Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Follow The Darkness: A Winter Solstice Reflection

If we are being honest, then we can each say that we have bad days. Days where it feels like the darkness is swallowing us whole or days when the weight of the the worlds sadness is resting upon our brow. In many yoga circles we are taught to make these dark thoughts and feelings go away. We are told to "plug in a mantra", "twist it out", "send light to these sad thoughts" or to meditate." But what if we are averting one of the most powerful forces that exists within our psyche? The power of darkness.

Darkness is the space of germination it is the womb and the chrysalis. Darkness is the cave we enter to rest, to sleep, and to dream. These powerful dark forces pull us into their grip to show us what is dying and give us a peek at what we've been missing or glossing over. Darkness is real and if we let ourselves be enveloped by dark nights of the soul there is tremendous potential for deeper insight. Many of our mythic heroes and heroines must go into the dark earth or black waters in order to realize a critical piece of their journey.
Nature has within its intelligent design specific periods where the darkness reigns over the light. During the months leading to the winter solstice (Dec 21st) the darkness trumps and the portal to sadness, grief, anger, and deep inner processing opens. Each new moon period is also a time when the dark night skies remind us of our smallness. If we honor these natural periods of darkness we give the soul a chance to suffer. The word suffer comes from the Latin "sufferre", sub- ‘from below’ + ferre ‘to bear', or to "bear what is below."
As yoga teachers and students we can do a great service to our community by allowing ourselves to feel and express our suffering. We can let go of guilt and shame for feeling "depressed" and see it as a period of "deep rest". The darkness is here and we can fight it or we can curl up under its night skies and hear the stories it has to share and maybe, just maybe, we will awaken changed.

(from Teaching Tip Tuesdays, posted each Tuesday on Facebook by Sky House owner, Ashley Litecky Elenbaas)

1 comment:

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