This evening we celebrate Halloween which is based on the most important Ancient Irish and Celtic feast, that of Samhain. The Celtic year was divided into two parts, the bright half from the 1st of May until today, and the dark half, starting tomorrow. Today stood in-between, when Summer not quite fully over, but the old year was dying and winter was about to begin. On this in-between day it was felt that the normal barriers between the visible and invisible worlds were less strong. The normal Celtic sensitivity to the hidden world – their awareness that the other world was always there right beside them – was heightened, So for us too, it can be a day to be more aware of deeper dimensions, by not rushing past the “ordinary” or the routine, by not expecting real happiness to be elsewhere, but by tuning in to the “bits and pieces of everyday” as poet Paddy Kavanagh reminded us.
One comes to know the interior of the exterior. One comes to know the inside of every outside. It’s not only human beings that have an interior or an inside, but that the world around us as well can be known inwardly. Life is dense with those levels of experience, but we need to calm ourselves, get clear, get quiet, direct attention, sustain the attention, open up to what is normally invisible, and certain things begin to show themselves. Maybe gently to begin with, but nonetheless it deepens and enriches our lives. If we are committed to knowledge, then we ought to be committed also to exploring the world with these lenses, with this method in mind and heart.
Arthur Zajonc, Professor of Physics, Amherst College