Tag Archives: dark

Good and Evil

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I began the day in prayer,
turning it over,
asking God for guidance.
I felt good, knowing
everything would be ok.
The morning sun
gilded every leaf on the trees outside my window
and the autumn sky was a powdery blue
so soft it nearly broke my heart.
I moved and moved and moved more stuff
from my old house into my new.
I worked and worked and worked.
By evening my mind was worn,
my temper was hot
and I didn’t want to do one more thing for anybody.
Then I wondered if the struggle between good and evil,
darkness and light,
was really a stuggle between
the fresh mind of a person newly awakened
and the tired mind of a person ready for sleep…

Retreat Day 4: Ceremony & Solo Circle

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We are heading out
into the desert
after a day of journeying
and ceremony.
We are tired
and here we go again
into the desert
to create a solo circle
and sit alone in the dark.
Our guide told us
Watch how the ego
wants to deny you
a new experience.
Stay with what you’re feeling.
Just stay.
Wish us luck!

Moon Poem, Winter’s Last Embrace, Non-Attachment

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I look for the full moon, but she is hiding behind clouds,
like a queen lazing behind the gauzy curtains encircling her bed,
she refuses to make an appearance.
Her subjects long to see her bright, lovely face
but tonight she ignores their pleas, and won’t lift a single finger.
Cruel queen, shine your light on me.

Are you a prisoner of circumstance?
Do you long to be seen but are kept shrouded from our eyes?
We have no choice, we could not see each other if we tried.
My little hands cannot make the clouds part,
my breath cannot blow away the mountains of snow
looming in my sight.
Little round queen, I will wait for you.

For now I close my eyes and see you glowing in my mind.
My remembrance gives me hope.
Through this cold and cruel winter
I’ll keep warmth in my heart,
and in the golden glow of a candle,
Moon mother, I will sing for you.

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It’s a full moon tonight.  I’ve been teaching moon salutations in my yoga classes in anticipation of this, honoring the cyclical nature of the moon, how she swells to fullness and recedes into darkness over and over again.  Acknowledging that cycles of fullness and emptiness are natural, we learn how to embrace our own moments of fullness and emptiness on all the levels they can manifest.  Right now, I am full of the breath.  Right now, I am empty of the breath.  Fullness and emptiness, giving and receiving, forever.

I often find myself longing to see the bright full moon, shining in all her glory.  I love how she is so bright that her light casts a shadow of the window frame on the carpet of my meditation room.  On such nights, I sit in her light, turning my face up to her, focusing my eyes half open on her glow, and it seems that this light is an endless stream from the heavens all the way to my heart; she beams a divine smile on all those who look upon her.

But I cannot see the moon tonight, for she is concealed behind thick snow clouds.  The sky appears orange in the glow of the city lights. The forecast tells us that as many as six inches of snow will fall tonight, and my heart is sinking–I just want the spring to be here!  I want to see the crocuses and daffodils. I want hyacinths and tulips.  I want to watch the apricot tree blossom,  the sweet puffy white blooms shining against the backdrop of a pure blue sky.  I am sick of winter.

But here is another chance to practice non-attachment.  Enjoy this last bit of winter, feel the cold.  Bundle up.  Leg warmers, scarf, gloves, hat, long down coat, boots.  Pretty soon this will be a memory, and the contrast of the cold of winter held against the warmth of spring will give rise to a more authentic enjoyment of the spring when it arrives in full force.  Non-attachment.  Be okay with what is.  Love what is.  Allow it to be.  Breathe.

When I long to see the moon but she hides behind thick clouds, I feel abandoned.

When I want the warmth of the spring sun yet snow is falling all around, I feel slighted.

If I want happiness, I must awaken to being, and receive this moment as it is…because as Byron Katie says, “Fighting reality hurts, but only 100% of the time.”  I will not fight, because fighting will not help.  I will open my arms wide to the snowflakes, and say, “Come on then!  Come on!”

Breathe in, breathe out.  Fullness, emptiness. Forever.

 

Invincible Summer

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Invincible Summer

“Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”  –Albert Camus

I have seen the above quote translated in many different versions, but here I prefer the most direct translation:

“In the middle of winter, I discovered in me an invincible summer.”

Ahhhh, so beautiful.

It has been doggone cold in Maryland, and it seems like the winter will drag itself all the way into April.  Being cooped up in the house, always having to bundle up before venturing outside, and in general missing the sunshine has really worn my patience and my spirits thin.  So I’ve been thinking about old Albert’s beautiful words a lot lately, so much so that they’ve been running through my head several times an hour, seemingly on their own.

I think about the cold of this winter season, and the drear…how they manifest in the world of form:  ice, snow, bitter winds, nights that are long, the waiting, waiting, and more waiting for warmth, renewed life, renewed vigor.

And then I think about the winter that I have finally begun to face within me–the winter of my self, my spirit–and how this inner winter has manifested in my life:  darkness, loneliness, anger, resentment, rage, hopelessness, depression, doubt, envy, lack of motivation, holding on to things past their time because of a fear of letting go.  As I write these words, it seems to me on one hand as if I may never be fully  prepared to face the challenge of freeing myself from the bondage of my past, my conditioning, my genetic inheritance, and the choices I have made that haunt me.  On the other hand, it strikes me that I can greet this inner winter the same way I handle the outer one–I have no control over it, might as well be patient until the right conditions arise and things change naturally, of their own accord, when the time is right.

The yoga teacher in me seeks the balance that can be found between the two extremes of fighting to change and waiting for change.  Somewhere in there is Lorien, who can wake up and realize that she is doing the best she can, and know that it is enough to attend to the small details of childrearing, to navigate being in a marriage, to show up for work and pour her heart into teaching her students, and somehow manage to carve out time for self-exploration in the midst of all of her roles and responsibilities.

I want to believe that this process of realizing the awakened self in me can be just as natural as a flower opening in the light of the sun.  Just for this moment, I do believe it can be like this.  I can drop the ideas of pain and limitation, of toil and struggle and torment, and just let myself be who I am right now.  This knowing is the invincible summer in the midst of the seemingly endless winter.  No matter how much I am challenged by my doubts, fears, and regrets, and no matter how many beatings I may take from my inner critic, there is some wise part in me that holds my tenderest self with so much love and compassion that I know I have nothing to fear.  May I listen more and more to that wise part.

May I have the courage, strength, and endurance to do what needs to be done. And may I have the patience to allow the blossom of my true nature to unfurl when the time is right.

Note:  The picture of the blossom below was taken two days ago.  It’s a pomegranate bloom from one of my husband’s carefully tended banzai.  Such a cheerful sight in the middle of winter!

The flower of consciousness does not fade or wither, but grows more beautiful as time passes.

The flower of consciousness does not fade or wither, but grows more beautiful as time passes.