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By Stephanie Ludwig

The upcoming solar eclipse event reminds us of the spectacular and sacred nature of the planet we inhabit. It puts our human place in the cosmos in vivid perspective, reminding us that we are part of a much larger world that is not dependent upon our human activity. The eclipse may evoke spiritual responses of awe, wonder and humility, even when we understand the science behind it. Witnessing such a powerful event truly calls us to a relationship of reverence with life.

During the eclipse we may experience shifts in our energy and our consciousness that remind us of how fully our interior “landscape” mirrors the outer landscape when we are receptive to that connection. The metaphorical significance of a solar eclipse, the temporary darkening of light, can invite deep, meaningful reflection on powerful interplay of darkness and light in our ordinary lives.

Witnessing such a powerful event truly calls us to a relationship of reverence with life.

To enrich your experience of the solar eclipse spirituality — to allow nature to serve as a spiritual teacher for you — take some intentional time at the start of the transition for the following guided meditation practice.

How to Prepare: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit outdoors. (Bring protective eye wear if you're planning to view the eclipse.) Have a journal and pen, sketchpad and pencils, watercolors and paper or some other materials for creative expression with you.

While the Eclipse Is Happening, Focus on These Steps:

  • Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention on your breath, allowing your breath to flow gently in through your nose, and out through your nose, your belly filling with each inhale and emptying with each exhale. Take a moment to remember, with gratitude, that your breath is always happening without any effort on your part. You simply receive it.
  • Enter into awareness of what you are experiencing in your body, heart and mind, noticing what is present in your interior landscape. Notice sensations, feelings or thoughts. Allow them to simply be without any judgement toward them. Stay in this space, fully inhabiting this landscape with curiosity.
  • When you are ready, allow the slow, ecliptic movement of the moon over the sun to enter your awareness. Allow the experiences in your life when light has been temporarily eclipsed by darkness to enter into your awareness. Stay here. Pay full attention to what arises within you. Hold your experiences gently and with compassion.
  • When you are ready, invite the ways in which you have learned and grown spiritually through these experiences to reveal themselves to you. Listen for what emerges. Express silently or aloud your intention to embody this spiritual wisdom in your daily life.
  • When you are ready, slowly and gently begin to bring yourself back to awareness of the outer landscape. Open your eyes part way to begin. Rest in stillness and silence, noticing what has changed within and around you.
  • Turn toward the materials for creative expression you have with you. Take time to write, draw or paint whatever aspects of the meditation experience you need to express.
  • Reflect on how you might meet future times of darkness eclipsing light with the spiritual wisdom you now embody. Embracing the natural cycles of darkness and light in our lives, and tolerating the tension that arises when darkness and light meet in wholeness is a path to spiritual maturity.

Stephanie Ludwig, M.Div., M.A., Ph.D is the director of spiritual wellness at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

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