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You need the shadows to appreciate the light

1-tree-of-light
Image from: www.virtualphotographystudio.com

I was speaking to a couple of students from my morning yoga class before we started today and commented about how great the weather was today. I said “I wish it could be like this all through winter”. The gentleman I was speaking to said “Would you still appreciate it though? You need the shadows to appreciate the light.” How true!
We humans never seem to know how good we have it until we lose it, do we? We need the contrasts of hot and cold, dark and light, pain and pleasure to really appreciate what we have right in front of us. The thing that we yogis are always striving for, though, is an equanimous mind. The mind that doesn’t change because of outside influences. The mind that stays as content when there is dark or shadow as we do in the light.
This concept is called Upekkha and goes beyond just feeling a contentment in our minds through any outside influence. It goes to expanding our loving kindness and compassion to all living beings. When we can remain blissful no matter our circumstances we find ourselves with more than enough bliss to spread to our fellow beings.
I guess cold weather is one of my challenges to an equanimous mind (trust me, there are more!). And I probably draw in to myself more in the winter months, finding myself with not quite so much to give. With winter coming up in a few months time I have another opportunity to change that around and find my bliss – even when I’m shivering!

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3 Comments on “You need the shadows to appreciate the light

  1. Such a nice reminder. Yes, the light is glorious, but would it shine quite so bright if it didn’t have the shadows to rest in, if we couldn’t appreciate it for what it is. Namaste.

  2. When I read Carlos Castaneda he spoke of decreasing the amount of environment that pervades your inner energy. It saps your power and leads to the opposite of your “equanimous mind” I do struggle with judgment in that way, and will benefit if I apply your knowledge today to changing some thought patterns.

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