Happy Spring Equinox!

by Abbot Handerson Thayer

Spring is sprung! Today will be a joyful day, enter, rejoice and come in!

Today marks the day the sun has moved across the celestial equator is space and time.  In the vernal equinox, the sun is moving from the south back towards the north, and this is the day the light and the dark are held in balance. Both hemispheres receive the same amount of the sun’s light. Here in Canada, our days will get longer and our nights shorter as sun moves northward.

I have often thought the two equinoxes should be the key celebrations of Unitarian Universalism.  We should be lighting our chalices, holding special services, singing out praises to the beauty of the earth!  Let us celebrate the wonders of our planet! Just as we seek balance, so does our home.  The physical reality of our planet reflects our own rhythms as we move through our lives. How cool is that?

Unitarian Universalism encourages adherents to live lives of integrity: learning to integrate the dark and the light in each person’s life, the joy and the sorrow, taking action and sitting in reflection.  We are learning how to be both spiritual and material beings.   UU theological stances are most closely aligned with the broad category of balance tradition religions (taoism, indigenous systems) which seek harmony between the self, society and nature.

Balance is a complex concept. The religious idea of balance is deeper than making things equal out in some rigid pattern. This is not about big brass scales weighing and measuring our time and behaviour: some for family, some for work, some for exercise.  That is an exercise in judgement and dissection.

Religious balance is more subtle and complex.  It is a rhythm of living which invites our attention.  As anyone experiencing trouble walking – or even just standing knows – it isn’t just about having two feet to touch the ground.  It is about centreing, about finding the mid-point which can align with the earth.  I think of the tree pose in yoga where you stand on one foot – it works when you find your centre.  Balance is an act of alignment.   

Unitarians seek to live in balance, keeping all these aspects of life in an ever-evolving equilibrium which is unique to each person.   For some of us, that is lots of engagement in public life, whether that is work or volunteering, for others it means making more space for contemplation.  The alignments will shift throughout our lives.  For all of us, it means accepting our darker and more difficult emotions without being overwhelmed by them.  Staying in alignment can be a challenge, but it is a healthy, holistic way of being in the world.

Let’s take some time on the spring quinox to celebrate the beautiful balancing act of our lives and our home, the earth.

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