Darkness and light

File:Candle-flame-and-reflection.jpg

Today is the Christian feast of Candlemas,  which traditionally involved the blessing of candles for use in the home. It was a reminder that light will return, sustaining people around this midway point of winter, giving encouragement when the cold and darkness seemed to be never-ending.  It helped people to realise that darkness  and not-knowing are natural parts of the cycle of life and death, just as are periods of cold and lack of growth. Stepping into unknown territory  is necessary from time to time.

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we would like to dream about. The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be to just keep moving. Usually, when we reach our limit, we  freeze in terror. Our bodies freeze and so do our minds. Rather than indulge or reject our experience, we can somehow let the energy of the emotion, the quality of what we’re feeling pierce us to the heart. This is a noble way to live. It’s the path of compassion – the path of cultivating human bravery and kindheartedness.

Pema Chodron.

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