Like a great starving beast
my body is quivering
fixed on the scent of
It seems fanciful that a new moon can appear to shimmer. Yet, about once about every eighteen months, there is a radiant glow around a new moon. It occurs when the two orbs of the moon and the sun seem to mate in the daytime sky and the moon has cloaked the sun.
I admire the odd and wondrous relationship between this unlikely pair. They couldn’t be more different in their natures. The moon is tiny and constantly mobile, whereas the sun is massive – four hundred times larger than the moon – and ever steady and luminous. Still, they have an intimate interconnection and model balance and altruism with their unique and vast differences.
The sun, in spite of its center-stage prominence in the solar system, freely offers warmth and light to all. In some cultures and religions, the sun’s radiance is an archetype of the immortal, supreme light and love that holds life. And, the moon is its partner reflecting light into the darkness. It helps stabilize the earth’s rotation and regulate our tides. Together, they provide us with energy, illumination, inspiration, and our calendar.
Ancients recognized the magnificent power and significance of these two spherical bodies. Nowadays, we need a cosmic jolt to renew the awe of our raw link to them and the rest of life. When the dark moon covers the sun, it is like a power outage, especially in the locations where eclipse will be visible.
For days, and some human lore says for months, things can be turned upside-down before and after a solar eclipse. There can be distressing energies, turbulence, and waves of negativity and misfortune. Plants, animals, humans and the elements can be affected. The change in the gravitational pull may cause quakes and other unusual terrestrial phenomena. We may feel forced to leap into the new. Still , all is not gloomy; near the totality of the eclipse, the sun reveals its brightness and presence by giving the moon a glimmering appearance.
Poets like Hafiz remind us that light is always there. It will always illumine us, even we ignore or forget about it, or when we think it has abandoned us in our bleakness. Like the moon, we have the capacity to reflect or eclipse the light, with the former being the more normal way of being and latter temporary and occasional.
We can either look upward or downward to the glow, to the heavenly or to cyber messages. Both can take us inward and both impact how we interact outward. For my guidance, I choose the more mysterious one that shines in everyone and all aspects of life. I hope you will join me.
This practice can be done anywhere and at any time for any length of time, except for when driving.
- Practice –
- Begin by simply noticing that you are breathing. Perhaps notice the rhythmic movement around your ribs and collarbones.
- Then, shift your attention to how you feel when you become aware of your breathing.
- Perhaps notice how your facial, throat and shoulder muscles responded. Did they tense up, or relax?
- If they became tense, take a few deep inhales through the nostrils and breathe out through the mouth making a sound like a sigh, or the rush of air outward. Maybe shake your arms and hands to release tension.
- Once there is a sensation of some release, then continue.
- As the muscles around the upper torso let go, invite your awareness to move your lower torso. Allow your abdominal muscles to gently relax on your inhales. No need to force. Just allow for some awareness of letting go of tension in your lower torso.
- Then, just let your breath rhythmically glide in and out. Allow it be easeful and comfortable. Like the moon moving through its lunar phases, invite a steady and natural ebb and flow. You are being breathed. You have all you need in this moment.
- Stay for as long as you like. Savor the mysterious quality of your breath.
- Transition back into your day –
- Invite a feeling of an inner smile.
- Turn your palms upward and stretch through your palms and fingers.
- Look upward and with heartfelt sincerity say “thank you.”
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky, this poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 32, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. HEARTH is published on the new and full moon.