“If your mind isn’t cluttered with useless things, this is the best season of your life.”
The spring equinox is the time in the earth’s annual cycle around the sun in which day and night are equal in length, a moment of perfect balance – the darker half of the year on one side and the light half of the year on the other. Our days are longer now, buds spring forth from ‘dead’ branches, wildflowers and grasses are reborn, resurrected from the earth. Many great temples of the ancient world, Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, the Great Sphinx in Giza, align with the spring equinox. From ancient times, spring symbolizes new life and spiritual realization.
Spring equinox, fall equinox, the movement of the seasons is emblematic of what each of us goes through in our practice – a perfect moment of poised and mindful presence – followed by the inevitable fall out of balance. Sometimes it seems that having a mindfulness practice encourages the very mistakes it’s supposed to free us from! Like judging ourselves in terms of right and wrong ways to be, in terms of external standards to meet. Only now it’s “am I being mindful enough? kind enough? Measuring up?”. Where can we find our balance when each season of life is so achingly transient?
Even when we wish we could, we just don’t stay the same.
When we use the teachings to help us see how this is true, to understand rather than to judge, we can find our balance — in the understanding, in awareness itself. We study our life with loving awareness. We practice balancing on the way things are, just as they are.
We’re not practicing to transcend and get away into some other state or place – that’s just attachment and aversion dancing, cheek to cheek. Don’t judge yourself. Joy and frustration, worry and trust each comes in its season. We practice to be present for today’s states of mind and this particular spring with its heat and blossoms, never to come again. In Zen they say, “If your mind isn’t cluttered with useless things, this is the best season of your life.” (italics mine)
Image Credit: T. Goodman