“The black moment is the moment when the real message of
transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes
the light.” – Joseph Campbell
As we move through the darkest days of the year and toward the winter solstice
and the light, I am thinking of the hero’s journey. I am thinking of the stellar
culmination of our first fall Practice 200 hour yoga teacher training, and I am
thinking of transformation.
The winter Solstice marks the shortest day/the longest night of the year in the
northern hemisphere. From this day moving forward each day becomes longer.
Hooray! Solstice celebration marks the returning of the light, the warmth, the
To be fair, the darkness affords us the opportunity to come inside and take
stock of ourselves. It is a time to turn the attention inward and explore our own
shadows. To clear out the cobwebs and to bravely go where we may not want to
go! Courage and commitment to walking the path of truth is founded in darkness.
Darkness is fertile ground for the seeds of change.
This journey into and out of darkness is one of transformation. It is a hero’s
journey, because it takes a heroic effort to manifest change. The Practice
Teacher Training just ending is a perfect example of such a journey. Each of
these beautiful heroes stood bravely and slayed dragons that had surely held
them hostage before. Each found ways to shine so bright that they certainly
surprised themselves. They/we began as a group of individuals and ended as a
sacred circle of friendship, support and commitment to personal and collective
integrity. It is a proud moment for all, for PRACTICE!
(The next teacher training begins in February! It will surely change your life!)
To me, ultimately the hero’s journey is everyday of my life on and off the
mat. It is the Practice of cultivating awareness of thoughts, words and actions
in relationship with my loved ones, my community, and myself. It is living on
my growing edge and working all the time to be connected to infinite love and
compassion and not be limited by fear. It is the commitment to being awake and
present in each moment of life, grateful for the gifts before my very eyes.
This Native American Parable speaks volumes:
The Creator had this precious gift and needed to hide it somewhere where
no one would easily find it. So he gathered the animals and asked their advice.
The eagle said” I know I will fly it to the moon. No one will find it there. The
creator replied, “Good idea, but I don’t know I think those people will build rockets
and get it.”
The Buffalo said, Oh I know I will dig a deep hole in the earth and bury it.
They will never find it. The Creator shook his head, well, I think they will. The
salmon said, “ok I’ve got it:” I will swim it to the bottom of the ocean and hide it
there. “Not bad really” said the creator, “but I just know those people will find a
way.” Finally the little mole spoke up. “ I know”, he said, “Hide it inside of them.”
"Perfect!” the creator replied, “It is the last place they’re going to look."
The hero’s journey insists on the looking. Looking is key! Opening
the eyes and the heart! Waking up! The very idea of looking is revolutionary!
As Guruji said, “Eyes are closing, Sleep is coming.”
“The main sin is inadvertence, not being attentive to life,
to the moment you are in, to its mystery, to what is happening
right here now. When that is there, and realize that the whole
mystery and void is shining through at you, you are there."