As we approach the Winter Solstice I am reflecting on the last six months since Summer Solstice. This is the waning phase of the year, the days growing shorter. Traditionally, this is an auspicious time for planning and preparation. What have you been up to? What is the theme of your past 6 months?
The Vedic understanding of time is vast and incorporates eons. Our individual lives are part of an enormous whole. We come from the invisible womb of being and return there, again and again until the soul’s journey is complete. We are made of stars and possess the innate intelligence of the universe. This is a theory of course, an ancient way of framing the unknown, a poetic contemplation. It is true that we are literally made of stars, the same substance of the universe.
Time is personified as Kala Purusha. The word Kala contains sounds related to the beginning, middle, and end of all manifested things. Purusha is the essence of consciousness, beyond manifestation. The implication is that we each have a time limited opportunity to express our essence. We are all bound by time and go through cycles of time; natural, collective, and personal.
Classically, yoga practices are designed to work with natural cycles, to help us be in harmony with the deeper pulse of the planet and cosmos. For instance, dawn and dusk are the considering the most powerful times to meditate and pray.
Collective cycles relate to our family, our peers, our place on the earth. Consider your family’s cycles, your generation’s expectations of life (boomers, x’s, millennials), the cycles of your neighborhood, your city, state, country? Can you sense how this contemplation of time turns us towards the complicated subject of karma? Why me? Why not me?
There is a great Hindu story regarding how personal time cycles affect even the mighty Shiva. It is believed that we all go through regular periods where the harsh gaze of Saturn tests us and transforms us. It is called Sade Sati, the 7 ½ years of Saturn, and occurs every 23 years or so in a person’s life. When you are in Saturn’s gaze specifically, depends on personal birth factors.
The story goes that Saturn was the student of Shiva, yet still had to do his duty and cast his terrible gaze upon his guru. Shiva tried to outwit him by submerging himself in the River Ganges for the entire 7 ½ years.
When he emerged he was delighted with his feat and cried,
“Oh Saturn! What could you do to Me?”
“You call that doing nothing to You?”
Where ever you are in regards to Saturn, in regards to your personal cycle, may the new phase of the year bring you deeper peace, greater wisdom, and fruition of your current hopes and dreams.
Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays.
There are 2 Free Mindful Meditation classes in December
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment: Experiencing Mindfulness
December 15th a mindful practice related to the change of seasons.
The Fruitful Darkness: An Evening of Mindfulness Practice
All are invited to attend either or both classes:
No experience is necessary.
10 – 11:30 am at The Movement Shala 435 E. Ninth Street
Class happens every week without fail. You never have to wonder. On the rare occasions I am away, one of our regular students, who is also a trained teacher, subs and you get to experience someone else who appreciates meditative yoga. Downtown is flourishing too, with great places for Sunday brunch- come to class, stay and play! First time students are always free.
$10 class or $32 for a 4 class pass
Winter 2015 MBSR Schedule
MBSR Free Information & Introduction Session For Winter 2015 – Monday January 5th
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program MBSR Winter 2015 – Monday January 12th
Natasha Korshak is a long-time teacher and trainer of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and MBSR, and has been working in the field of integrative health and wellness her entire professional career. She is a graduate of the Interfaith Theological Seminary and an ordained Interfaith Minister specializing in contemplative practice, grief processing, and spiritual direction. Her study and training of mind/body/spirit methods is extensive and she has learned from many of the pioneers in their discipline. As the founder and director of the Sol Center she is well regarded for her depth, warmth, authenticity, and the smile in her voice.