Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year.
This year the Solstice also coincides the end of the Mayan calendar (cue a slew of gags about the end of the world – like this one…) I like to think that what this really signifies is a move into a new, more conscious age.
The Winter Solstice is a time that provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months and set intentions for the coming year.
When I think about where I was this time last year so much has happened. 2012 has had its high points but I know that for many of us it has been a tumultuous year with its fair share of darkness. One of my lessons this year has been around learning to embrace those times, to understand that darkness itself isn’t bad or a thing to fight against. As a place where lots of good things emerge from, it’s necessary. Things are ever changing, but when we’re in the midst of those darker times it can feel as though we’re trapped. And it can be easy to forget the light within – the light each of us possesses.
Visoka va Jyotismati
Visoka – blissful
va – or
jyotismati – the supreme light
I’ve been thinking about this sutra recently and it feels very apt at this time of year. It speaks about the light that resides within each of us – within the heart centre – and reminds us to concentrate on that inner light which is beyond all fear and worry.
On this shortest day, why not take a little time to acknowledge where you’ve been this year, looking upon yourself with compassion? If you decide you’d like to set an intention for the next twelve months then this is a great time to look inward and ask yourself what it is you really want. And beyond today, as we move through the Christmas season – possibly being confronted with the odd bit of seasonal stress here and there – you could try this simple meditation. In the spirit of sutra 1.36, I’ve started doing this in the run up to Christmas and have found it helpful (especially on packed rush hour tube trains!). Maybe you will too. Give this a try whenever you feel stressed, anxious or unsettled:
– Take your awareness to your heart centre. Visualise a light there, glowing radiantly.
– Stay here, focusing on this inner light for as long as you can, even if it’s just a minute. Feel that light expanding, radiating throughout your body, until you are filled up with this light. Then feel your light expanding further, outwards into the space around you.
– Don’t be surprised to notice that your breathing has become slower and more steady – a good sign!
And, if by chance the short winter days are still getting you down, then take heart that after today we’ll start to notice the days gradually getting longer again. So, there are brighter days ahead – in more ways than one!