bowl ceremony: letting go of what we don’t what and allowing what we do want to enter our mind and take form and expression in our life.

If we actually let go of a negative concept of our self or another, if we truly release a judgment that has been holding our dreams hostage, our desires can begin to take form and expression.

dIf what we experience this past year isn’t what we want to experience in 2019, today is the perfect day for us to state what we DO want to experience and begin to focus our attention on it.

The moment we decide we’ll no longer let some negative, limiting idea of our self hold us back. The moment we decide we don’t need to please society or our family, friends or boss. The moment we decide to stop blaming (whoever and whatever) for our unhappiness and decide to just be happy. The moment we stop looking around us and start listening to the Voice within us that is always telling us, “Let it go.” We will discover we’ve had the power all along to be so much more, and to experience so much more, than we’ve allowed our self to be and experience so far.

It is natural for our mind to be open and clear, for our emotions to be calm and forgiving, and for our body to feel the Good that naturally flows our way. We can begin today to clear the way for that Flow of Good.

If you were not with us at The Life Enrichment Center, I invite you to listen to the podcast and perform your own ritual of release by following along during the Burning Bowl portion of the recording. Happy New Year!