Light In The Fall

While the rose said to the sun,

“I shall ever remember thee,”

her petals fell to the dust.

Rabindranath Tagore

 

It is fall in the Northern Hemisphere.   The nighttime hours are lengthening, the plants are shedding their summer coats, and at least half of the bird species are migrating south.  The daytime sky has taken on shades of grey and cloudy signals of unruly storms.

Unlike its joyful counterpart, spring, fall is bittersweet.  The bitter is in the season’s stark reminders of loss and release. Colorful leaves and petals gradually disappear, as do the sounds of songbirds and fragrances of the blossoms.  The trees and air are left naked with bare branches and silence. Free of their adornment, the trees invite us to let go of our unneeded trimmings, i.e., habits, stuff, or ideas.

Mother Nature balances the bitterness with sweetness. With each leaf or floral petal that drops to the earth, there is renewal. Not only is there nourishment for the soil and new food for new growth, the trunks and stems reveal their structural essence.   The limited amount of sunlight during the winter can shine through the open spaces between their branches, giving warmth to the soil. So too, we can make room for the light of awareness to seep in when we deeply accept the currents of life.

Rabindranath Tagore offers beautiful metaphors of the rose, sun, and dust as reminders that all arises from and returns to infinite light and love.   Life is loss and renewal, falling and rising, giving and receiving, and letting go and grace.   Dust is the minutest aspect of all matter that we can see. The universal message of the rose is pure love and joy, and the sun, heavenly light.   In the coming weeks, I will always remember the sun both for the sustenance of the cycles of life and as a reminder of the light of truth.

 

Practice

This simple practice is best done at home.

  • Prepare –
    • Sit upright, either on a chair or a cushion on the floor. Eyes may be gently closed, or in a soft gaze.
    • Stretch out through your arms, hands, and sides of your torso.
  • Practice –
    • Place your left palm over your spiritual heart-center (this is symbolically at the center of your chest). Then, place your right palm over the top.
    • Three times:
      • Inhale – Reach your hands upward and slightly outward from your heart center (will be like you are reaching toward the sky with your arms in an open “V” shape). Imagine as though you are reaching up and gathering the light of the sun into your palms.
        • If you follow a particular faith, imagine these and the following movements as a prayer.
      • Exhale – Bring your palms back over your heart.
    • With your fingertips, lightly touch the following areas of your body and head. Imagine as though you are placing light in those areas.
      • Feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower belly, navel area, upper chest/shoulders by crossing your forearms across your body to take the opposite hand to each shoulder, elbows, wrists, hands (gently stroking each hand with the other), and throat.
      • Temples, jaw, nose, mouth, eyes, cheekbones, ears, back of your skull, center of forehead, and top your skull.
    • Let your hands return to your heart-center, and let them gently rest there with minimal tension in the shoulders, arms, or hands.
      • Six to twelve breaths, according your comfort and time
        • Inhale – Imagine as though the light glowing deep within your heart-center.
        • Exhale – Imagine as though the glow of the light rises up from the core of your heart-center along the spine and up to the upper, inside center of your skull.
          • Suspend the exhale – Briefly linger at the end of the exhale and imagine the entire inner surface of your skull is glowing.
        • On the next inhale, reach your arms upward and outward with open palms. Imagine as though you are returning the light to its source. Silently, say “thank you.”
      • Return to your Day –
        • Release your hands onto your thighs with the palms upward.
        • Simply sit and breath until you are ready to re-enter your day.

 

This poem is from Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 56, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

 

 

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