As you surely already know, we are in the midst of a long-term period of intense global change and discomfort. And things are going to worsen before they appear to get better, whatever that might mean to you.
More than ever, our spiritual practice is vital to sustaining us every day, and in every moment in every day, without exception. When we can be with ourselves without anything added for several moments a day, perhaps gradually extending that to longer periods of time or more frequent moments of stillness and pure being-ness each day, we are practising living with reality.
Spiritual practices are designed to sustain us through life‘s ups and downs, not to make us comfortable. They’re not hobbies or pleasant distractions that get set aside because things are too difficult. If we have genuinely learned the essence of the teachings we’ve been studying for so long, we know that they are especially valid in their total application when life shakes our courage.
Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.
~ Tilopa, Mahamudra
Tilopa was a 10th century Bengali Buddhist monk. His advice might seem implausible for the mind that feels Something. Must. Be. Done. Now. However, if we develop patience and mental clarity, our actions will be far more beneficial than if we are driven by the “need” to do something. The ego wants to fix and change things, but a clear mind does what is necessary in the moment, as it arises, and without assuming to know better.
The Virgo New Moon on September 17th is a perfect opportunity to examine what we can and must heal, transforming and adopting daily habits that will allow us to be more balanced humans. A new moon is an opportunity to review everything and start afresh each month, and in Virgo we can work with the theme of purifying ourselves – not in a puritanical way, but in a way that allows us to strip away everything that is unnecessary so we can focus on truly life-affirming behaviours.
This can include overcoming addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, porn or whatever else the mind can get attached to, or identifying and reducing the distractions and activities we unconsciously move towards in order to look the other way when feeling lost. Or, it can be as straightforward as reviewing our shopping habits to ensure they are sufficiently sustainable that our grandchildren won’t resent us for our selfishness as they deal with suffering we cannot yet imagine. A healthy use of Virgo energy also represents selfless service and thoughtful planning, just what the world needs most.
The next few days are ideal for setting ourselves on a completely new course in our attitudes to health in body, mind, and spirit, as well as the health of the body and spirit of Mother Earth. We have an opportunity now to foster something in our community that will sustain us through this turbulent process of change. What could that look like where you are? Who is your community?
There is no guaranteed outcome even if we behave like good boys and girls, and no new-age messiah will drop down from a mythical sky to rescue us. We are the adults in the room. We appear to be on a course to extinction as a species, bringing many other species with us as we exit all guns blazing in the centuries – or perhaps decades – ahead. So, the best we can do now is heal this moment, make it matter in a life-affirming way, so the next moment can be an improvement over this one to the best of our abilities.
We can’t control the future, and individually we can’t prevent what has happened and will happen collectively, but we can do our part to improve our own experience of life and that of those around us to the degree possible, and however and wherever possible according to our life purpose and skills.
We’re entering another phase of renewed concern over the spread of this pandemic with all of the uncertainty that brings. Our existential fears are played upon by a devilish combination of misinformation (both deliberate and accidental) coming from people and governments who are stirring up conspiracies, none of which should be (entirely) believed, plus an instinctive mistrust of government and authority, stirred up by the long-foreseen revolutionary energies that have most people wanting the world to change… albeit with radically different and conflicting visions.
Even more than usual, we must step back and question the veracity of what we have been told what we are hearing all around us in such a way that we are only concerned with what we can know to be true, and act upon it in the most healing and loving way possible.
A couple of years ago I spoke of our current period of time when the environment, the economy, the financial system, and our social system would be in a state of collapse and rapid change, and we are not yet out of this phase. Uranus in Taurus is speeding up the transformation of industries and technology, and especially land and agricultural management, in the same way it did in the 1930s.
This long journey is made up of short steps and every breath you take, made more mindful and more bearable by remaining aware of this moment as often as possible… this breath… this next step.
The Virgo New Moon, although promising in terms of new starts and a new impetus for improvement, is also squaring the lunar nodes suggesting a confrontation yet again between individual desires and collective ambitions. This is on top of that same, already acute message from Mars (action, drive, assertion, aggression) in self-focused Aries at a hard angle to Saturn (restrictions, limitations, rules) and Pluto (power dynamics and transformation) over the next few weeks. This signifies struggles between individual actions and intentions challenging the restrictions and boundaries set by authorities as represented by Saturn, whether they be government authorities or the higher authority of time, which Saturn also represents, but appears not to be on our side as too little is being done to protect our natural home while we squabble over crumbs.
This new moon is one of three coming up (next in Libra then Scorpio) that are extremely close to the Earth. The tides are strongly affected by the moon and I look forward to being at Mont St Michel for a weekend visit, fresh air and fresh vistas, while the tide there will be the highest of the entire year.
Wherever you are these days, you might also like to honour your ancestors at this special new moon traditionally dedicated to ancestors, which in India is called Sarva Pitru Amavasya. It marks the end of a fortnight devoted to our ancestors (beginning just before the last full moon). The most auspicious time for offering prayers and donations (ex. feeding the hungry or offering money to charity in the name of deceased relatives) continues today (16 September) through tomorrow at around 13:00 CET.
If you feel you would like to do something to mark this special time, I have just led a guided meditation on this theme, and the recording is on SoundCloud here.
With much love and light as always,