It would be difficult to refute the assertion that this has been a particularly challenging year aboard spaceship Earth. In terms of social upheaval, political tension, factional strife and natural disasters, 2018 ranks high on an all-time Top Ten list.
Here in southern California we have faced prolonged drought, devastating wildfires and now, drenching rains threaten to destabilize scorched and fragile hillsides. It is no wonder that so many are engulfed in the anguish generated by this ‘perfect storm’ and find themselves focused on surviving and coping.
We are being tested as never before and it is all too easy to get caught up with what is happening on the ground and forget to stop and lift our gaze to the heavens to drink in the realization that we are part of something greater – a vast and majestic infinite Mystery in which we “live and move and have our being.” The fact is that we are both residents of Earth and citizens of the Cosmos.
As we recall from science class, the Earth turns on its axis once every 24 hours and orbits the sun once every 365 days as our Solar System moves in an ordered and rhythmic spiral dance together with countless galaxies comprising the known and visible Universe. The reason Earth has natural seasons is because our planet’s axis of rotation is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees relative to our orbital plane circling around the sun.
Earth’s northern axis is always pointing the same direction in space: toward the star we call Polaris, the North Star. However, the orientation of Earth’s tilt with respect to the sun – our source of light and warmth – does change during these annual orbits. In other words, the Northern Hemisphere is oriented toward the sun for half of the year and away from the sun for the other half. The same is true of the Southern Hemisphere.
One of the many gifts of Meditation Mount is its geographical location overlooking the Ojai Valley that affords spectacular views of the sunset over distant purple hills. And yet, in one real sense, we can say that the Sun never actually sets or rises – it is the Earth spinning on its axis that gives the appearance of a setting or rising solar orb.
Likewise, the Soul always shines – its radiance is ever present in our lives as a constant source of spiritual nourishment, inspiration and security even as we pass through cycles of darkness where, from the perspective of the personality, it feels as though that longed-for spiritual sunrise will never arrive and we experience a gnawing in our bones that we perhaps have been abandoned.
Here in the northern hemisphere we have just observed the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. Whether we are involved in Hanukah, Christmas or a ritual from the Celtic tradition, this time of year is commonly honored as The Festival of Light. The need to be reassured that the Light of Life – represented by the Sun – will never desert us is deeply woven into many rites of antiquity.
The Egyptians, for instance, celebrated the return of the Sun God Ra by parading the first boy child born after the Winter Solstice in the streets to jubilant cries of ‘Hu Ra’.
Hu-Ra signifies the status of the Man-God which many ancient civilizations believed to be our ultimate destiny as humans. A remnant of this legacy lives on today and instead of ‘Hu Ra’ we now shout ‘Hooray’ to acknowledge a special achievement.
In resonance with the two months leading up to the Winter Solstice wherein our focus every year is the Principle of Essential Divinity (October 21st – December 21st, one of six bimonthly cycles of the Laws and Principles*), the season of Advent heralds the coming of the Inner Light – both of these affirming that a spark of the Eternal Flame, dancing in the bosom of The One, dwells at the heart of each of us and all creation. Everything is sacred, everything is divine in its essence. This ‘essence’ is the Eternal Sun ever seeking birth and revelation through any possible crack and portal it finds in our lives.
This Light Supernal is the incandescent Fire of Love – that divine conflagration we call Christ Consciousness – and the compelling call of the soul we are hearing is the call of The Christ Within. Establishing a fecund field for the emergence and appearance of this Presence, both as a birth within the cave of our own heart and in the world as an externalized Embodiment of the Fire of Love, is the deep work of the incarnated soul.
To safely invoke, birth and house the Fire of Love we must first build a suitable fireplace of our lives and the most apposite home and hearth is an open and loving heart.
We are witnessing the long-awaited Birth for which we have spent lifetimes preparing and for which we now joyfully labor amidst the travail of a world in crisis. Blessings to our dear Earth, and to all who sail upon this celestial Ark.
Michael Lindfield President – Board of Directors