Dec 22, 2018

Winter Solstice


Yesterday I had surgery on my right ankle to remove a cyst. Which means that I am forced to lay on the couch with my foot elevated and iced for at least 48 hours. Nothing like a forced rest. Yesterday was also the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year...the darkest day of the year.

The Winter Solstice is a significant time of year for people all over the world from different traditions. From the Celts, to the Egyptians, to the Hopi. A day of ritual, reflection and renewal. It is a time of year meant for reflection and a time to let go of old ways of thinking and being that hold us back and create obstacles to living as our best self.

As I was lying in bed last night I picked up the book I have been reading called The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O’Brian which discusses the four Purusharthas, the proper aims of life or objects of pursuit according to Vedic tradition. They are dharma (purpose), moksha (liberation), kama (pleasure) and artha (economic values). I came across a chapter about Dharma, embracing our divine destiny. It so resonated with this day of reflection and renewal and I wanted to share some of it here.

In the book the author shares the story of Arjuna from the Bhagavad Gita, which is probably the most well know part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Arjuna is a warrior and the story “opens with Arjuna in a funk. He’s poised on the edge of that chasm of Self-Actualization and about to step into fulfilling his potential when he loses heart. The paralysis of doubt sets in.

A consummate warrior, he has trained all his life for the battle he is about to face. He has what he needs. That is, all except one thing, trust in his divine destiny. When he surveys the battlefield before him, he recognizes his own relatives--uncles, teachers, cousins. These ‘relatives’ represent his own lower tendencies, attachments, and self-imposed limitations that will have to be overcome if he is going to prosper. Looking at what it’s going to take Arjuna stops short. In a familiar moment of self-doubt, he throws down his bow and declares, ‘I won’t fight’. How many of us have stood on the precipice of potential and declared, ‘I won’t? I won’t write that thesis; I won’t make that call; I won’t speak my truth; I won’t apply; I won’t submit my work; I won’t fight for what is mine; I won’t move on. I won’t.

Fortunately for Arjuna, and for us, that moment of resistance is not the end. It’s a beginning. In his resistance--throwing down his bow and refusing to fight--he becomes silent, and the still small voice--the voice of the divine within him--begins to speak. This is represented by words of Krishna, the divine Presence seated in the heart of all. The divine dialogue begins in this moment of crisis, when there is conflict between what is known at the soul level and what is being rationalized by the ego. When the mind becomes still, inner wisdom opens. Krishna reminds Arjuna of the ruth of his being and the fact that he is here to express it. ” (p. 91)

So what limiting beliefs can you let go of this Winter Solstice? Sit is silence. Get quiet. Listen to your inner knowing.

Your soul’s calling. How do you know what that is?

“Svadharma--fulfilling our natural duty, embracing our divine destiny. It is the unique expression of our spiritual purpose, which does not follow any outer standard but is guided by our obligation toward our own nature. We follow our dream to the place divine providence has prepared for us. Svadharma arises from our talents, dreams, obligations to our nature, relationship to family and society, and the divine evolutionary call of the place and time we live in.” (p. 93)

Here are the 7 marks of Svadharma:

  • It contributes to the welfare of ALL
  • It supports our maturity--our soul unfoldment and development of character
  • Our purpose is in harmony with our inner disposition, inclination, or make-up
  • It unfolds with grace. It is natural to us, like breathing.
  • Living our purpose makes our heart sing with joy.
  • What we do is not driven by results or attachment to the outcome. The joy is in the doing, the opportunity it offers to serve.
  • We see an opportunity to serve--it is revealed to us and allows us to express our potential. We hear the song, recognize the possibility, or see what is missing and know it is ours to do.

(p. 95)


So today, as you get quiet and reflect on the year that has passed. What can you let go of?

As you visualize the year to come. What will unfold for you?

What will the world be missing out on if you continue to say ‘I won’t’.


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