This October day seemed more like November with its overcast sky, misty air and chilly temperatures. It proved to be a peaceful day of reflection that called my mind to again connect with the path of the heart. We put a fire in the fireplace and dreamed of other times past and future where the seasons met to create something new and unexpected. We reflected on the darkness and light, the sorrows and joys, the wonder and wisdom of the ongoing changes that creep into our lives to expand our constricted awareness.
What’s this transition we all share within the changing seasons of our lives? How is it that we wake up one day to realize we’re somehow in another season of life? Do you remember being in third grade and then suddenly being in high school, in and out of relationships, passing into your forties and. . . being here now? Does time change like the seasons or is it just our perceptions looking from different perspectives? It seems just the other day I was cradling two babies and now they’re cradling their own.
For many of us, Autumn is a time of mystery as we watch the leaves turn colors, drop from their trees and create humus for new growth. We ponder where we’ve been, where we’re going and why we’re here. We warmly wrap ourselves with memories and hopes for things to come while knowing that we, like the bushes, flowers and trees will one day transform into something we can’t presently see. It’s an ongoing reminder that the only permanence is impermanence, the only moment is now and the gift of Life is here!
These reflections take me to some words I remember from St. Francis where he reminds us to be instruments of peace; to sow love, faith, hope, pardon and joy. To console, understand, give and to remember that in dying we’re born into a whole new life. The mystery of Autumn speaks to this mystery of dying and new life. It’s part of the cycle of this earthly experience that’s played out every moment with every Be-ing. It’s our eternal ‘wake up’ call to the ongoing cycles of birth, life, death and new life.
The wonder and wisdom of the changing seasons is their ever present reminders that we’re only here for a short time, that we receive life to give life and that no thing can take the place of Life’s loving companion Presence. In our forgetfulness however, we fail to recognize our place in the web of Life. We forget we are stewards of the things rather consumers and worshipers of the things. We get caught up in our cultural conditioning and fail to remember our Essence, our True Self, our Divine Connection.
By living in a materialistic culture, even our spirituality becomes externalized. We build monuments, create special words, actions, ideas, rules, regulations and accepted ways of being and doing that form our lives. We venerate and worship the forms while forgetting the substance, the very Essence of what the forms point to. As Alan Watts said: “We see the fingers pointing to the moon and rather than seeing the moon, we suckle the fingers.” The same is true for all physical manifestations of the Ineffable.
Let us clearly see and inwardly know the wonder and wisdom of this Autumn Mystery as it lovingly invites us to identify with the falling leaves and shedding trees to flow with ease into our Essence. Let us be informed to the cycles of Life that they may point us to the ever present seasons of birth, life, death and New Life. Let us relax, release, and realign ourselves with these natural and ever present cycles that seek to awaken our interconnectivity, and joyfully celebrate the love and reverence of letting go for renewal.
- Over the next weeks, give yourself the gift of meditating with a sagely tree. Slow down long enough to go deep enough and ‘feel’ the energy of this amazing be-ing. What’s the silent message it has for you? Yes, you can even hug the tree and rest in its arms.
- Reflect on how you experience the ‘things’ you see and give value to. What do they point to beyond their form? What’s the substance, essence of the forms? What might you learn from this experience about the value of Life?
- Bring your attention to your own form, your physical body, and reflect on the transient nature of it. View pictures of this form over time and notice how it has changed. Finally, look within and connect with the formless nature of your Be-ing. Identify the Essence that came into form and will return to formlessness when the form falls away. Allow this soulful perspective to in-form you and notice what it brings up for You.
- Give yourself the gifts of Attention, Awareness and Appreciation for all the learning opportunities you have in this earthly life of form and formlessness, permanence and impermanence, attachment and non attachment. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!