Winter Solstice December 21, 2017 REFLECTIONS and MEDITATION

‘I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.’

 –Hafiz, Sufi Poet

Light can enter one’s life through working with difficulty but this newsletter isn’t a downer; hopefully, it’s just the opposite. And the intention, as always, is to inspire, inform and involve engagement with Spirit. I wanted to start with this:  One often hears quoted, it is the crack (or break) of the heart through which the light enters.

To sit with the difficulty without causing suffering to self or to others is to honor the dark and the light in one’s life.

These seem to me to be good meditative contemplations for the shortest day and longest night.  I wanted to write about it today as we enter what I like to call “the great stopping of momentum, the great balance of light and dark–the great silence, the big quiet.”

 Sitting with the difficulties of life, even the difficulties of daily meditation can open us to more light entering our consciousness so that we can benefit ourselves, others and the world.  Let me explain what I mean.

I’m talking about not turning away but rather really bearing the pain, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, without creating further pain for self or another in any way.   Not running from it, suppressing it or becoming angry or frustrated with darkness.  That’s an example of balancing the light and dark in one’s life.  We can be reminded of this type of yin-yang balance during the time of the Winter Solstice.

It isn’t easy to really be with troubles without adding more suffering.  In The Arrow Sutra, the Buddha teaches about how we embellish the pain or difficulty (shooting the second arrow), instead of observing what is actually present:  which is the arising and passing of feelings. So instead of turning away from emotions, turn towards them and watch them pass just the way they have arisen.  In this way, we allow the light of awareness to enter and wisdom to arise.

Practice in Meditation

A simple meditation today, the Winter Solstice, can help us work with balancing light and dark/ease and difficulty.  Here’s what I mean.  Sometimes, we resist emotions or thoughts or discomfort in the body or sleepiness or restlessness during meditation and in doing so, we shoot a second arrow, so-to-speak, and create a story around even these simple experiences in meditation.

OR we may come to the sitting with already-formed goals, intentions or ideas about how the meditation time is going to be experienced.  “I am going to be in a bliss state the whole time, or go floating into the heaven of the cosmos.”  When in actuality, we may feel sleepy, restless or have thoughts of regret or other emotional difficulties arise.

Meditation is a practice for life.  And life is full of darkness as well as light– full of difficulties as well as it’s opposite, freedom,  peace/ease.  Think of yin-yang.

Our world needs people who can stand in the fire or tolerate the difficulty, keep a cool head, not over-react, deal with harsh and hard situations with clarity and wisdom.  Meditation practice trains us to do this. 

The ideal

We don’t quit or run or try to escape –nor do we control or intend any type of outcome when we meditate.  We may have an intention for our meditation practice which is alright but many times if we just allow, and experience, observe, see the mind working while being interested yet not being too controlling, too tense nor too relaxed but  just allowing ourselves to move through the states without judging ourselves as “bad meditators” and without becoming frustrated … if we can uphold these ideals, I think  we can develop the ability to balance the light and dark in our lives too.   Yeah, I know this is an awkwardly phrased paragraph, but you know what I mean, right?

The Winter Solstice is a reminder of all of this . . .

  • of how the depth of our being which is radiant clear light can open up through staying with difficulties
  • of how our core mind, the primal mind, is radiant and clear in nature
  • of how just like the Tibetan Buddhist tradition speaks, a self-existing lamp of wisdom exists within each of us
  •  of how through the difficulties and darkness of life, we are able to access this kind of light or presence
  • of  how we go into the dark in order to be able to see the light
  • of how we are with the difficult in order that we may be able to have more ease

If in meditation we can embrace the unknowing or just allow rather than always trying to control – the unknowing will open up to knowing. Being with the difficult or darkness opens us to light as well as being regenerative and enabling wisdom.

Here is some poetry that expresses these ideas . . . 

“Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.”
–Rumi
*****
Three times my life has opened.
Once, into darkness and rain.
Once, into what the body carries at all times within it and
starts to remember each time it enters the act of love.
Once, into the fire that holds all.
These three were not different.
You will recognize what I am saying or you will not.
But outside my window all day a maple has stepped
from her leaves like a woman in love with winter, dropping
the colored silks.

Neither are we different in what we know.
There is a door. It opens. Then it is closed. But a slip of
light stays, like a scrap of unreadable paper left on the floor,
or the one red leaf the snow releases in March.
–Jane Hirshfield

*****
If each day falls
Inside each night,
There exists a well
Where clarity is imprisoned.
We need to sit on the rim
Of the well of darkness
And fish for fallen light
With patience.
–Pablo Neruda


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Daily Divination 7-29-11 Dispersion; Know Thyself; Enlightenment and Lighten Up with a Smile – I-CHING Kua 59 with Astrology and Tarot Keywords

 A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.

–Carl Jung

Denying one’s own feelings and thoughts is no way to create unity with one’s spirit or have a reunion with higher self. This is similar to shutting down and disconnecting. Is every feeling and thought we have going to be saintly or light-filled? And is it supposed to be? Look around. If we’re human living on planet Earth, probably not every thought and emotion is saint-like; but to suppress or deny what we think or feel is tantamount to separating from ourselves. It also creates a state of living in denial—a false world, an illusion. The religious fundamentals will try to tell us we should only have “pretty thoughts” and anything short is some sort of dirty angel or devil at work or there’s something wrong with us. Yes, there it is, they’d say, we are all imperfect sinners and then they spew their whoopla, which is usually what their preacher told them to say while out evangelizing.

