In the Christian Calendar today is the feast of Candlemas. While not as old as the Celtic feast of yesterday, it does date from the 4th Century in Jerusalem, and reflects the same need to mark this period of winter with light and hope. Traditionally it was celebrated by a procession of candles and the blessing of candles for use in the home.
From time to time difficulties occur in our lives which can then seem dark and without hope. Bringing awareness to what is going on inside us at those moments can allow light to shine in the darkness. We sit and observe what arises and passes away in the mind and body. We name it – “there is anger“, “there is fear” – thus creating a gap and allowing what we experience to become something known. In this way, our mood and behaviour will not be shaped entirely by invisible, unconscious conditioning, but can become a more reflective response.
When we meditate, we kindle a fire that never dies away.
When we meditate, we’re not idly passing time. In following the breath and learning to deal with our thoughts, we’re laying the foundation for a shift in attitude that has the power to change our lives in a truly meaningful way. There’s a lot of darkness and aggression in our world. Developing our best qualities has an immediate effect on ourselves and others. When we apply ourselves in practice, we’re not only doing something very present; we’re also creating the conditions for how our lives can move forward.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche