In Ayurvedic medicine, we often balance one extreme by taking more of its opposite. If there is a condition with the qualities of cold, we bring qualities of heat to provide balance. There is another approach, also within the science of Ayurveda, to treat with a similar quality. Here we are in the season of darkness, and today is Winter Solstice, the darkest night of the year. Instead of running from that darkness into brightness – filling that empty space with Christmas lights and food and warming yourself by the fire – I invite you, for just one night, to fully go into those dark, cold, empty spaces, inhabit them, be with them.
So often, in life we expend so much energy avoiding darkness, loss and death. This is an integral part of the human experience, an entire wing of polarity that we often label as bad and avoid. What would happen if you were go INTO the darkness in order to emerge again into the light. What if we were to allow the dismantling process to take its full course and reform into something new. Our world is in this process of breaking apart and transforming, how can we honor this process in our own lives?
I invite you this winter solstice to allow a small death. It can be as simple as taking one exhalation as far as you can, letting go deeper and deeper into that empty space without breath. It can be letting whatever grief may be present to really take you for a day, clear the schedule and drop into that chasm of sadness. It could be sitting in darkness in quiet meditation and appreciating its cloak that allows for you to find the other sources of light.
Today is Winter Solstice, the day of the year, we have the most darkness prevailing in the northern hemisphere of planet Earth. In honor of this time, I have written the following poem:
Being With The Night
This night does not end in exaltation
it did not begin as such either.
I move from this place, still
with the stirrings of yesterday and the night
still, in upheaval and discomfort
but life moves me forward to be unwound through the next movements
and I keep giving in to these uncertain and deeply uncomfortable moments.
The silent screaming.
I’m holding you, this too
Finding the equanimity that will continue unfolding layers of samskaras
Let it come, Let it burn,
like peroxide sizzling the infection in the wound, I am burning
I open to the pain, like I lover, I let it in to the most tender spaces,
I let it rip through me
Just as a baby enters the world ripping through the mother’s womb,
Birth is pain,
and death moves through the same door
Birth and death dance with each other in each moment, in each breath,
they are locked in the same Divine Cosmic Dance we all crave
can you find the ecstasy in the heart of pain?
Can you reach, so deep into the misery that you find its opposite right on the other side?
Can you welcome Death as the consort of life?
Give yourself to the Night
Give yourself to the darkness, let it fall around you like a cloak, so dark, it forces you to find the other sources of light.
The flame in the heart of darkness
Inhabit the cold empty spaces inside
Let the grief unravel you, unhinge you
Allow the undoing
Give yourself to the exhalation,
offer your individual prana to unite with the vast cosmic prana that always surrounds you,
And trust this prana to animate your inspiration, without
Taking. Breath. In.
Through this exhalation you may find exaltation.