Like a great starving beast
My body is quivering
Fixed
On the scent
Of
Light.

Hafiz
Trans. by Daniel Ladinsky

It seems fanciful that a new moon can appear to shimmer.  Yet, about once every eighteen months, there is a radiant glow around a new moon.  It occurs when the two orbs of the moon and the sun seem to mate in the daytime sky, and the moon apparently covers the sun.

I admire the odd and wondrous relationship between this unlikely pair.  They couldn’t be more different in their natures; yet, they have an intimate interconnection, modeling balance and altruism with their unique and vast differences.

The moon is tiny and constantly mobile, whereas the sun is massive—about four hundred times larger than the moon— and ever-steady and luminous.  The moon doesn’t produce its own light, yet its surface readily reflects the sun’s glow into the darkness.

The most enduring human cultures recognize the magnificent power and significance of these two spherical bodies.  They understand that for days and even longer, things can be turned upside-down before and after a solar eclipse.  There can be distressing energies, turbulence, and waves of negativity and misfortune – for all life forms.  They appreciate that a change in the gravitational pull may cause earthquakes and other terrestrial phenomena.

From ancient times, eclipses have been cosmic reminders to us to live with awareness and reverence for the unseen source of all light, i.e., the light behind the light.  The sun has not been just a practical guide for creating a human calendar marking days and nighttime, but also an archetype of the immortal, supreme light and love that holds life.

Poets like Hafiz remind us that light is always there. It will always illumine us, even if we ignore or forget about it, or when we think it has abandoned us in our bleakness. Like the moon, we have the capacity to reflect or eclipse the light, with the former the more normal way of being and the latter, temporary and occasional.

We can either look upward or downward to the glow, to the heavens or to cyber messages.  Both can take us inward, and both can impact how we interact outward.  For my guidance, I choose the more mysterious glow that shines in everyone and in all aspects of life, even when there appears to be total darkness.

Practice
This practice supports awareness of your inner light. 

Prepare— 

  • Invite quietude—Turn your phone to airplane mode and put it aside.  Remove items from your wrists, such as your watch or any non-medical monitor.
  • Sit comfortably—Find a comfortable seated position, either in a chair or on the floor, where your spine is effortlessly upright.  Invite your body to be fully supported by the surface beneath you.  Wiggle around a bit until you sense a feeling of being grounded and maybe even firmly rooted like a tree.
    • If seated in a chair, place the soles of your feet on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor, please place a cushion or a block under them.
  • Invite openness and sense of relaxation in your hands—Give a gentle squeeze to each hand by placing the thumb of the opposite hand on the palm and wrapping the other fingers over the back of the hand, and squeeze.  Then, let your hands rest on your lap in any position that is comfortable.

Practice— 

  • Imagine you are surrounded by a steady, radiant glow of early morning light.  To do this, you might wish to recall a personal experience of being able to pause and absorb the beauty of a sunrise.
    • Invite a sense of this light being gentle, loving and peaceful with no other purpose than to be light; a light that if it had a wish, it would be to nourish, protect, care for and sustain all life in all realms without judgment or ranking.
  • For the next few minutes, imagine there is nothing more to do than just experience being supported by the earth and surrounded by early morning light.   Then:
    • Invite a sense that the immediate environment around you is sparkling with morning light – the area beneath, above and all around you, so that you feel enfolded in light.
    • Slowly, imagine you are soaking in this light through your eyes, skin, hair, soles of your feet, and palms of your hands.  Invite a sense of this soaking to the very core of your being – your heart-center.
  • Lightly touch your fingers of one of your hands to your heart-center.   Pause there.  Invite a feeling of the morning light steadily glowing beneath your fingertips.  As you breath in, the light radiates softly in all directions, like the sun.  As you exhale, the glow feels more rooted and grounded in the core of your being.
    • After a few breaths, silently say to yourself “Light is ever-present” a few times.
  • Bring your palms together in front of your heart-center.  Invite the feeling of the ever-presence of light steadily within you.  Imagine you are sealing in that awareness.
  • With your palms still at your heart-center, come to standing.  Remember the light within you and within your hands.
    • Offering light to the six directions– east, south, west, north, skyward and toward the earth – reach your hands upward into a v-position offering the light from within, and then back to your heart-center.  To make this offering:
      • Begin, by imagining you are facing east offer the light to the east all life in the eastern direction.   Remember to return your palms to your heart-center, receiving the light from the east.
      • Then, take a quarter turn to your right – to the south – facing all that lives in the southern direction.  Remember to return your palms to your heart-center, receiving the light from the south.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 32, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.   This reflection is inspired by “Celestial Light,” pages 235-238, in my book Our Inherited Wisdom: 52 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry.  KateVogt©2024.

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