You can take your birthday simply as a day when other people should pay you some attention, when you get to eat cake without guilt or worry, when you get to sit on your butt when the dishes need doing. But that approach to birthdays often ends in disappointment, because friends and family might not remember it’s your birthday, and even if they do, they probably won’t celebrate you enough to satisfy your need to feel special. Instead, why not take your birthday as a spiritual occasion, a day that reminds you of your decision to remain here on earth?
My former spiritual teacher used to say that on your birthday, your “soul comes to the fore and reaffirms its mission on earth.” I do think he was onto something real. If you pay attention on your birthday, you may notice that you feel more sensitive, more in tune with yourself than usual. Your heart may feel more full. Look in the mirror, and you will see more light in your eyes. Twenty or 40 or 70 years ago, your soul incarnated here on earth. I do believe it chose to come here at that time-- that it came with a special purpose. Your birthday is the anniversary of that auspicious event, of that choice to come into existence on the planet, and it is the perfect time to reassess.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born to a Jewish family five or so decades ago, at sundown on Yom Kippur, the Jewish highest holy day of atonement and forgiveness. According to the Torah, which is like the Jewish Bible, Yom Kippur is “The one day of the year… the day in which the power of One is revealed.” I arrived at sunset, when the atonement ended and the celebrating began. I’ve always felt that I chose that time to give myself a special message, and every year on my birthday I contemplate what that message might be.
And so, every year at my birth time, I take time out to pray and meditate. I pray that my soul will bless me with another year on the planet, and that it will remain at the fore to guide me to live in accordance with my mission here. I meditate to feel the special birthday blessings that seem to descend, every single year without fail, on that day. And also, I take the day as a time to listen to myself—to really listen—and to make choices in accordance to what my inner voice dictates.
If your birthday is coming up, I suggest you go within. Meditate. Pray. Stop expecting the world to shower you with recognition and cake. Instead, give presents to people. Give your presence to people, as well, and to yourself. Take your birthday as your holiest day of the year, a day of sanctity and great blessings. You have been given the gift of existing on earth for another rotation around the sun. There is reason to feel gratitude.
Here is a short prayer you can say on your birthday: “Thank you for giving me another year to behold the beauty of this planet, to connect to the hearts of other beings, to listen and see with wonder and joy. May my own soul and my Higher Power guide my every breath in the year to come.”