Monday, December 10, 2007

Reflecting on Darkness

I visited a female monk this evening, she is recovering from a cold. Recovering slowly. This cold has gone the rounds of the monastery. It's tapped on my door a few times, entered briefly, but not stayed. This time of year, leading up to the winter solstice, with ever shortening days can be hard on the whole system. Add to that sickness and the best of us can feel low, depleted and miserable with it.

Each year my father would write to me around this date to announce that we were going into the 'black hole'. That's the days before and after the solstice when the length of day varies by only a small amount. The expression was my dads invention. It was black because I think he found this time hard to get through. There is less light and with that a tendency to turn within. It's a low energy time with little inclination to do much. That's how it is for me. Just last night it dawned on me, low energy and lack of get-up-and-go need not become depressing of the spirits. December's black hole can be positive because it can lead us inwards, there to reflect.

It also has to be said there are very many people who suffer terribly from lack of bright light. This time of year can be particularly difficult. There is however something practical that can be done to help this condition.