September 2012 The Spirituality of Autumn

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September Visitors

I'm glad to see our friends come:
talk, laughter, food, wine.

I'm glad to see our friends go:
solitude, emptiness, gardens,
autumn wind. 

"September Visitors" by David Budbill, from Happy Life. 
© Copper Canyon Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now

  We may only be experiencing a fledgling start to Autumn at present, but the weather is so freakish and unpredictable these days so it's as good a time as any to start some reflections on the season.

This music is amazing and seems just right for the start of September.
I've never seen this type of instrument before. 

Hang Drum Duo

Click here for my reflection last year on Seasons and Changing Sensations

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Click here for a lovely 2010 article from Christine Valters Paintner
on The Invitations of Autumn : with some suggestions for spiritual practices of the season and more here.

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Artist Anton Pavlenko

The passage below is an extract from a rich "mulch" of reflections on the Spirituality of the Autumn Season by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. 

The full article is here at Spirituality and Practice.

"As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in the fall, we are reminded that nature's cycles are mirrored in our lives. 

Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. All the religious traditions pay tribute to such acts of relinquishment. 

Fall is the right time to practice getting out of the way and letting Spirit take charge of our lives.

In Kinds of Power James Hillman, the elder statesman of contemporary depth psychology, challenges us to learn from others about this: "For what the actor tries to achieve on stage is to 'get out of the way' so that the character he or she is portraying can come fully out. So, too, the writer and the painter; they have to get out of the way of the flow of the work onto the paper and the canvas."

Buddhist teacher Sharon Saltzberg, another of our Living Spiritual Teachers, writes in Lovingkindness about one of the offshoots of letting go: "Generosity has such power because it is characterized by the inner quality of letting go or relinquishing. Being able to let go, to give up, to renounce, to give generously — these capacities spring from the same source within us. When we practice generosity, we open to all of these liberating qualities simultaneously. They carry us to a profound knowing of freedom, and they also are the loving expression of that same state of freedom." Fall, then, is the perfect season to give generously of your time and talents to others.

Autumn reminds us of the impermanence of everything. We have experienced the budding of life in spring and the flowerings and profusions of summer. 

Now the leaves fall and bare branches remind us of the fleeting nature of all things. Jewish rabbi and writer Harold Kushner in The Lord Is My Shepherd suggests that when we contemplate fall's changes, we grow more appreciative of all the beauties that surround us:

"The poet Wallace Stevens once wrote, 'Death is the mother of beauty.' What those words say to me is that we cherish the beauty of a sunrise, of a New England autumn, of a relationship, of a child's hug, precisely because those things will not be around forever and neither will we be around to enjoy them."

Fall also brings home to our consciousness death and the challenge to live every day to the fullest. Susan Jeffers in Embracing Uncertainty gives us a spiritual practice to facilitate this twofold movement:

"I was once told that certain spiritual masters in Tibet used to set their teacups upside down before they went to bed each night as a reminder that all life was impermanent. And then, when they awoke each morning, they turned their teacups right side up again with the happy thought, 'I'm still here!' This simple gesture was a wonderful reminder to celebrate every moment of the day."

Finally, Cynthia Kneen, in Awake Mind, Open Heart shares an open heart practice to carry with you into the fall.

"When you are brave and have an open heart, you have affection for this world — this sunlight, this other human being, this experience. You experience it nakedly, and when it touches your heart, you realize this world is very fleeting. 

So it is perfect to say 'Hello means good-bye.' And also, 'My hope, hello again.' "

Spirit of The Living God Fall Afresh on Me

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