Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gong Hei Fat Choy and Happy Valentines Day

Yes it is both Chinese New year, The Year of the Tiger, and Valentines Day. Valentines Day has lost over the years lost what it started out to be. It was a day to remember the martyred “Saint” Valentine. I put the saint in inverted commas because I have real concerns about the idea of sainthood, but I respect those who do believe. That all seems to have got lost in the modern celebration and consumerism has become the name of the game. Shopkeepers love it sales of expensive cards go through the roof. To make sure you can get a bouquet of flowers you have to order well in advance. Strange how nobody seems to think that if it is all anonymous why we don’t just recycle last years cards. OK I know I am being very, very cynical. It is nice that we have set aside a day to think of those that matter dearly to us. To pay some recognition to those who hold a special place in our lives. You will note that I am somewhat reluctant to use the word love. It is a word that is so often used that it has kind of lost all sense of real meaning. We can say we love a beef burger and the same times tell a person we love them. The Greeks had three words that are now often translated as the one word love. The had the words, Eros, Philos and Agape. Eros was the romantic sensual, Philos the relationships we have with friends and family and Agape the kind of love that gives and goes on giving and never seeks anything in return. Now I don’t know where the love of a burger would fit into that but there you go. Can I say I love art? No but I can say I am bound to it and obsessed by it so that is a kind of love I think. So I say to all those who mean something to me, and I hold dear in my life, Happy Valentines Day.

I visited China with a group of students in the year 2000. We had a marvellous time and I so loved the culture and the places I visited. It was a cathartic experience. Being a teacher of world religions I was aware of Buddhism and its teaching and also of Taoism. For the first time though I had considered that maybe there was more to it than just a subject to teach. It has a great benefit because I have the traditional New Year when I can make New Year resolutions then not long after it I have Chinese New Year when I can see how I am progressing and make some adjustments. I get the best of both worlds really.

But as Taoism says every day is a new day and every day has many possibilities to be grasped. Kind of almost like One day at a Time. "Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river." Lao Tse.

So I wish all my friends, “Gong Hei Fat Choy” Happy New Year.

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