Two weeks ago, we celebrated pūrṇimā, the Full Moon, and explored how it’s a time for new beginnings, grace, abundance, and taking right action.
Today, we honor amāvasyā, the New Moon. Keeping in mind that the Indic tradition loooooves balance and symmetry, can you guess what our practice is on this day?
If it helps, take a moment to remember what the New Moon is like. Everything is dark, still, quiet. The soft, radiant, compassionate presence of the moon is nowhere to be seen. Instead, there are billions of stars, all directing your attention towards vast, impenetrable, awe-inspiring space.
Most likely, your physical instinct already knows what the practice is – remember, YOU are part of nature, and your power is Her power! As you learn to listen and see yourself and the world clearly, you will effortlessly come into alignment with nature and sacred cycles. In fact, most traditional wisdom and practice was developed by people who were paying close and careful attention to themselves and the world around them – and time and again, they had the same insights about the nature of reality, which apparently hasn’t changed yet.
So engaging our full attention, let’s go back to the moon. The Full Moon was about flowing forward with the beautiful energy of life and creation; New Moon, on the other hand, is about turning inwards and entering the stillness and peace of the Great Void. Not only do we not want to start new things, but we actually direct our effort towards ending things!
In the modern world, we think of endings as scary, painful, and to be avoided where possible. However, the traditional understanding of endings has nothing to do with pleasure and pain. Everything that exists – whether it’s desirable or not – is simply a movement of energy. And the only thing that “ends” the movements of energy is the stillness of space.
PRACTICE: Make Space and Experience Stillness
On New Moon, we can make time for quiet reflection, spiritual practice, and physical rest.
There are a number of specific traditional practices on this day, and we invite you to participate in one or more of them. Remember that even a small effort in any of these areas will have beneficial impact!
One of the most common practices for amāvasyā is fasting or eating lightly. This allows our organs to take rest, and makes space in our body.
Practice silence, or limit our intake of conversation, media, and information. Notice the space between words on a page, the silence between words in a sentence, and even the space between thoughts.
Release attachments to feelings and beliefs that generate lots of drama and emotional activity. We can give ourselves permission to experience peace inside, and in our connection to others through the practice of forgiveness.
Meditate. Turn within and spend time in the sacred stillness and space at the center of your being – the place that holds and expands beyond all your energy and activity.
Whichever practices you choose for today, let it be easeful, quiet, and still. If you notice yourself straining or resisting, slow down. Let go of how you think it needs to be, and just let yourself be.