December 21, 2019 – Winter Solstice: Japanese Tea Ceremony
6 a.m. – 30 minute sitting in silent meditation with 70 people in a dark candle-lit room
6:30 a.m. – 20 minute slow walking meditation
6:50 a.m. – Japanese sweet & a cup of freshly made green tea, silently served to each person with a bow
7:10 a.m. – Clear morning light beginning to fill the room & our hearts
7:15 a.m. – spontaneous sharing/poetic words invited…
And so goes our annual Solstice Tea Ceremony here in Taos, New Mexico.
Taking cues from the overt & more subtle rhythms of the natural world, we mark a repeating cycle… darkness to light… the ending & the beginning of a new year/new cycle within this fluid frame of a year’s time.
For many of us, this is time for reflection. What am I grateful for? What heart/mind qualities do I want to strengthen & cultivate? What would I like to let go of, relinquish? What has been particularly challenging this year? What has been especially beautiful, illuminating & uplifting?
Our year-end/year-beginning reflections may bring forth personal, intimate recollections as well as thoughts & images related to broader themes & particular happenings in the world beyond our intimately experienced personal memories.
As our complex human heart/mind quite naturally sorts through & sifts out much of what we have encountered & experienced physically, intellectually, emotionally & spiritually through a year, we are left with ‘just a handful of leaves’ of all the billions of experiences that have passed through our body, mind & heart during this fluid frame of a past year. Trusting what shows up & then simply taking what is offered is just what we need for our practice. With heartfelt interest & care for our well-being, along with a non-judgmental, non-clinging awareness, we mindfully notice, ‘What is my relationship in this very moment to this remembered experience?’
Our reflective practice can bring a clear, caring & non-manipulative interest to what comes up, without editorial commentary. This is the ground, the quality of heart/mind ambiance needed for intuitive understanding & illumination to arise. In this context, our heart is able to release from the swirling eddies of contraction that we can get caught in.
Within our practice, we learn to be truly caring & patient with ourselves as this new cycle/new year blossoms. We can learn to be heartfully, wisely responsive in relationship with ourselves & others, rather than contracting in reactivity. This allows spaciousness, understanding & intuitive wisdom to naturally blossom. This is how we learn to receive the light that we yearn for to fill our heart & mind… the clear light that is always available, forever nearby. This is our practice.
May this new year be filled with friendship, love, a growing intuitive
understanding & a deepening sense of well-being & ease for you.
with metta, Marcia Rose