Return to the Light

As I write this, we mark the winter solstice of the solar year. It is a time to observe a return of the light, the beginning of increased daylight hours. Ancient cultures developed a wide variety of rituals to celebrate this auspicious moment. I tend to see it as a symbolic mirror to the the light of my own awareness.

Seasonal change reflects the movement of mind when we sleep. Think of our day as spring, summer, and fall. When we fall asleep, we enter the darkness of winter. All seasons of our day drop away—thoughts cease for a moment, and we can behold the light behind them. As dreamlike winter begins, the light returns. If we recognize this and remain with that awareness, we behold the pristine nature of our original mind.

But we are often plagued by unresolved issues and things we need to process. So we move from the light into the shadow of dream. Nevertheless, shadows are cast by light, so the dream is still inseparable from luminous clarity. The only difference in our experience of dark and light is whether we recognize this inseparability—or not. 

Each waking moment also mirrors this process. Our mind radiates as thought and form, just like a year hosts the sun cycle and changing seasons. Our practice is to rest in the spacious light of awareness while experiencing impermanence and change. This way, clear light permeates all our experiences and we realize the luminosity of love and compassion never changes.

May we always remember the clear light of love, even in the darkness of our symbolic winters. For everything there is a season… 

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