Photo Credit: Mayur Gala, Unsplash
The earth tilts in its circle around the sun. In the north Summer Solstice arrives—the longest day and shortest night. Linear time goes along until Christmastide, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa celebrations. The tilt reaches the longest night at Winter Solstice, then begins a journey back to summer. Summer Solstice is a celebration of being here, in this moment, right now.
The unstable weather follows patterns created by multiple forces, which we describe with language like “the Intertropical Convergence Zone, “ or “a polar vortex,” or “a dangerous meteorological phenomenon with the potential to cause damage.” Meanwhile walkers, runners, gardeners, and outdoor lovers experience weather in the moment. We associate moods with seasons—with the darker, wintery part of the year more somber and meditative, and the summery part more jubilant and energetic.
I reread my earlier commentaries about Summer Solstice in the Nature as Transformer section of this website. In Spiritual Seasonings: Recipes for Body and Soul the year follows an ancient agricultural calendar that makes some sense of our fickle and unstable world. It divides the year into the four solar directions and the four cross-quarters midway between them, altogether eight seasonal markers.
Each eighth part of the year explores a different way of experiencing time.
Lughnasadh: Linear Time
Autumn Equinox: Synchronous Time
Samhain: Past Time
Winter Solstice: Braided Time
Imbolc: Future Time
Vernal Equinox: Relative Time
Beltaine: Mythic Time
Summer Solstice: Present Time – Now
Circular Time is how we live in the Now: the day circles between dark and light, the week circles in sevens, the months in twelves, each year a circle around the sun.
“Now” holds embedded truths. Being in the Now gives up past and future tenses (all linear time). Now is at the Center of all Circular Times. Only when living in the present moment can we experience those times. There is no-time-but-now-and-now-and-now.
Betting on Our Life in a Chancy World
In a blog about Geoffrey Chaucer I explored making choices in the Now; we have free will. We bet on our life with choice after choice after choice.
We bet in a fickle and unstable world. How do we know where to place our bet? Know which choice to make? In the moment we decide, our next moment is in a different reality than the one we were in before. We can choose again; each moment in the Now holds the opportunity of a new trajectory helping us navigate a world floating in myriad realities. Begin here: everything other than the moment in which we are living is a construct of our mind.
We’re constantly betting that a particular path will yield the results we want in this chancy world. We create our life journey from the choices we make for each choice sets in motion a result, a returning energy. By living in the Now we determine if the path makes us more or less alive; hard path or easy doesn’t matter as long as it quickens our soul.
We gather in groups whose mental constructs often match and reinforce our own choices and journeys.
I have family members who are game masters, playing war games with teams assembled from around the world. In my life I’ve come to believe the War Games played by nation states are no more or less real, for our “enemy” is a construct, changed by the decade or century to friend or foe, fueling profits for the war industries while killing the people, especially young ones, both physically and emotionally.
- Violence is the choice of a Victim/Persecutor construct. My husband was outside in his wheelchair admiring the spring strawberries when a barely-teen person got out of the back seat of a passing car, picked up a rock, ran up to him and hit him with it. Running back to the car he was cheered by the gang inside. Early training session. The current internet modalities are much more efficient, with major sites programmed to steer searchers into a path of violent choices. Positive alternatives are being developed exploring nonviolent ways for our world.
- The Episcopal Church in America made a path from choices in my lifetime: first, women serving the bread and wine at the altar (not just permitted to do Altar Guild’s vital work of cleaning, mending, polishing pre/post the services). The next steps were women priests, and then a woman bishop. A black woman bishop. A gay priest. A gay bishop. A black Archbishop. Some people left the Episcopal church over these choices; some people joined. Now, some men join their church’s altar guild to help iron the fair linen.
- The eight-season calendar works in the northern hemisphere but reverses in the southern. Around the equator the seasons are summer, Little Rainy and Big Rainy. If we decided to divide the year into sixteen seasons we couId find and explore eight more concepts of time. In truth there is only the Now of each season and we to love and celebrate each moment.
Other people offer or confront us daily with their understanding of truth, their “take on it.” We can deny the idea or dismiss the person or destroy the whole tribe. Or, knowing there is only Now, to hear that individual’s expression of self, we can be present to hear what is said. When we offer respect and understanding Now, something opens between us and is given a chance to breathe.
St. Bede the Venerable (c. 673-735 CE), Westminster Cathedral. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
The One Constant
The ultimate Mystery of Being, the ultimate Truth, is Love. This is the essential structure of reality. When Dante spoke of the ‘love which moves the sun and the other stars’, he was not using a metaphor, but was describing the nature of reality. There is in Being an infinite desire to give itself in love and this gift of self in love is forever answered by a return of love … and so the rhythm of the universe is created.”
— Venerable Bede
In the Now, we are moving in the rhythm of the infinite’s desire to give itself in love, to be forever answered by our love. Now is living in that one constant, and to be a constant of love in this fickle and unstable world of shifting realities.
That love exists everywhere on this planet, and is evident to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. When I bind myself up in mental constructs (especially my To Do Calendar) I find it much harder to Be Here Now.
Rumi from Night and Sleep, translated by Robert Bly
(Shared with permission)
We should ask God
To help us towards manners. Inner gifts
Do not find their way
To creatures without just respect.
If a man flails about, he not only
Smashes his house,
He burns the world down.
If a woman flails about, she not only
Smashes her house,
She burns the world down.
Your depression is connected to your insolence
And refusal to praise. Whoever feels one’s self walking
On the path, and refuses to praise – that one
Steals from others every day – is a shoplifter!
The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels only began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes near.
The moment the foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.
Created to be Lovers of Life
We are created to be lovers of life, and joyful in our journeys. We have, at any given moment, complete riches, or nothing, or something in between. What we have, where we are, what we are doing, changes like the sea in a storm. What is constant is Love, and we choosing to Return Love.
In making a choice we can ask helpful questions:
- Is this a loving choice?
- Does this action foster love?
- Will this decision upset the rhythm of loving/returning love?
- Is my foot on a path of love?
In choosing a friend or a world leader we can ask:
- Does this person foster love in the world?
- Can this person turn and bend, or are they stiff and sure their view is the only one?
- Are loving words coming out of this person’s mouth?
- Does this person have manners, offering respect and understanding to difference? Do I?
In living Now, in each moment, we might pray something like this:
- I am opening myself to this moment with joy.
- I am loving the living earth beneath my feet, the sky above, the sea and all the waters.
- I am listening to the rhythm of love between the sun and the earth, and the poles as they turn and shift to balance one another.
- Love, lead me where I need to be.
- I will risk loving in each meeting with another being.
- I will view new ideas, new realities through my lens of love.
- When I walk in a room let love flow to the one who needs it.
- Let me rise in the morning and live the day fully present in Right Now.
Thank you for exploring Summer Solstice: NOW with me this year.
If you have thoughts or comments on this piece, find the comment box at the end of the blog. You can also email me, and I can share your idea or comment with your permission.