A Wounded Winter
Winter holidays have always brought weird feelings to me. But in either case, this year is a little bit different. Although I still maintain peripheral connections with Christianity, this year, I feel less connected with the outward celebrations of the winter holidays than I do the mystical celebration of this time of year. My Christian friends have entered the season of Advent, the time of waiting before the major feast days of Christmas. It seems that I am connecting to this spirit of preparation, this mystical spirit of retreat, which is deeply calling me. At least that is how the Universe, Dharmakaya, whatever you want to call it is calling me to deal with my woundedness this winter season.
Winter holidays are always a tough time for me. I have a wonderful sangha, family and great friends that I am immensely grateful for. But, winter reminds me sometimes that I am ultimately alone. I don’t know if this is good or bad. But I know that at least in relative terms, there is an emptiness in my heart that I can feel. It’s something that I have to work on every year. Maybe, this is what Chögyam Trungpa refers to as my wound … the raw open wound that needs to be tickled by the world outside. Maybe, this is what winter is all about … a season when we let down our armor and let our wounds be tickled. Or in more peaceful terms, time to commune with the basic space of what is.
Winter is a spacious time, but I also find it to be my wounded time. My time to explore my woundedness in greater detail, to spend time introspecting, and reflecting. In Tibetan Buddhist circles, the time before the new year is also a time to actively work towards averting obstacles in the coming year and one of the ways Tibetan Buddhists do that is the practice of Vajrakilaya (a very wrathful yidam or practice deity) – and I have been extremely fortunate to have been authorized to engage in this practice. The practice is definitely doing something .. very subtly. I can also say that combining it with the practice of mindfulness is opening new pathways in my mind, and ripening it.
Maybe woundedness is not such a bad thing, maybe it’s the universe telling me something. It may be a good thing, but it hurts. It’s what makes the feeling of woundedness such a dilemma for me, especially this time of year. On the one hand, I feel like I should take the bull by the horns and take advantage of this precious moment in time to grow, but on the other hand this season is one where the pain of my heart is probably the greatest. There’s no neat happy ending to this little reflection, but maybe that’s the way it should be.