Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, festivals
Measure our progress on the path.
How old are you? Have you made a life you can look back on and be satisfied?
How long have you been practicing your devotions? Can you look back on years of unbroken progress?
How long has it been since a significant world event? Has the world gone any further in creating collective good?
Is today a day of celebration? How much have you done since the last holiday?
Each day of measure is a milestone on the path. If you are just beginning on the path, then it is good to determinedly look forward to the day when you can look back on a year, a decade, or many decades of perseverance. If you are today standing on the vantage point of some anniversary, then count the time that you have maintained your progress and be glad.
Those who follow Tao do not celebrate their birthdays, do not mark the anniversary of their embarking on the path. They say that following Tao is one continuous flow, not to be violated by the calendar. They are like hikers who wander, not worrying about the road, not concerned about distance or time. The rest of us have not yet attained that level of pure spontaneity. For we who are still struggling to maintain a foothold on the path, it is profitable to look forward to passing milestones as a way of encouraging ourselves and measuring our progress.