New Year

How big and beautiful Are the hearts of those Who put first, The welfare of others - Yes, even before their own.

I am doing my best In my desire to fulfill The needs and wants Of all of humanity, And to make others happy.

Know that the happiness Which we feel when we bring joy And make others happy, Is a greater happiness Than any other on earth. ~Meishu-sama

This poem is a timely reminder at the start of a new year. Meishu-sama's teachings remind us that the spiritual element of fire has been on the ascendency, since before the mid-20th century. The current devastating wildfires in Australia seem to be a physical reminder of this prophecy in a land that is geographically located to greet a new year before other countries. We pray for those that are suffering in the face of this devastation. The volunteers who are helping their communities facing these real and immediate dangers are examples of altruism and selflessness illustrated in the words of the poem.

The world witnessed similar heroic acts throughout 2019 – both here in America and abroad – as divisiveness, economic inequality, environmental disasters and the corrosive damage caused by racial, religious and ideological intolerance, continues to oppose the best in humanity. We cannot control what others choose to do or force them to change their ways. Therefore, it is vital to synchronize our hearts and remain in harmony with the guidance found in the teachings.

The message that Meishu-sama shared with his followers during the inauguration of his first organization on January 1, 1935, holds true 75 years later in 2020. When he spoke about creating a prototype of paradise, he said that it has to start with the individual.

“When the individual is helped and perfected, then by extension the world may be helped and made whole. Accordingly, the first emphasis must be on helping and perfecting the individual. For example, if one takes a single family as a model of the world, when the family achieves a paradise like state and is helped, so too may the whole world be helped."

Meishu-sama instilled a progressive approach in the movement he started as expressed in this Japanese expression - daijo - meaning flexible and inclusive. The world is changing at a great pace, as are attitudes about faith and religious practices. Change is inevitable. The beginning of the new year offers the opportunity to shed the “old leaves” to allow for new growth. There is a Japanese expression – sanka ketsu jitsu. A close translation means “After blossoms fall, new growth.” The new seeds cannot be exposed to the light without the blossoms giving way.

Let us seek to begin the year by starting with ourselves and choosing to shed judgments, prejudices and old ways of thinking. Let us to incorporate a consciousness to eliminate the warring nature in the human heart. Meishu-sama said that despite all its glorious scientific and material achievements, humankind would remain in a half-civilized, half-barbaric state, if we fail to achieve progress in spirit. He said that the limitation of the efficacy of laws was because of inattention to spiritual or universal laws and continued focus on man-made “isms.”

“God has endowed each human being with special talents and capabilities, so his individual mission can be performed successfully. He has caused each one to be born and reborn countless times, to live again and again in the physical world so he may move forward toward the ultimate goal of perfection. All things and all events - good and evil, peace and war, creation and destruction - are part of the movement toward this goal, a necessary part of evolution.” ~ The Strata in The Spiritual World. Foundation of Paradise.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and productive 2020!