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There are several times in the year that mark the length of day versus night. The Solstices mark the longest day or the longest night – Summer holds the time of light, activity, the most Yang; Winter is a time of introspection, of calm and darkness, the most Yin. Between these polar opposites lie the Equinoxes and these are the times of balance. Even the name itself belies their nature: “equinox” from the Latin “aequus” (equal) and “nox” (night). So it is during this time that the day and night are of equal length and there is as much light as there is darkness.
As Jedi we are constantly striving to maintain that balance within ourselves. Some people choose to focus mainly on the activities and philosophies that can be described as “Light Side” while others, usually identifying as Sith, focus more on the “Dark Side”. There are many names for those that walk the line between but it is my opinion that we all harbour a little of each within us. That there are a million shades of grey that reflect our innate nature.
Consider the concepts of Yin and Yang. According to Taoist theory, everything in existence can be described as an expression of these terms. Midday is more Yang than midnight, the south pole is more Yin than the equator, a giant is more Yang than a dwarf yet a philosopher could be more Yin than a base jumper. Even within a set of parameters there is an almost infinite number of variations and it is therefore impossible to say that something is definitively “Yang” or “Yin” but only that is is “more Yang than” or “more Yin than” something else.
Now apply the terms Yin and Yang to Jedi matters. Someone might consider themselves a Light Jedi but another might see them as more Dark in nature when compared to their own intentions. We may even vary our opinion from moment to moment and that's ok too. If you choose to define yourself by a particular path, you are simply setting a goal. Sometimes you may wander from that path – a “Light Side Jedi” becoming angry over something trivial, perhaps? Allow yourself the compassion of recognising your mistakes and learn from them without too much guilt or shame.
It takes a lot of effort to balance the light and the dark within ourselves and sometimes we fail, tipping over into moments of depression or rage, or even slipping sublimely into naïve and blissful states of joy. Every moment is a lesson and every experience bears the fruit of understanding and knowledge if we can only see it from a neutral and balanced perspective. A severely depressed person cannot see the value in efforts to cheer up any more than a happy person can comprehend moments of misery.
So what can we do to achieve balance? There are many tools available to us as Jedi and as students of life. Techniques such as meditation, activities such as Qigong, even being able to rely on the impartial advice of others. All these can help us to restore and maintain a sense of balance; we often focus so much on the things that we can do for ourselves that we forget that there are others out there that can help us too.
But what about this time of year? What can the Equinox do for us? Well, the energies of this time are perfectly focused on each aspect of ourselves so why not take the time to examine them more fully. Take a moment to consider all of the things that you would like to remove from your life: actions that you have regret over, people that do you harm, behaviour that limits your growth, anything that can be considered part of the “dark side” of your life. With each of these things, acknowledge the part that it played in your own story, honour the lessons that may have sprung forth as a result, then when you are ready, let them go. Release your attachment and ask the Force to sever the ties and recycle those energies for whatever use it intends.
Take the next 5 minutes for reflection on this task. If you wish to have some introspective music playing, here is a suggestion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFIXKXYfEy0
Once you have completed this task to your own satisfaction, focus on the other aspect. Look at each part of your life that brings happiness, joy, contentment, peace. Think of the things that you cherish, the positive aspects of your character, your dreams and wishes for the future. Acknowledge each one of these and draw energy and strength from the Force to empower this “Light Side” of your being.
Take the next 5 minutes for reflection on this task. If you wish to have some introspective music playing, here is a suggestion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyi9rU_XvV0
Now that you have honoured each of these aspects within your own life, you have connected with the qualities of the Equinox. As beings of both physicality and spirit, we manifest our intentions into reality: with our thoughts we shape the world. So by reflecting the polarity of our nature, we celebrate the season. Blessed Be and May the Force Be With You!