The universe dissolves into me. Wonderful am I! Adoration to Myself! For when the world, from its highest god to its least blade of grass, dissolves, that destruction is not mine. Astavakra Samhita
I'm sitting in my garden, soaking in the last glimmers of the longest day – Midsummer’s Day - as it finally begins to fade into night. I am wishing I could hold back the end of this day, prevent the dying of this precious light. I remember back to the bright morning when I arose, fresh sunshine flooding in from the East. I breathed in the cool air. Working at home I spent the warm afternoon on the patio as the sun moved across the sky, slowly heading down towards the western horizon.
Now the day is fast dissolving, its demise beyond my control. As I look up into the swiftly darkening sky – it’s nearly ten o'clock - I see a bat out on the wing, radar working as it searches for its evening meal.
This, the longest day in the northern hemisphere, is my favourite day. I imagine ancient druids honouring the light at Stonehenge. I think of the journey of the planet round the sun that means we in the north, now at the height of summer, are now also about to enter autumn. A slight shudder ripples down my spine as I breathe in the cooling evening air.
And I realize, before I feel I’ve taken it in, that this long day is practically over. Gone. Ah! If only I could prolong it. If only I could leap back to the fresh morning and open my arms again to the young sun.
In the midst of this inescapable process I awaken to who I really am. I re-discover here in my innermost being a day so long it has neither beginning nor end. Time, tearing my heart as it slips through my fingers, eases through this Day leaving no wound. Here is no time, no change, no loss, no heartache.
In his nineties, a friend told me his life had flashed by in the blink of an eye. Sometimes this thought frightens me. But his description - or warning – also had a positive effect. It reminds me to pay attention to my true nature, to see that things arise and disappear in this deathless being. Here in the centre of myself is no-thing and no-one. This open space, this first and last, and lasting, silence, precisely because it is absolutely no-thing, is ever-present and indestructible. Here is the place where I can rest and simply be - so simply! - in the midst of this untameable, unpredictable, ungraspable river of Life.
Now, as I listen to birdsong and to a children's party in a neighbouring garden - every sound dissolving into silence - I am thankful I can hear that which doesn't pass.
The longest day – lasting for a moment in this endless Day.
The Buddha said, You can’t by going reach that place where there is no death and no sorrow. You reach it, obviously, by the opposite: Progress inward and you find this wonderful Country of Everlasting Clearness. (Interview with Douglas Harding – His Life and Philosophy.
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