It's 2017. The reincarnation of Ramses II (according to Rama) is in the White House, meaning we now have a world leader who has a penchant for building grandiose things, believing himself to be the god of all, surrounding himself with corrupt courtiers, marrying hundreds of wives as well as his own daughters and other unimaginably horrible things.
It helps if you know what you are up against.
The essence of inernal change -- no matter what external circumstances are playing out -- is meditation, whether strengthening your practice or starting for the first time. Meditation means stopping thought. When thought stops, the world stops and changes -- you see more correctly and a new depth and power enters your life, in any circumstance. For tips on meditation, see the Rama Meditation Society meditation suggestions. Rama created music for meditation and it really works. You can use the notes of the music for meditation -- focus on one note at a time until you find thought stopping. Then just listen to the music in stillness. I like meditating to Mandala of Light.
In addition to meditation, mindfulness is the other essential aspect of continuing to grow towards light during darker times. Mindfulness means not slipping into emotions that are considered poisons in Buddhism -- anger, jealousy and greed. These are emotions that will trash your awareness no matter how high and happy you felt the moment before these emotions arose. Using mindfulness, you set up an inner alert system that triggers a response -- you feel anger arising and stop it at its root. You feel jealousy arising, you cut it off at the source. Having a strong meditation practice will help you witness negative emotions as they arise in your mind. As a witness, you then have a choice not to be sucked into the vortex.
Feelings of helplessness can lead to anger. Riding your bicycle along a bike path and a pet owner lets their leashed dog dash in front of you -- this can lead to anger. Feeling you are RIGHT and someone else is WRONG can lead to anger. Being cut off in highway traffic can create a sudden swell of anger, the list is endless, but the issue is the same. Anger is a toxic emotion that drains your energy and the energy and life force of others. You will lose the path and the merit of your meditation practice if you indulge in it. The conscious resolve to practice mindfulness will allow you to stop the emotional poisons that will take you out in rough times, and turn those same times into a path of success and greater realizations and insight.
Rama employed a saying: "When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade."
The reincarnation of Ramses II in the White House? Who could have predicted something so destructive? But inner light is still achievable and available, and the need is more apparent than ever. Now is the time to buff and/or start the meditation practice and simply glow.
Happy New Year, 2017!