How do you awaken after a long slumber, or emerge from deep meditation?
How do you emerge from winter slowness, from the season of hibernation?
Meditation traditions teach that slow, conscious emergence from the depths allows time to bring insights back to the surface and apply them to your waking life.
Emerging slowly from sleep allows time to listen to your dream messages, or even just to catch a subtle feeling from the dream world, to contemplate during your day.
Becoming a medial
In this way, you cultivate the art of becoming a medial, a traveller between the worlds of soul and everyday life.
Jungian storyteller, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, says that we need medials: people who dip into the realms of soul and bring back much-needed wisdom to infuse into the life of the culture. Medials bring vision and inspiration. They bring expanded approaches to the problems of a struggling world.
‘I have a dream,’ said Martin Luther King in his famous speech that propelled the civil rights movement, inspiring thousands to arise in a movement for justice.
His was a big dream, with a big impact. But small dreams matter too, as we will see later.
In the southern hemisphere seasonal cycle, right now nature is demonstrating awakening.
Awakening isn’t always easy. For a moment nature throws off the bonds of winter, bestowing warmth and calm, and in the next plunges back into the chaos of high winds, snow, hail, and rain.
Sometimes it seems that turbulent awakening will never settle into steadiness.
But it will.
Nature in the bush
Recently on a wild day, I found a bush trail that led to a grove of calm. To enter the trail I had to pause and be conscious; brush my shoes vigorously at the cleaning station, then spray them and promise myself to stay on the track as requested.
Kauri dieback is threatening our native giants and all spores must be eliminated from the feet before entering the forest. I was aware of the privilege of being allowed to enter this area, knowing that most tracks were closed. I welcomed the initiation ritual as a way of staying conscious.
I came around a curve in the path and stood in wonder at what I saw. A long line of nīkau palms stood like sentinels on either side. The forest floor was layered with a network of dead fronds, a floating latticework. Above my head, many of the pillar-like trunks had put out pink flowering stems. Even higher, amidst the bright green spring fronds, I heard the whoosh-whoosh that signalled the presence of kererū, who had come to feed in this cathedraled space.
Nature was awakening, quietly and steadily in a protected zone. Birds were feeding.
Spring was arriving.
When I returned to my room in the Retreat Centre where I was staying, I knew something was awakening in me too. My ground was once again being nourished by nature.
At night the clear sight of the new moon and Venus high in the sky continued to call me into the work of a medial, to journey to realms of the soul and capture the messages.
Here is some of what the nīkau said:
Counter grief with resolve
Don’t give up
Create actions of hope
Small actions count
Listen for inspiration
I emerged with renewed intention to keep contributing to the welfare of the earth and not to flag. Even though I may grow weary of the petitions, I will continue to sign and support those who are doing the heavy lifting.
Sleep, dreams, and awakening
Remember to make soul journeys. Awaken from them slowly and consciously. Return with something — even a fragment, maybe inspiration for a new response to the ailments of this earth; something that becomes a contribution. No matter how small, your gift matters.
Alone, we can do little. Together we can do much.
P.S, Would you like to discover how to awaken to the seasonal cycle of the southern hemisphere?