2020 has been quite a year, undoubtedly. While it probably wasn’t your favorite year with fires, floods, financial stress, racial injustice, and COVID-19, it certainly won’t be easily forgotten. And well it shouldn’t; a year this challenging also holds tremendous power for our awakening. So as we enter the holiday season and year’s end, we can harness that spiritual power to find our inner light and personal transformation, especially on the winter solstice.
The Darkest Time of Year
You probably know that the solstice – winter for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and summer for the southern – is on December 21st. It’s the day that the sun – sol in latin – makes a stand (from the latin “sistere”). For the last six months, the days have become shorter where I live in North America, and the solstice is the pivotal point where the days begin to lengthen again.
Of course, we know this as the beginning of winter. It’s the darkest time of the year, but with the hope of rebirth from that point of the solstice, when the light begins to grow. I never tire of this metaphor, as it is worth returning to again and again, each year, in our spiral journey of spiritual awakening. It always gives us hope during the most difficult times.
This year, more than most, has been a very intense journey into the darkness. We’ve seen many of our fears manifest before us. How have we responded? It’s when we’re faced with difficulties that our inner strength is called forward.
Fear is the Onset of Power
I often say that “fear is the indication of the onset of power.” It means that when we’re scared, we have an opportunity to step into a larger aspect of ourselves. Not only for our courage, strength, determination, and trust to be exercised, but to find our Divine Self that is much larger than any thought, emotion, or circumstance in our lives. When we can tap into our Self with the capital S, we find our Oneness with the Divine, and no situation can determine how we feel – not even COVID-19 or being stuck sheltering in place.
Take some time to consider: what has been revealed to you in this time of darkness? What strength or power has it called forth in you, or wants you to step up to? It may be asking you to trust on a deeper level, to be willing to see past appearances, to put a stopper in the flow of worrisome thoughts, or to shift your attention to what you have rather than worrying about what is missing.
As we are being asked to shelter in place, at least where I live, through the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to practice spiritual solitude. The end of autumn and beginning of winter is the ultimate inward time. While everything around us is resting and retreating in the natural world, so we are encouraged, too. This is an optimal time to increase meditation as well as journaling and inner reflection.
Most of all, as the winter solstice is the celebration of the return of the sun’s brilliance, we are being called more than ever to find our inner light. What does that really mean to you?
What is Light?
Light is, by definition, electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the human eye. In essence, that means energy. Light is an energy we can see, that also allows us to perceive a number of things in the manifest world, such as form and color. It also has the property of heat, which we can sense through touch and is an element that creates power and transformation.
So if we are turning our attention to Inner Light – our spiritual illumination – then we are seeking a Divine energy within us that illumines our consciousness. For me, the theme of Inner Light calls forth these insights:
Light gives us the ability to see, but that ability comes from within us, not from an outside source. As you look within at a greater spiritual Truth, what does the light reveal to you about this time in your life and our world?
Light grows from a point and expands outward. Let your meditations focus on seeing light within you. This could be a candle flame at your heart center, or the sacred core of light that is the axis of the body, known as the Sushumna, that runs from the crown of the head down to the base of the pelvis. When we’re connected to our inner light, we become a beacon for others to find theirs.
Fire is a manifestation of light. We strike a match to light a candle; we burn wood in the fireplace for heat and light. Fire is the power of transformation, and as we connect with the light within we also open to a transformation of body, mind, heart, and spirit.
Look within for your answers, inspiration, and support. Literally, the Earth is tilted away from the sun (in the Northern Hemisphere!) at this point on the calendar, so we are shifting our attention from outside of us to inside ourselves. The Inner Light means that you already have what you need within you. Of course, having our loved ones and friends around is essential, but the source of your well-being, happiness, and peace is already within you. Anything we depend upon outside of us is always temporary in nature; your Divine Self is infinite and eternal. Tap into that Light.
How Do You Tap Into the Inner Light?
OK, so we understand that this time of year is focused on finding the Light within us – but how exactly do does that happen? That’s a bit easier said than done. Here’s what is asked of you:
Open Your Heart
Soften the center of your chest. Release any constrictions there, or at least have that intent. Open-heartedness is receptivity. Be receptive to Spirit in your life.
Practice Faith and Trust
Put your confidence in something greater than you, even if you can’t name what that is. There is a Higher Power that created this Universe and brought you into the world. Trust that as you are ready, more of the insight and inspiration of the inner light will be revealed. Timing is in the hands of Spirit. Practice faith and trust, and allow the process to unfold.
Be Willing to Listen, Look, and Feel
The Inner Light can be revealed to you in a variety of ways. You may “see” it with your inner eyes. But it isn’t really a “thing” to be seen. It is a state of consciousness. You may feel it through your body or just an intuitive sense. You may hear words that guide you or sacred sounds. It may also come to you as a simple knowing or feeling of peace that you can’t explain. Be willing to listen, look, and feel; receive insights and new awareness through your inner and outer senses.
Quiet Your Mind
Thinking is not the Inner Light; it transcends your ordinary, every day thoughts. When you can cultivate a more quiet mind through meditation, chanting, or mindfulness, there’s space for the Inner Light to be perceived.
No, I’m not talking about shining a flashlight down your throat. This is a journey of inner reflection that happens from your consciousness, not from your eyes. Paradoxically, it may show up as a mirror reflection in the outer world, through nature or a relationship. Allow whatever you encounter to spark an inner reflection and teach you about your inner Self.
There may be thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, or perceptions that block you from perceiving that inner illumination. What can you let go of, so that you recognize and open to your expansive light within?
This season is colored by the events of 2020 and dealing with a global pandemic. Perhaps because of these circumstances, we have a greater opportunity to spend time in solitude and seek that inner light. Even though things seem dark, know that situations always change, but you have the one constant of the Divine Light within you. Light a candle or greet the sunrise. Find ways to remember this great spiritual truth. Let this memorable solstice be a time that you dedicate to awakening and allow your Inner Light to grow and glow.
Share your story of solstice solitude, empowerment, or finding your Inner Light in the comments!
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