Traditionally we human beings have celebrated not only the coming of the longer days of spring, but also the beginning of the darkness in fall. As the leaves display their gorgeous colors, I see observant Jews in my neighborhood sheltering in their sukkot; I hear of Christians walking the labyrinths in their cathedrals. In Portland and around the world, Waldorf School children solemnly carry apple candle holders in ceremonial evergreen bough spiral walks. They take handmade paper lanterns into the darkness of the forest. Coast to coast, we Americans, regardless of our spiritual beliefs, observe the time-honored ritual of turning the clocks back as we cozy up to longer nights in front of the fireplace.
Born exactly on the Autumn Equinox, I consider this time of the year as the harbinger of new beginnings. I relish the chance to turn inward after the extroversion of summer. I find myself sleeping more soundly and remembering my dreams more vividly. I more naturally turn to my meditation practice and a desire to contemplate deeply, to turn my awareness not outward – to family, Sangha, and community – but inward toward my own thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
Autumn is the perfect time to begin or renew a meditation practice. Won’t you join me – actually or virtually – starting in November as I begin a new cycle of meditation gatherings? Modeled after the idea of satsang, we will meet weekly to sit quietly and receive guided instruction on posture, mudra, breath, and other practical aspects of starting and maintaining a meditation practice. I will also offer weekly prompts for contemplation. Hope to see you there! And don’t forget to let me know how your practice is progressing if you are following online.