Today, I saw this posted on my FB feed by a friend. There are few better ways to instill a sense of the Buddhist notion of the “beginner’s mind” than to look up into a snowstorm. The swirling chaos of snow is a fabulous way to get in touch with the true nature of the world– uncontrollable, disorienting, and profoundly beautiful.
Winter is coming (at least up here in the Great Frozen North) and it offers many challenges, including, for some, seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD appears to be related to a person’s circadian rhythm, melatonin and seratonin levels, although the actual cause is unknown. Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, many people struggle against the dark season, and it is precisely this struggle that I am thinking about today. What are the chances that complaining about, struggling with, and denying the winter season will have an effect on the season itself? Not too great, I am thinking. Where does the energy to do all that struggling, complaining and denying come from? It comes from our limited personal energy supply. So, what do you think would happen if you took all that energy that goes to those unproductive behaviours and put it toward “rolling out the red carpet” to winter and its dark mysteries, inviting in its potential for interior reflection and cosy long evenings? Into walking (carefully) in the icy bright air and feeling the cold, and then warming up inside somewhere and feeling that, too. What would happen if, the next time it snows those big fat flakes, you just tip your head up into its exuberant dance and think “this is the secret of life!”?