The Cave and the Candle

It feels good to be writing a healing column again for the Shopper after a four month hiatus at my request. Something in me urged me to “take some time off” from writing this column and I am very grateful that the wonderful folks at the Shopper allowed me a few months break to recharge. My plan was to focus on a proposal for a new book idea I wanted to write, and maybe event to begin to write it.

And then I had a dream of a bear that knocked me for a loop. This bear seemed angry, or at least needed some attention from me. Now bear is an animal that sometimes comes to me when I meditate; a friend in the non-material realm. I think we all have those kind of friends, whether they be in the form of spirit guides or music notes or loved ones moved on to other realms or things you sense but just can’t explain. But I had never before dreamed of a bear, let alone an angry bear.

Shortly afterwards, on a New Hampshire sojourn looking for a moose (which I have yet to see), bear showed up twice nearby – once rummaging in garbage a stone’s throw from our camping spot. This was a physical bear, of course!

What was bear trying to tell me, I wondered? More importantly, I asked myself, what was I really feeling like doing? I realized I just wanted to go into my cave, or maybe my bear den, and retreat from the world.
I think we all have our own caves that we create or make or discover within and beyond ourselves. Those dark and withdrawn possibilities where we just rest in effortless emptiness. In the business of our everyday life and modern society with its offerings of endless stimulation and excitement, we sometimes lose track of our cave, our retreat, our quiet spot, our silence. Periodically retreating to this space can be an important part of our mental and physical health and well-being.

I was reminded of this poignantly the other day at work. Due to my office being remodeled, I was spending lots of time in the campus library, working from a desk on the second floor. I came back from a fast coffee one mid-afternoon to find on my work desk a photocopied article that someone had written comments on in blue pen. Intrigued, I picked it up and read the handwritten comment first. This is what it said:

“I am not sure who left this article here but thank you very much. It reminded me of something very important I have been losing in my life lately; something we do not have much of these days and we all need. “
I then looked at the article itself – the title was “The Importance of Silence.”

In our own dens, in our own caves, we can access that silence of the soul. In that quiet and dark space oftentimes we find light and the answers we were looking for, just as we finally give up looking for them.

That is what happened to me this time. As my hiatus from writing this article came to a close, I realized how much I was looking forward to writing this article and I also felt a bit disappointed that my ambitious plans for writing did not come to pass. Or so I thought. Until just two days before I needed to write my article for the Shopper. And all of the sudden, in a two hour period, I was able to conceive and write down clearly what my next writing project will be, and it turns out to be something quite different than I thought I would be. Isn’t that how life often goes.

We are all entering the dark period of the year, when in our part of the globe we have to confront the darkness outside and – sometimes – within. It is a time that calls upon our interior light and strength to get us through, and not fall into despair or depression. Yet it also holds such wonderful potential to surprise us with gifts of candle light and illumination.


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