As the days become shorter and the light diminishes, we naturally turn inward even though we may still be quite busy in the month of October. This is a natural tendency, and if we honor it, we may find that the dark times to come in winter are a little easier to bear.
But turning inward, what do we find? If we are too busy, overcommitted, and scattered, the process of turning may prove unpleasant and stressful instead of calming and peaceful. Examine your schedule, and see what can be eliminated in order to allow yourself a little time for quieting the inner self this autumn. I recently turned down a speaking engagement that I would have enjoyed immensely, simply because I have enough on my plate right now, and I need to preserve my “inward” time in order to stay functional and healthy.
Once we clear a little time, we can ground and center ourselves. Many of you are probably familiar with the classic “put down roots, branches reach up” meditation where one imagines oneself as a tree. Here is my autumn variation of the visualization.
Find a quiet place (either inside or outside), and plan to spend 15-20 minutes in quiet thought. Sit comfortably and slow your breathing. As in the classic tree meditation, envision your roots growing downward into the earth, and branches reaching up to the sky. Imagine your branches covered with green leaves. Sit for a minute or two and become comfortable with the visualization.
Now, imagine that you sense in your roots that autumn is here. Darkness grows, and you begin to feel your leaves change. Sense the change, as your leaves gradually become golden or orange. Sense your life energy coming inward, away from your leaves and branches, and down to your roots. As this process accelerates, you feel your leaves gradually being released and floating down to the ground all around you. You draw inward and downward, as you deepen your bond to the Earth. Your branches are bare. You are fully grounded, and ready for the cold.
Slowly allow yourself to become aware of your surroundings, and re-emerge into your day, grounded and at peace.