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 partially obscures the sun.

I admire the odd and wondrous relationship between this unlikely pair. They couldn’t be more different in their natures. 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. Still, they have an intimate inter-connection, and model balance and altruism despite their unique and vast differences.

The sun, even with its center-stage prominence in the solar system, freely offers warmth and light to all. In some cultures and religions, the sun’s radiance is an archetype of the immortal, supreme light and love that holds life.  And, the moon is its partner, reflecting light into the nighttime. It helps stabilize the earth’s rotation and regulate our tides.  Together, they provide us with energy, illumination, inspiration, and our sense of the passing of time.

Ancients recognized the magnificent power and significance of these two spherical bodies. Nowadays, we need a cosmic jolt to renew the awe of our raw link to them and the rest of life. When the dark moon covers the sun, it is like a power outage, especially in the locations where an eclipse will be visible.

For days, and some human lore says for months, things can be turned upside-down before and after a solar eclipse. There can be distressing energies, turbulence, and waves of negativity and misfortune. Plants, animals, humans and the elements can be affected. The change in the gravitational pull may cause earthquakes and other terrestrial phenomena. We may feel forced to leap into the new. Still, all is not gloomy with an eclipse; the sun reveals its radiant presence by giving the moon a glimmering appearance.

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 a more normal way of being and the latter, temporary and occasional.

In our daily lives, the orbs in the sky are always there—day and night—inviting us to remember our own inner luminosity steadily shining, even during the eclipses of life.   And, with that remembrance is an awareness of our endless capacity of generosity, reciprocity, equanimity, and all other loving qualities of light.

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.
      • However, if you know you only have a set amount of time, please feel free to use an alarm.
    • Sit comfortably—Come to a seated position, either in a chair or on the floor, where your spine is effortlessly upright.
      • 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.
    • Relax 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 the hands relax on your lap in any position that is comfortable.
    • Relax your eyes and face—Either close your eyelids or have them open. If open, let your eyes rest in a soft, gentle gaze. Relax your forehead, jaw, and chin.

Practice—

  • Imagine a steady, radiant glow of light similar to that of the early morning or late day sun. Imagine that with that light, there is an overwhelming presence of well-being, protection, and love.
  • Sequentially, imagine that the building that you are in is infused with light—every wall, ceiling, floor, window, and door, as well as the roof and foundation.
    • the room you are in is made of light.
    • the cushion or chair that you are seated on is made of light.
    • you are bathed and enfolded in light.
    • you are luminous…you are the steady, radiant glow of light.
    • there is only light.
      • Note: You may wish to open your eyes, silently read a line, e.g., “the building…,” and then sit quietly imagining that layer before moving to the next line.
      • Follow your pace of awareness. Savor the light.

Transition Back into Your Day—

  • If your eyes were closed, slowly open them.
  • Allow the awareness of your breath to seep in. Notice the gentle movement of the chest and ribs associated with the breath.
  • After several breaths, slowly lower your chin to your chest and rock your head from side to side in half-circles. Shrug through your shoulders. Stretch through your palms and squeeze your hands. Before standing up, stretch through your toes and feet.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

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 post is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom:  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry.  KateVogt©2021.

If you are interested in exploring more about an perspective on the interweaving of our mind, senses, and our inner orientation to life, please consider joining me in my virtual community education class “Path to Quietude” starting June 17 for 5 Thursdays.  Register before June 14, 2021.

 

 

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