Winter in the Sierras
Photo by Ian Parker
The winter solstice will arrive at 9:47 tomorrow morning here in California between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the easternmost waters of the Pacific Ocean.
I like to re-affirm my deepest intentions at the solstices and equinoxes. For me, these occasions are like quarterly New Year's resolution sessions occurring in Mother Earth time.
As for me, I plan to renew my intention to cultivate the seven factors of awakening—seven factors that the Buddha is said to have taught some 2500 years ago, and are still worth pondering today. (I often think of the Buddha as one of the world's greatest teachers. Not many of us have people thinking about our teachings for 25 centuries; ordinary teachers like me are happy if our students remember what we've taught for 25 seconds!)
In any event, those seven factors of enlightenment, in case you're wondering what I'm seeking to cultivate are:
- Mindfulness (sati) i.e. to be aware and mindful in all activities and movements both physical and mental
- Investigation (dhamma vicaya) into the nature of the world and of the teachings of Buddha
- Energy (viriya)
- Joy (piti)
- Ease (passaddhi) of both body and mind
- Concentration (samadhi)
- Equanimity (upekkha), to be able to face life in all its vicissitudes with calm of mind and tranquillity, without disturbance.