As darkness drips into the daytime, nature shuts up and shuts down. Bird song is the last to leave just before winter’s solstice. Despite the turmoil in the clouds, lowering ones eyes, coming to a full stop and turning inward is the only way to go.
It is today the day that entertainment is abundant. People never ever have to be all by themselves. They switch on something and BOOM … their attention soars outward again. One is not alone if one doesn’t want to be alone. Being bored is impossible. Having to spend time all by yourself, with yourself, has become avoidable. And, dear
&#Deity;, what we would give to avoid being with just our selves any length of time.
Yet, nature in winter shows us the way it is done and the reason why we should follow its example. Being just with yourself. Everything frozen to a halt. Steam where no water boils. Silence where no sound can penetrate. Cold where warmth has lost its purpose. Darkness where light would only blind.
I believe any spiritual tradition has this space and purpose for contemplation. Prayer, I believe, has this function. A true prayer looks at one self. Does not beg, does not plead, but reflects on ones own thoughts, beliefs, actions and non-actions. And tries to learn from that. Tries to draw insight from it and grow from it the trust and strength and belief that whatever is next, one will take oneself as a whole to it and through it and learn something new again and again.
I don’t know how to pray. I see nature this winter and try to learn from it. I see how all quiets down. And I trust that with the return of the sunlight in Spring life will be abundant again. The now barren and cold branches of the apple tree in my neighbours garden will blossom at just the right moment. Somehow from somewhere bees and butterflies appear almost on the same day. Birds will become so noisy I will call them names in the very early morning when I wake up because of their song.
Nothing of that is here yet. And yet it is because of this ultimate and pure withdrawal from activity, because of this natural contemplation, right this moment, that Spring to come will be bustling with real life and all will be perfect in its place and time. Pure joy. No switches needed.
It makes me longing for my zafu.
I wish for you to have a happy holidays and that your new year may be very, very boring 🙂