Usually inspired by the vernal equinox or summer solstice—and once, exploring the phenomenon of coming out of winter solstice, I don’t recall writing about the autumnal equinox. Seems odd, when autumn has, since adolescence, held a special place in my heart.
But unavoidably entering the phase of winding down, reviewing, revising, and looking forward to ascending—every day—it’s a perfect fit for right now. Yet the reflection of this particular part of the journey is not intended as an emotional reverie or celebration of the ‘good ole days’. These are the good ole days. The only value in reviewing is in revising.
So many events of this time of year are perfect reflections of winding down a life—or winding up. As the arc of the sun, moon, stars, and planets picks up speed in its inexorable tilt to the southern horizon, this entire end of the earth reflects that shift. A single day is noticeably shorter than yesterday. Birds who have been here, or further north, suddenly disappear—vanishing into thin air, overnight sometimes. Trees and plants, vibrant and full of growth not so many weeks ago, suddenly droop, fade, brown, or sing an achingly beautiful swan song, followed almost instantly by dry, withering death.
White man’s absurd concept of ‘daylight savings’ and his tendency to extend the fantasy further every year by resetting our clocks—earlier each spring, and later each autumn—betrays the reality that this is nothing more than a deep and unconscious discomfort with the natural rhythms of life and the body’s mortality. When lust, greed, vanity, and attachment dominate our attention, it’s only natural that those four passions of the mind are followed by the fifth—anger—when it becomes obvious that the former are about to be yanked away from our greedy little fingers.
With this level of consciousness so dominant in our culture, this contemplation is unlikely to be a popular one. But for those sincere few who recognize the discomfort, and sense the depth of our charade, it could actually offer a welcome perspective to consider. There is a purpose here, isn’t there? Is it possible the purpose is the eventual and ultimate realization of a reality beyond mind’s comprehension? Of a perspective that transcends duality itself? If so, how do we make that supreme leap?
An octogenarian not long ago tried to bait me with endorsing the tired notion that wisdom typically accompanies old age. I agreed that it was an attractive idea, but, in a lifetime, I’ve seen disappointingly little evidence to support it, as a rule, as a tendency, as a ‘compensation’ for having one’s body and mind fall apart. And certainly not as fact. Wisdom is hard earned, and, in fact, graced as a response to surrender and effort. It requires far more experience than the short span of one human life. And it’s extremely rare—perhaps even more so in the elderly.
This is not cynicism. This is a cause and effect result of where we place our attention. And, of all things, it’s perhaps most worthy of contemplation.
True Saints throughout time, especially those successful enough to have avoided having their living teachings reduced to religion, have all agreed that they await their translation like a bride anticipates her wedding day. Not as an escape, no. Just as the metaphor implies—as deep longing for reunion with the creator. Having long since recognized the creation is not the prize.
In our day and age, such a startling declaration generally evokes, “What?! Are you out of your mind?!!”.
Well, precisely. The mind is what holds our nose to our trendy way of viewing the world and its temporal pleasures. The primary objective of any true Saint is to kick the chair from under the wayward mind, and restore rulership of our microcosm to its rightful owner—the newly awakened soul.
Only when that process is in full bloom do we catch a surprising glimpse of true wisdom and the recognition that nothing—no one—dies. Death is merely the ultimate illusion of the relative world—which is not our home. Our true home resides in the eternity of each moment.
May the rapidly approaching equinox perfectly reflect the self-created reality we’ve given it. In scant weeks, it will all be compost. And only soul will be rejoicing.
Most Recent Contemplation: Flourless Almond Torte
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