But back to the conditioning that indoctrinates us into an idea that we must always be a particular way—a way in which we deny our own soul. That’s the start of the delusion which left unchecked can lead to a superiority complex or fundamentalism that is dangerous. If we bypass the opportunity for self-reflection that self-acceptance of our thoughts, feelings and tendencies can provide, we close the door to our own self-improvement and evolution and move into the fanaticism realms of life.

When we have a feeling or thought (pretty or not) that comes up, and we allow ourselves to examine it, trace it back to where it began, we can take our first step to healing and true self-improvement (and empowerment)—not suppression or repression.

Whatever is repressed becomes distorted.

I’ve been thinking about all of this today and it wasn’t until now, early evening, that I’ve had the opportunity to do an I-CHING draw. Its Kua 59 called “Dispersion”. It is about dissolving and disintegrating energy through uniting with it and understanding it for the purpose of restoring harmony. Ho! And that’s exactly what I’ve been contemplating today.  My Moon is transiting my 12th House today closely approaching my Mars/Pluto/Saturn stellium — translation:  my mood is very deep and esoteric.  I’m having to dig deeply to attend to this blogging task because almost all of me wants to withdraw, escape and disappear.  🙂  THINK TAROT:  The Hermit.   Moving right along  anyhow….

A  few things came to mind as I typed those last sentences in that paragraph above. One has to do with a smile and the other with some wisdom from Carl Jung who said that we don’t reach enlightenment by envisioning beings of light but rather by bringing light into dark places. That light or knowledge-of-self is able to enlighten; but one has to be fearless and willing to look deeply into one’s self. Yeah, and into those dark places—fearlessly. And when I write the word “dark”, it refers to the places of ignorance or unconscious-ness that self-knowledge can lighten — shed light upon.

That seems to epitomize (to me anyway) the meaning of today’s message inspired from Kua 59/Dispersion. One could say to disperse rather than to repress. To repress is to live a life of delusion; one risks living a distorted life which comes about through an unwillingness to allow and understand one’s own feelings and thoughts in favor of playing a people-pleasing role in order to be accepted.

It makes me think of the planet Mars and the sign it rules, Aries, which is impulsive energy; it learns from its reactions. That archetypical energy evolves through understanding its reactivity. If we don’t allow ourselves to have a reaction and then examine it, how can we possibly ever… ? Well, think of it as the doorway into the unconscious–to the soul.  That’s the message from and the lesson of Mars/Aries.

I’m not supporting a wild idea that we all run around taking everyone’s head off; I’m only suggesting that we not beat ourselves up if we allow the thought or feeling room enough to surface so that we can examine it and learn from it. Besides, sometimes we just need the release—it’s not all that unhealthy once in a while after all.

Another part of this idea of dispersion has to do with lightening up and that’s where that smile that I was thinking of a moment ago comes into play with today’s message. Here’s what I mean and by the way I’m talking about a smile that is sincere, not one stemming from smugness or one that has grown out of a distorted reality or feelings of superiority. I’m talking about one of those ‘home-grown’, down-to-earth, true-to-life types of “I know who you are and I know who I am and I love us both” kind-of-smiles that has nothing whatsoever to do with ego.

Talk about dispersion! When you’ve received one of those smiles from another, you know it and lighten up immediately. This Kua is about lightening up as well as dispersion. The unity of a smile can restore harmony, dissolve divisions and revitalize you, can’t it? How many smiles like that have you given and received lately? Many, I hope! Keep up the good work says Kua 59 of the I-CHING and stay true to that energy within you and others!

That kind of smile comes out of us spontaneously when we know who we are; but we will never know unless we allow ourselves to understand our thoughts, feelings and reactions—something we can’t do unless we allow them. That’s how we grow and evolve and it’s why we’re here in the first place—at least this is my truth for today.  Know Thyself!

THE ASTROLOGICAL AND TAROT ARCHETYPE CORRELATION KEYWORDS FOR KUA 59/DISPERSION

Astrological Keywords

Leo – you are the center of your own universe but avoid forcing your reality onto others; avoid living a theatrical life for the purpose of getting people to like you; avoid the tendency to become the actor in someone else’s creation for the purpose of attention; realize you cannot play god in someone else’s life

Virgo – be willing to “discern” your own thoughts and emotions

Libra – avoid people –pleasing and projecting onto others or allowing others to project onto you

Scorpio – become the psychological detective to your own thoughts and emotions; probe deeply into your thoughts and emotions for the purpose of self-awareness and evolutionary growth

Tarot Keywords

The Magician — employ the power of creative transmutation

The Hermit – reflect on your life experiences; find your answers within

Strength — have the courage to face challenges and face fears; using your inner power

The Tower – this card relates to Mars/Aries (see above); experiencing an inner awakening by releasing old defenses and delusions; being willing to be socially unacceptable in order to be true to self; awakening to one’s inner truth; sudden self-awareness

The Devil (Pan) – looking at self to see where we are not in harmony with nature and natural law; the need to lighten up (Pan) and not be too serious; ability to face one’s self

Wheel of Fortune (Medicine Wheel) — restoring harmony; being natural; bringing spirit into flesh (not separation of spirit and flesh which is a patriarchal christian fundamentalism issue)