This is a week of spiritual streams converging in the autumnal equinox and the Jewish New Year beginning Sunday eve. Monday was the time in the earth’s annual cycle around the sun when day and night are equal in length, a moment of perfect balance where the tilt of the earth allows the sun to shine evenly between dark and light. The tilt stays the same, but the planet moves on and on around the sun. After the fall equinox, the northern hemisphere, ‘our’ half of the earth, tips away from the sun, catching its light at an angle. Winter will arrive as we enter this darker half of the year. Our days are noticeably shorter, the hills are golden brown with wildflower stalks and grasses returning to the earth. There’s a chill in the air, reminding us of the mortality of all things.
The ancients saw their inner lives reflected in the turn of the heavens and the change of seasons. After fall harvest came time to turn inward and prepare for winter in a restorative rhythm of rest and stillness before the spiritual renewal of spring. The great temples of the ancient world, Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, Chaco Canyon, Stonehenge, Macchu Picchu, were living calendars, aligned with the solstices and equinoxes.
This movement of the earth and its seasons is emblematic of the continuous changes each of us goes through in our practice – some present moments of loving awareness and grace – followed by an inevitable fall out of balance into distraction, dullness or reactivity. Where do we find our balance in the heart’s seasons when the abundance of summer, the poignant beauty of fall, the peace of winter and the flowering of spring are so achingly transient?
Balance and steadiness can be found in understanding, in awareness itself. We can practice balancing on the way things are with loving awareness, just as they are. We can all take a moment to rejoice in being alive! Go down to the water’s edge and jump in, or simply stand at the sink and splash joy and forgiveness on your life – and live it to the fullest!