Connecting to nature has been proven to promote healing and wellbeing. Going for a walk, taking in a view of the sun rising or setting, sitting in a park beneath a tree or by a pond are simple ways to connect to nature for even the busiest of people. However, our rhythm of living today is often in opposition to our bodies natural time. We work against the rising and setting of the sun, constantly push our bodies and minds, ignoring the natural bio-clock of the circadian rhythm. Aligning ourselves with a natural rhythm can maximize any little bit of healing that walking in the park, or any other form of physically connecting to nature may offer. One of the easiest ways to follow a natural rhythm is to align ourselves with the lunar cycle.
We are physically born out of the dark into the light, and so in keeping with this pattern the lunar cycle begins when the moon is dark: the new moon. Energetically, the time of the new moon calls for introspection and meditation and to reflect on your accomplishments of the previous month. The new moon can then be a time of being rather than doing, a time to rest and prepare for the next cycle where energy will increase and action will begin again.
It is important to incorporate a regular interval of quiet time in our lives. So much of our society is focused on constant production and a striving to attain goals at all costs. It is impossible to be constantly productive. Constant productivity eventually fails due to exhaustion, burn out, and depletion of resources. Yet despite this, society pushes us ever harder to live up to this impossible notion. However, if someone wants to be productive in a healthy and balanced way, there needs to be a period of rest and reflection. Without such a time, we are more apt to make mistakes and spin off into directions that may not necessarily be in keeping with our goals.
The moon then moves from its dark phase and begins the first quarter or waxing phase. With increasing moon light, energy begins to increase. Our monthly projects are taking shape and our plans should be in motion. However, just like any project that has been started, obstacles and challenges will arise. First quarter energy reminds us to take a moment to re-evaluate our course of action and determine whether to continue on as planned or to redirect. By having taken time to rest and reflect during the new moon, we will have more stamina to make changes and course directions should it be necessary.
As the moon moves closer to its full phase, we will find our energy continuing to grow and our projects coming closer to fruition. Let the moon guide you. It's a giant reminder above us showing us that work can be accomplished in a healthy and balanced way, which is the path of true productivity.
The full moon phase begins its influence a few days before its completely full state. It offers heightened energy and stimulates productivity, which aids in the completion of a goal. The full moon tends to influence emotions (we have all heard the stories of the rise of activity at police stations, prisons and hospitals at the full moon), however, the heightened emotions rarely lead to lunacy. Instead the full moon's influence assists in gaining new perspectives, experiencing breakthroughs and revelations.
Now is the time to pour energy into a project or task. This is the time for high productivity and more investment in creative and physical resources. In a healthy productive cycle, as guided by the moon, a week of high production and extra effort is much more realistic than continuous and unsustainable action. The full moon offers the light of inspiration and serves as a beacon that our goals can be met when we work toward them with balance and clarity. Additionally, three days or so after the full moon is the best time to remove old habits, end unhealthy relationships, or quit an addiction.
As the full moon recedes into the waning phase. we come to the end of the lunar cycle. The decreasing of the moon's glowing appearance signifies the need to narrow the focus of our energy in order to tie-up all the loose ends of the project started at the beginning of the cycle. If the project is complete, this is the time to double check and make sure that nothing was left out or forgotten.
Like the three days surrounding the full moon, the new moon covers three days. At the start of the new moon, it will be time to reflect on accomplishments and rest and prepare for the next cycle. But, for now, during this last week, let the moon be a reminder that there is still some time left to complete and finalize the project and achieve the goals for the month.
Here is a brief overview of the moon's cycle which can be used as a guide for our own natural rhythm:
New Moon - the beginning of the cycle
I am Do'an Prajna, a bhikṣu (fully ordained Zen Buddhist monk) and zen teacher. Here I share my thoughts and observations about living a life of compassion, attention and gratitude.