Finding the light within
There's a kind of dread that descends upon much of the UK population when the clocks go back at this time of year. Many fear the long, dark nights and look forward with anticipation to the Spring. Some refer to their low mood as seasonal affective disorder, or 'SAD', and attribute it to having less light available to the brain in winter months.I, however, (surprise, surprise), like to look a bit deeper. To me, our dread of the long, dark nights is another manifestation of our failure to accept what is. There is darkness. There is light. And our tendency to switch on as many lights as possible as soon as it gets dark - relying on artificial light so we can't really feel and truly experience the changes in the seasons as they are - is another symptom of our denial of this.So it gets dark at four or five... great! Why not use it as a cue to slow down, adapt and learn to enjoy the intimacy of the darkness? And when we do, of course, when the sun comes up in the morning, it's so much more beautiful.It would perhaps serve us to get more comfortable and more familiar with the darkness anyway. Many of the world's resources are diminishing... power outages are becoming more frequent... There's even a rumour (that I don't necessarily subscribe to) that we might go through four days without electricity (hence, in darkness) at the time of the December equinox (we've all heard the stories), thanks to a potential magnetic pole reversal of the Earth. Whatever may or may not happen at this time, it would certainly serve us to become more resilient, both inwardly and at a practical level, in the face of change. And this might mean learning to adapt to what is, rather than resist it, perhaps?When the power goes off in my home, which it does quite frequently, rather than getting up and fiddling with the switches, I'll often take it as a cue to abandon what I was doing and to simply sit there and meditate - adapt with the tide - and sink deeper into the beautiful, velvety darkness.But it hasn't always been this way for me. As a teenager, I had an irrational fear of the dark. I remember, one year when I was due to go away to 'summer camp', my mother bought me a little battery-operated lamp to help me deal with it. When illuminated, it was like a big ball of light. And all I had to do when I felt the fear, was find the button and press.It was deeply reassuring to me. And somewhere along the line during that summer camp, I 'surrendered' - and not only did I start to enjoy the darkness, but it actually became my greatest friend - as it has been ever since.Anyway, at the end of an evening of circle dancing I went to last weekend - theme, coincidentally, 'light in the darkness' - we were invited, together, to blow out the candle that lay at the centre of the circle and to 'send the light' to anyone who might be in need. I felt to send my blessing to all those that, because of its reduced light, find the winter difficult.And the next day, as I contemplated the evening and its theme, these words came to me: 'It is in surrendering into the darkness that we find the light within'. Whether we are plunged into darkness, metaphorically or physically, at Equinox or at any other time, surely the thing to do is to allow reality to be what it is and adapt - in a few words, to find our own light.