Well, now today, in the solar calendar, I am beginning day one of the 58th year in this lifetime. I've always been a late bloomer, a slow reader, etc., but once I get it, I get it deep.
I felt as I woke at 5am, that this coming year was going to be the year of the true realization of my purpose here on Mother Earth before I pass on. I feel strongly that this purpose will, in some specific way, increase my ability to love all (to desire lasting happiness for all), to increase my compassion (wanting to relieve the suffering of another) to that of Great Compassion (or "Bodhichitta", the desire to relieve the suffering of all other sentient ((conscious)) beings), and finally to increase Wisdom ( the "Wisdom of Realizing Emptiness", i.e., the direct experience that this realm is just a dream, to put it crudely . . . and that "I" am like a drop of water in an ocean: flowing together with all of existence, and interdependent with all other drops of water just like "myself", in a mysterious and extremely complicated process of cause and effect . . . like billions of dominoes). I very crudely and intellectually am only beginning to understand this concept (that is not a concept) after more than 10 years of studying and receiving teachings and initiations in Tibetan Buddhism.
To put it more simply, I don't applaud myself on this day; the praise is due to all others who have brought me to this place of leisure and fortune, where I live better than 99.99999% of the world's population. If I had not been nurtured by my mother and father as a vulnerable child and a person experiencing the dire consequences of being unable to conform to the culture into which I was born, how could I have survived to this ripe age? If I did not have the loving bonds with my brothers and sisters and son and daughter-in-law, to whom would I have turned when in need? If I did not have the precious friendships of like-minded people, how would I have learned what real kindness is?
All of them have taught me patience, perseverance, morality, generosity, mental concentration (focus), and wisdom.
It boggles my mind that I am being celebrated, toasted to, given gifts, thought of, when all of them, as well as all of the creatures of the earth and the fruits of the earth, brought me to this current prosperity and well-being which has allowed me to develop my chosen spirituality, hence giving me the slimmest chance of attaining the Ultimate: true lasting happiness. How can I ever repay such kindness? The irony of such a day seems to me now, an odd practice, yet, because I love them all, I will humbly respect and participate in the ritual. Yet, in my heart, I toast them all with a bubbly glass of pure water and luscious lime.