I’m awake at odd hours of the night, having just returned from teaching in China. Though the moon is waning, soft silvery light splashes into my room. Each changing phase evokes the feminine moon cycle; like the movement of ocean tides, women’s bodies are attuned to the rhythm of the moon.
The full moon is an ancient symbol of awakening, of the radiant, illuminated nature of consciousness itself . As the poet Izumi Shikibu (974-1034) wrote a thousand years ago: “Watching the moon. at dawn,. solitary, mid-sky,. I knew myself completely: no part left out.”
Can we appreciate all the phases of the moon, all the stages of our life? Can we see past the patterns of perception that too often eclipse the wonder of being alive? The lunar phases of birth, growth, fullness, then letting go little by little and vanishing into the mysterious darkness – these are the eternal cycles of all life.
Only a week ago, we celebrated Full Moon Festival at our week-long mindfulness meditation retreat outside of Beijing. At the end of evening practice, some of the men served traditional moon cakes to the women, and we sang “Moon River” together, a song Chinese people know! Together we reflected on which phase of the moon we are in at this time in our own lives. What about you?