Yesterday, I took a walk in the woods, up a Vermont hill. Snow was icy hard, or softly melting, depending on where I stepped. Deer, squirrel and human tracks led the way. The sun lit up a path off the trail. I followed the sun and visited young deciduous trees with mossy bark. Far below me was the blue white expanse of frozen Lake Iroquois. We had come to Vermont to visit my husband's brother, newly on hospice. Our conversations with him were relaxed and jovial. We covered everything from childhood memories to best ways to manage prolonged power outages in very cold weather, to how death may be greeted like any other fellow we know fairly well.
In the forest, the icy stillness of winter is softening into the hope of spring. Dark bark at the base of trees had reflected the sun's heat, softening the snow. Just a month ago, every bird was conserving energy for survival, fluffing feathers into tiny tanks of insulation. But on this day, I heard the frivolity of a chick-a-dee dee dee. Back home before leaving, I had heard the trill of the downy woodpecker, loosening its voice in dreams of mating.
My brother in law is softening the grip on the life he knows. Winter teaches me to loosen my own icy grip on all that I freeze into permanence in my life. Joke is on all of us, there is no such thing as permanence. This is a sales pitch given by the mind to the heart. The heart wants to believe in forever, yet in its wild pulsatile way, it surrenders to the unknown.
This week we are exploring the kundalini yoga teaching of the arcline: an idea that every human has a halo of light.
My personal experience of being a human with an arcline is this: it is extraordinarily helpful. Within my arcline, I stash every good intention, for self and others. I stash every humble prayer. I beam the possibility of intention becoming conscious action. But ah-here's the thing- the arcline commands that surrender is the alloy, fusing all of this together. Here, the heart reminds the arcline: surrender is the ultimate prayer.