For all of their range across time, seasons of the Spirit, as well as seasons of the flesh, are grounded in the here and now. It’s the paradox that unites the two, and intensifies their wisdom. Eternity, in effect, as found in a flash.
Keep racing, and you’ll see nothing but a blur en route to some goal. You can be fully alive in the rush of adrenaline, your attention concentrated on what is essential in split-second increments. The pace is unsustainable for long, naturally, and an emotional crash will follow. The alternative is to stop yourself, to achieve calm before the storm or calm within the storm, before continuing. Stopping, to regain strength as well as collect scattered thoughts and actions. To restore focus and wholeness.
When I think of these seasons, I don’t know whether the yin-yang emblem of Buddhism, with its “S” rippling through a circle, and light on one side and darkness on the other (alternating day and night or sun and moon), or the Christian cross is more appropriate. The cross, after all, leaves us with four quadrants, like the seasons themselves, while the yin-yang expresses alternating rhythms encountered daily.
The daily rhythms converge on sunrise and sunset – in many traditions, times of meditation, prayer, or chanting. Moments to acknowledge the presence of Spirit with us, in our flesh.
Walt Whitman, describing his first Quaker meeting, tells of entering a room where people were “sitting still as death.” The phrase initially appears morbid and troubling. Even so, it reflects an early Quaker understanding of a necessity of “dying to the world” and its desires and distractions in order to become open to the Spirit. Deep silent meditation becomes a kind of winter, to be followed by spring. The flesh, too, is given symbolic rest and freed from unessential movement. The moment becomes timeless. The stream clears. Fears and worries fall away.
This, too, is a season I invite you to discover.
The hour will end, and we’ll return to our usual labors, before drawing back together in stillness.
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