July, Aphelion, and Independence Day
Aphelion is the point in the orbit of a planet when it is farthest from our amazing daystar, the Sun. It just so happens that Earth reaches this point on July Fourth this year. (The Southern Hemisphere is experiencing the opposite, perihelion, being nearest the Sun.)
Even though we are farthest from the Sun on this day, we are still intimately bound to it, a fact we want to experience if we are to live the new story of the universe.
Meditation can help us live this story in an embodied way. Try using this meditation adapted from one by astronomer Stephan Martin. Notice our intimate relationship with the Sun, even when at aphelion:
* Feel solar energy running through your body as it comes to you through the food you eat, air you breathe, water you drink, and the environment surrounding you.
* Sense the Sun pouring forth 4 billion tons of itself every second of the day, generously sharing its mass with the cosmos, with us.
* Look at all life on Earth as the expression of the Sun’s vitality. Wherever you look, you are seeing Earth’s response to the light and life of the Sun: trees greening, birds flying, fish swimming. This is the energy of the Sun expressed in intimate form.
* Live each day bathed in the light of the Sun.
* Holding your cell phone, know that even your devices that use energy have the life of the Sun’s vitality coursing through them.
* Love this: all life on Earth owes its being to the Sun. The generosity and grace of the Sun pour forth on every part of Earth equally, without preference.
* Be grateful that the Sun’s generosity is reflected in your generous actions.
Independence Day is a holiday I have a hard time getting into; however, if there would ever be an Aphelion Day, well, that would evoke a celebratory spirit for sure. I can imagine people the world over united in our gratitude for all the Sun has done for 4.5 billion years. All of us could meditate on our intimate relationship with our Sun. When we eat together on that day we could be reminded that we are eating the Sun. When we smile at one another, we could recall that we are radiating the light of the Sun.
It might also be a day to critique our historically significant celebration of July Fourth. Thomas Berry’s reflection is instructive:
“Our political independence provided an ideal context for economic
dominance over the natural world…We never understood that this continent
had its own laws that needed to be obeyed and its own revelatory experience
that needed to be understood. We have only recently considered the great
community of life here. We still do not feel that we should obey the primordial
laws governing this continent, that we should revere every living creature –
from the lowliest insect to the great eagle in the sky. We fail to recognize our
obligation to bow before the majesty of the mountains and rivers, the forests,
the grasslands, the deserts, the coastlands. (p. 173, The Sacred Universe by
Food for thought on a national holiday that just may need to be reconsidered, maybe joined by a celebration that would unite all people under the Sun.
Photo by Ziwaddi on Unsplash