This letter was written by Zach to be read aloud at an Equinox Celebration hosted at the farm last Saturday.
Greetings farmers and friends,
It’s a very nice thought to think this morning, as I write these words to you, that a mighty group of you are now gathered today and in this moment, on the verandah, in celebration, song, and appreciation of the fall equinox.
This occasion has true significance for each and all of us, as human-souls, incarnated as we all are, on this shared and floating ball in space, called Earth.
For one – there is the opportunity to remember and realize anew that we all are a part of something much greater than this little personhood of ‘myself’, or yourself.
First then, let’s take this moment to let go anew of that little self-identify that says, “I am this person”, “I am this way”, “I like these things”, “I dislike these things.” To let go of the little voice of the tiny-rebel-self, and relax into the peace and joy of the Spirit. For there is a much greater, cosmic and universal nature to our existence.
This deeper understanding of our own life is represented and made manifest, in such holy occasions, holi-days, as the equinox: the day, twice a year, when the dark and light, day and night, of creation are equalized. When our planet’s relationship to the sun, which it circles about like a disciple to his/her Master, becomes perfectly balanced.
And yet, all of creation functions in the basic reality of a dual, or two-sided, nature. Good and bad, life and death. Often for many days, weeks, months of the year, one side of the coin of creation is stronger than the other. Ask a farmer about summer – and the winter. Ultimately, they balance each other out – and yet, in a given moment, we can be swung in one direction of the pendulum of life, much moreso than the other.
In a simplified understanding, we come to realize this duality of creation has its very source in our own breath – the breath of Creation itself. That which we do every moment of the day – breathe – is the same back and forth, up and down pattern for all of Life. Inhalation – Exhalation – repeating on into infinite, as long as Creation itself continues.
As Yogi’s, we begin to recognize this pattern of back and forth, up and down, from the inside-out of one’s own life experience; and with it, the corresponding need to swing less in one extreme, and rather, to stay true to the course, in the center.
Just beyond the surface of the breath, there is a deeper reality. Just between the inhalation and the exhalation of life, there is a vast and happy place. In this space one finds the singular reality of life; the equinox of our own perfected Soul Nature.
Yesterday, as a group of us practiced yoga together in a high mountain meadow, we were joined by Elliot, 6, and Charlotte, 8. They are 2 of the 3 children of the Muir Trail Ranch owners, Hilary and Luke, here in the High Sierra, where currently 6 of us in the spirit of the farm are joining them in heart and hand.
As brother Kyle led us in a seated twist, our legs and lower body all faced forward, while our torsos and heads rotated about, so as to look behind us. Elliot, the delightful, impish, hot sauce loving 6-year old shouted, “What is it!?”, trying to figure out what exactly we were all twisted around to look at. One can easily imagine the situation through his eyes – we all were turned around and looking back towards the forest together, as if focused on some common object of interest. A bear? A person? What are you all looking at?
And yet, for those who have practiced yoga and the refreshing release of a good spinal twist, the object of interest is of course not outside or behind. But rather, it is on the inside that one’s mind-energy-awareness become focused. This is like seeing beyond the external reality of life, which knows everything as dual – into the Source of Spirit beyond and yet within.
It has been on this same trip, that beloved farm dog apprentice, Barley, was given his spiritual name: Ram Dog. In some very opportune moments, he has become our own teacher for how to relate to life and this world.
And he has been an amazing travel companion. Countless are the times when he has slid up from the backseat to the middle console between driver and passenger, with a contagiously sweet doggy-smile, simply so happy to be with his friends.
And though there have also been times of car-sickness for RamDog, he has never seemed to be upset or unwilling at the prospect of another car ride. It simply is what it is. And he is along for the ride – be it to Half Moon Bay, Napa, Temecula, the Sierras, and even, for one 14 hour stint, to the city of Lost Wages.
It was in Vegas that his given spiritual name was confirmed by the universe itself. As we played frisbee with him on top of a parking garage overlooking the backside of the Strip, or walked him straight through a casino, or found refuge for the evening on the 20th floor of the Luxor – Ram Dog never stopped smiling – nor did anyone at a single time question his presence in all of these typically non-dog destinations; for in the eyes of Ram, the whole world is Ram – not good, not sin-city; the world and poles of creation, are simply Ram.
For in us too – we experience Ram’s world, when cultivate:
the willingness to do all that which is given us;
the awareness and humility to see God’s hand in every circumstance;
and the joy of expanding consciousness, to include in my own reality, the reality and needs of others, even before myself.
In all these ways, we see beyond the external world of separations, and realize the true Nature of life as One, when lived from the inside-out.
A spinal twist is not merely an external action of looking around behind us, but more importantly serves as an energetic, inward release, to let each our own hearts’ expand, to radiate love and goodwill, to soul friends everywhere; To one another.
And this deeper reality of life, is the occasion of the equinox – that moment in between the inhalation of summer, and the exhalation of fall. Whereby we seize the day, absorb the cosmic moment, to be still and know, that I AM the very Spirit of Life.
And like Ram Dog in the hills or on the boulevard, I too can see beyond the two sides of Life, into the One Ram-Nature of this world.
So, here is to wishing each and all a restful, Ram-filled, ‘balancing of the seasons.’ Happy Equinox. We love and miss you all.
Sending friendship in Ram, now and always.
Zach on behalf of the farmer-Rams in the Sierra.