How great is it that at least one-fifth of the world celebrates another new year on February 5th? Two new years within six weeks of each other gives me the strength to renew the resolutions I thought about on January 1st and it inspires me to think about other more philosophical things. The Chinese New Year is celebrated once a year at the turn of the Chinese lunisolar calendar; 2019 will be the Year of the Pig (each year is assigned a dominant animal which rotate every twelve years). Commonly known as the ‘Spring Festival’ and traditionally a time to celebrate and honor deities and ancestors, regional and international Chinatown celebrations vary widely. In fact, many customs are practiced – lion dances, fireworks, family meals, visiting relatives, giving red envelopes and decorations. Here are some quotes from Chinese philosophers to help you ring in 2019's New Year!
I really admire this quote as it reminds me of the purity of Self. It’s especially great to remind yourself about ‘being you’ at the beginning of each New Year. The philosopher Lao Tzu (Laozi) was such a great Chinese poet and is most famous for his book, “Tao Te Ching”. He is also the founder of Taoism. Make it a point not to imitate others or be like others - just be true to you! It takes plenty of courage not to compare or compete with others (especially being female, we frequently compare our attributes to those of other women). Reading this quote often will hopefully inspire you to just be beautiful you.
This quote written by an American Chinese philosopher is such a great reminder at the beginning of each new year to look at our lives (and careers) and note the elements of creativity and spontaneity in them. Only with creativity can we remold our personalities into a spiritual vehicle and only with spontaneity can we prevent clinging to the same ways. It takes great courage to go beyond our limits, especially when it comes to artistic endeavors. I challenge you to really think about how you can bring more creativity and spontaneity into your life.
I like this proverb; sometimes I don’t always understand proverbs, particularly when they’re translated literally from their original language, but this is straightforward and easy to comprehend. A new year is often the best time to honor your thoughts or dreams that originated a while back; now’s the time to bring something that you buried back-to-life! The best time really is now…
Written by such a great teacher, philosopher, writer, and politician who existed eons ago, yet Confucius's writings influenced much of the civilization of China and his works are still consulted across the globe today. Simple, yet effective sayings like this one, inspire me to remember just how strong I am, worry less and that wisdom is the right use of knowledge. Remembering just how old sayings like these are help me liberate my mind.
Philosophy can reveal the simple truth about life and it’s no different reading this quote. Today’s interpretation is akin to ‘friends are like the family we never had.’ Mencius was a very famous Chinese philosopher (after Confucius himself), who actually interpreted Confucius’ works. Think of all the friends you have in your life – do they feel to you like the siblings you never had?
This proverb shows me that we are all responsible for our own lives. Even if you have a great mentor, tutor, or someone special that guides you, you are ultimately responsible for everything you do in your life. You are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and ultimate happiness. No one else can think, feel or make you happy. While other people can say something at just the right time, or show us the ‘way;’ at the end of the day, we are all here to experience our own unique paths.
Around New Year’s, I think of letting go of some element that no longer serves me well; think having a clean slate, metaphorically-speaking! If you can let something release, something new will take hold in your life ensuring better things can come together. This quote reinforces that if we can lose our ego and self-made thoughts of what we think we are ought to be, then our true Self (soul) appears.
Much of Chinese philosophy centers on thoughts of self-awareness and sayings that capture the true essence of keeping our lives simple. Which of these quotes resonates the most for you? How will you celebrate 2019’s Chinese New Year? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
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