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Commemorations of the New Year 2015

| by Victor Cherubim

(January 2, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)
Every New Year, we try to make a fresh start. It is done to take stock of our effectiveness, self-worth, our habits and finances. As we get organised, we aim to rid ourselves of material clutter. We may want to create boundaries and buffers so that others do not drain us, as much as they have in the past. Our priorities may also change. There may be a shift in what we really want, or what really matters.

Powerful shifts in our environment also generate acute stress and inability at work. Oppressive circumstances in our day to day life may put a strain on our health and thus force us to consider new ways of doing things – ways that are more conducive to our freedom and our physical and psychological well being. We may need to relinquish some control of our surroundings to reduce stress and nervous tension.

Lean living

Living lean means the difference between who we are and who we want to be? What we do to make of this shift? How we change our body? The name that comes to mind is Mike Dolce, the patron saint of weight cutting. We are told he has coordinated the high profile weight loss for many of the world’s top athletes. New Year is much to do with staying in shape.

Other resolutions

Looking beyond the yearly fashion, the ebb and flow of resolutions, whether it be “stop smoking”, “drinking less”, “exercise more”, the most important in my mind, is “meditative fitness”.

Meditative fitness

“Settling not only your body but also your mind, let go of tensions, thoughts, worries and all distractions, is another way. By closing our eyes and attending to our breath, we allow ourselves to enter into and dwell on a different world of inner experiences that take us beyond image, to activity, energy and life.”

As Emerson states:” we animate what we can and only see what we animate”.

“We hear the winds while sensing the stillness, we feel the anguish while we distance ourselves and stand apart. The memory image fades and a different force reverberates in us”.

The object of meditation can be a “sense of experience” or “a kind of yoga of the senses”.

Historical perspective of the year 2015

There are some who maintain that the number 15 is a year that resonates. It is a busy year for historians I would say. Why? We commemorate 1450th anniversary of the founding of the Hebrides isle of St. Columba, Iona. In 565, this isle was known as a reputed European monastery that fostered the Celtic tradition of Christianity in Britain.

We commemorate in 2015, the consecration of Westminster Abbey by Edward, the Confessor in 1065, some 950 years ago.

Almost many in Sri Lanka know the Magna Carta of King John in 15 June 1215, some 800 years ago, but few will remember the Great Plague between March to December of 1665, some 350 years ago. The Magna Carta is the 63 part document of human rights, then called “Citizen Rights” that became the foundation of the English legal system.

Historians will, of course remember the many battles that Britain fought. The Battle of Agincourt 1415, The Battle of Waterloo, 1815, also, it is 750 years since Simon de Montfort called the first meeting in the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament). It is 175 years since the Penny Black was issued and Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert; ”Alice and the Adventures in Wonderland,” was published some 150 years ago; The Guinness Book of Records some 60 years ago; the musical, “The Sound of Music” 50 years ago and the Death Penalty abolished 40 years ago.

Why are dates important?
“Dates are important to history because they help chronologically show cause and effect relationships between events. By knowing exactly when things occurred, historians can accurately compare different societies at specific points of time”.

The history of Sri Lanka begins around 30,000 years ago, when the island was first inhabited. The years ending in the number “5” have strangely been important in our recent history.1505 was when the Portuguese first invaded Ceylon.1815 was when the entire nation was under British colonial rule.2015 is the date that we will remember for many years to come.
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