By Michael Ketterhagen, PhD
Belief in the spiritual reality of life, namely, God,
“originates from the direct experience of Truth.
Belief based on direct experience is self-evident,
requiring no proof for its validity.”
-Swami Rama of the Himalayas, A Call To Humanity
One truth that all of us experience, unless we have let our mind shut it out, is the influence of the Sun and the Moon on our earthly existence. The moon, like the Super Moon this past Monday, March 9, not only changes the tides and brightens the evening landscape, but gently presides over all the Earth’s inhabitants during the dark times of the day, like a mother or sister who nurtures a child without the child even knowing it.
According to the yoga sage, Dattatreya, the moon is an incredible spiritual teacher as well. “It waxes and wanes and yet never loses its essence, totality or shape. From watching the moon,” Dattatreya says, “I learned that waxing and waning—rising and falling, pleasure and pain, loss and gain—are simply phases of life. While passing through these phases [like birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, “senior-hood,” and death], I never lose awareness of my true Self.”
Dattatreya is talking about our essential Self, our spiritual Self. He is talking about that core of ourselves that is loving and nurturing and brightens the darkest of times. It is that Self that we often forget when dark events in our lives make it hard to walk, hard to maneuver through life. That “true Self” is always there, just waning during the dark times.
It is the same way with the Sun. Its directness is such a healing force when we are ready for it or prepared to stand in the directness of a growth-filled, challenging life. Without the sun shining on our earth, it would be a cold rock of stone and sand with no vitality of greenness. Yet, we must be careful of our Sun because without the protection of the darkness of night and the cover of the atmosphere, the sun’s directness would burn us to a crisp. We must nurture and save our Earth’s protective atmospheric covering.
On the spiritual level, watching the sun draw water from everything, transforming it into clouds and distributing that water as rain on everything without favor teaches our sage, Dattatreya, that we must “gather knowledge from all sources, transform that knowledge into practical wisdom, and share it with all without preferring some recipients and excluding others.” The sun is never exclusive, so in practice we must never be exclusive. The field of climate science also teaches us that we must be practical when it comes to putting warming gases into the air.
Practicing reflective observation of the moon and sun, our sister and our brother in the solar system, teaches us much and allows us to sense the direct sharing of God’s wisdom. The Divine is constantly wanting to teach us about Itself and about our core Self.
These pre-Spring days of clouds and winds and full moons and sunny days are a great time for that reflection. These days and nights are a great time to grow in our understanding and belief of how God directly wants us to experience God’s Self by experiencing God’s Earth, our physical Mother.