Below is an exert from the poetic mastery of Debra Kaatz book ‘Character of Wisdom’
Great stillness and meditation comes with Winter. The landscape is frozen and all the trees are bushes are bare limbed like great bones. It is the time when the blue black turtle of the north meditates within his shell while the seeds of late summer sleep deep within the Earth, Winter silences the world with coldness, ice and snow. It is the time of the shortest day and the longest night. It is a time of survival when we gather the fire to keep warm and survive the extreme temperatures.
Winter is also the time when snow and rain replenish the springs within the earth and fill the reservoirs for the coming year. The Chinese feel that we should follow the seasons. Winter is the time to guard our reserves by staying warm, eating well and using the shortened days to draw deeper inside and to contemplate the mysteries of life. Winter is the element of water that gives us our reservoirs and reserves of energy.
Winter gives rest, peace and calm to the cycle of life. We need growth as well as this calm quiet time to balance life. Here in the quiet dark wintry nights full of frost we can see the perfect reflection of the moon on the still frozen lakes. In stillness we can deepen this inner light within ourselves. The chinese say, to really hear the words of wisdom one must listen to them in quietness and allow the layers of meaning to energise slowly. In this way they can penetrate our soul with great depth and meaning.
Life came out of the great oceans and it is water that continues to constantly nourish all life. The deepness of the seas and the darkness of the oceans are mysterious and hold the secrets of profound depth. In the stillness of the quiet calm lakes the heavens are mirrored with perfection.
In order to flow well in life we need the qualities of water of being able to rebalance extremes, of being still and pure in our own essence, of being unafraid of plunging forward, and of being able to reach profound depths. In this way the pure flowing stream of vibrant water is a picture of the passage of life itself.
It has been said that fear is governed by our sense of ourself. When we trust, then this trust dissolves all fear and regret.
As we stand on the border of reality we are afraid of losing our identity. But when we are able to trust that nature, it will guide us. We then step forward and glimpse the Tao and are at one with the entire universe.
The ancients argue that by meditation we could be shown our inner nature, and in that way we could be able to see the holy aspects within ourselves. These inner gods have both gifts of knowledge and power. To accept these gifts one must give up fear. The ancients argued that one must trust the gods for they would never betray because one cannot be betrayed by oneself. When we come to the place where we have to lose our created identity, and open ourselves to what comes within nature, then we may be afraid of being destroyed. The ancients argued that to return to the Tao was to become one with nature and although our form may change our essence would always be the same. When we can see and completely trust what is before us then we can taste the profound ultimate beauty of nature.
But when we are able to trust that nature, it will guide us. We then step forward and glimpse the Tao and are at one with the entire universe.