Spring and Easter are not only arriving early this year, the beginning of the season is marked by tragedy and unrest. This seems so contrary to what this season means.
Springtime marks the end of the dark, cold season and the coming of light and warmth, bringing fertility to the earth. Throughout the world, people celebrate this season in their own traditional ways.
The colorful Hindu festival of Holi is one such festival. Its origins lie in ancient tales of the forces of good vanquishing the forces of evil. The festival begins with huge bonfires, to burn away the evil in the hearts of men. The next day is a day of comradeship and fun, spreading color everywhere, celebrating love.
After the events of last week, piled on top of all that has been happening in the world, it’s hard to enter into the lighthearted fun of spring celebrations. And even harder to believe in the powers of good triumphing over the powers of evil.
How can I celebrate the coming of the light when fear, paranoia, and hate seem to be taking over the world as we know it?
How can I believe in the renewal of fertility when we humans do everything we can to poison, pollute, and pillage the earth?
The words of a rock-song from the late 80’s come to mind, “How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?” (Midnight Oil).
I believe we must. No, none of us are able to change the world, as I’ve said before. But we must not let fear, paranoia, and hate enter our own hearts. Spring is about the renewal of hope, even if it is just a tiny spark. It’s up to us to blow it into a huge flame.
Kabir, a 15th century Indian mystic poet, wrote these beautiful words:
So, if you find it difficult to enter into the spirit of spring, this Easter, go out at night and find a place to sit in the dark. If you can’t find a place free of ambient light and/or noise, simply accept that this is so. Sit quietly, letting the dark enfold you, not searching for anything, just being present. Let whatever emotions come: fear, sadness, anger. Offer your tears and struggles to the dark.
Then reach deep down into your heart, bringing up that little spark of the love, compassion, or caring, you feel for the world. Feel its presence, beating inside you, like a little bird singing to the dawn.
Don’t stop caring. The earth renews its promise every spring. Let us renew our faith in the same way.