While the world keeps rushing by at Internet pace, this time of year there’s a natural desire to slow down and move inward. It’s a time for introspection and stillness. I love this time of year. When the days grow short and the Christmas markets and city lights fill the darkness with festive colors. If you suffer from seasonal depression like I often do, then the a light therapy lamp may be on your Christmas wish list. (It’s on mine!) A friend bought one and uses it 20 minutes a day. The change in her attitudes, she says, is remarkable.
Winter solstice on December 21st, marks the longest night of the year. It’s a natural time to draw inward and contemplate the activities of the passing year. This period opens up an opportunity to explore the landscape of the spirit. Meditation may seem easier as distractions lessen, and life can become naturally quieter. It’s also a time to begin to consider what seeds of the spirit to plant in the New Year.
It’s a time to take stock too. What important events occurred during the current year? What, if any, aims do you have for your spiritual practice in 2016? These may be things like cutting out coffee, or working to eliminate self-sabotaging thoughts. You may want to draft a list to clarify where you’d like to go with your inner life. Much of what happens in the physical world is a reflection of the inner state of mind and spirit. The clearer I become in my inner life, the more clearly I know where to invest time, energy, and attention. It sometimes requires efforts to become quiet enough to hear what the voice of my soul is saying, and where it is guiding me to go. The solstice can be an ideal time to listen more deeply to that inner guidance. When the inner landscape is cleared and new seeds are consciously planted, the harvests can be rich and deep and create more peace in the world. For more on cultivating the inner life, check out “Garden of Bliss“.