Sunlight and Shadow
The days are getting shorter and shorter making mornings thicker and thicker with the strange sort of subtle energy they hold. I take in the grainy sights of the falling leaves and the mountains over the lake every morning. The very same mountains that seem as though someone grabbed hold of them, tipped them upside-down, and smushed their tops into icing sugar before righting them again. The trees act like wire bristles, holding the snow that has found a permanent home now with the weather impersonating winters I’ve experienced in the past. There’s a distinct line where the snow holds. I’m still well below that line though the first snow came today. I watched it from my window falling peacefully in large clumps as wave after wave of sad news came today. An empty desk across from mine greeted me as I learned someone’s grandmother had died. A dear friend’s father who’d had a heart attack a couple of days ago died. A Swami, currently in Spokane had a mini-stroke. Another Swami received an unexpectedly serious diagnosis. I sat alone in my office, hearing these pieces of information and watching the snow fall.
The day wasn’t all sad and heavy. I also got to witness the love of a mother and daughter with a silent comforting language weaving between their eyes as they replaced the batteries in a medical device. Reassurance that all was well or, at least, as well as it could be given the circumstances of her serious condition and her sister’s death a few days ago.
How do I find the Light and space in days and situations like these? How do I make sure I see it? It’s in there somewhere; that I know. But only if I take the time to really notice it will I be spared from the heart-wrenching ache I feel in times like this. Death. The great equalizer. It really puts things into perspective. The petty drama caused by a few unexpected departures cause a stir but is it really worth using our energy discussing when there are greater things at hand? I choose to feel this denseness and then, when all has been expressed and passed through, lift up my heart and face another moment.
Thoughts on death have been churning in my mind but even before all this I had a dream someone had committed suicide. A bullet to the head. I wasn’t really that concerned despite being directly confronted with the gory details. What in me has died? I walk into my room the next evening and glance on the floor; a gun I had drawn on my Life Seal, the symbol representing violence – something I dislike-had fallen to the floor. A kind of internal, self-violence has certainly died. The more I get to know people here who have dedicated their lives to their spiritual work the more I feel gratitude for their love. It’s not shown in culturally specific ways, it’s shown in complete acceptance of me. I take that example and apply it to myself, offering myself my own love, gratitude and acceptance. The violence of judgment and wanting to force myself to change can be over as I replace my internal habits and patterns with new things, with Light. And so it goes. Dark symbols can appear as shadows but turning once I see the cause of the shadow is Light.
I’ve done a sort of shifting of my focus lately. I want to be more active in creating my own inner strength and less concerned with the goings-on of others. Even just placing that intention into the ether makes it so.
I’ve been reading Swami Sivananda’s “Concentration and Meditation”. It’s been wonderful in both his straight, directive way of saying things as well as the more subtle messages it holds for me. Subsequently I’ve been spending more time meditating or, at least, what I have come to know as meditation according to Pantanjali: having one-pointedness of mind. Somewhere in my past was this idea that meditation is having no thoughts in my mind. But how would that even be possible? What would be going on? I have one experience in my entire life of that kind of meditation. I was in Petra, “On Top of the World” as the handmade sign had said, scrawled in messy writing leading me to this awesome view. I was alone and thought it might be some ploy to bring me away from the masses of tourists and to someone’s shop. Turns out it really was to the top of the world. I rounded the corner of a high cliff, a few more metres after hiking up three kilometres to the ancient monastery really wasn’t that much. The vista opened up and I found a spot to sit as I began to look. I simply looked. I don’t think I even remembered to breathe. I know I’ve mentioned this experience before as it had such an impact on me. My eyes scanned the mountains across from me and reached out to the desert behind an opening between them. There was simply not a thought in my head. I ‘came to’ shortly after and wondered what had happened; I’d never had that kind of experience before. Attempts to recreate it have not had results.
In a recent meditation I was ruminating over the meaning of my life and what it is that I want to do with it. A vision and a feeling flashed into my awareness of me sitting and taking in a vast expanse of mountains. That’s what I want to do; I want to enjoy the splendour of nature. That’s what I already do as I pause and look out across Kootenay Lake or the full moon shining brightly in the sky. All I want is to be present in the moments I am able to commune with nature. This simply request is easily fulfilled by the life I am choosing to live right now and for that I am grateful.