Despite living almost directly in the path of totality, and having procured special eclipse viewing glasses, I didn’t choose to directly witness what is being called the great American eclipse.
I did, however, perform a quiet solitary ritual in the early morning, in honor of the intimate eclipse of sun and moon. And as the light began to shift, I snuggled into meditation position and began adding my mantra recitations to the collective prayers for peace. At some point I fell deeply asleep, and later awakened to discover that the eclipse had come and gone.
As I read magical accounts of those who put themselves on the path of totality, standing shoulder to shoulder with faces pressed into boxes and colanders and heads wrapped in tin foil, peering out into space through pin holes and paper glasses; I wondered if I’d later regret “meditating” through the most anticipated cosmological event of my life.
I had very intentionally chosen to follow my inner voice and allow my instincts to guide me, to honor the totality of the dark moon in darkness and quiet, alone. I thought about the phases of the moon, and earth’s revolution around sun as a measurement, marker and milestone of human existence; of the intimate dance in which the moment when one celestial body fully obscures the other is known as totality.
Totality means the whole of something; oneness. How can obscuration be viewed as oneness? I realize I’m hardly qualified to be picking bones with scientists, but this is where my mind wandered off to as most of America squinted through paper sunglasses to witness the stunningly brief union of Lune and Soleil.
Could it be that our witnessing of the event, the convergent awareness of our connection with the larger whole that creates the totality experience? Or perhaps it’s enough to tap into the collective hope and anticipation that what is hidden in darkness will soon be bathed in light. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in praying to the celestial beings overhead, for the unveiling of concealed truths and for a much needed healing of earth and her people.
Sometime later in the day I realized that, despite not having viewed it directly, the energy of the eclipse reverberated throughout my body. Bringing quiet attention to that vibration and settling deeply into it, evoked several poignant memories of personal brushes with totality.
The first occurred during a near-drowning when I was nine years old. Terrified, I choked and struggled against the downward pull of white water until, unable to fight any longer, I let go and my body floated toward an incandescent light that twinkled with the warmth of home. Years later, when I held my newborn son for the first time, I recognized the same shimmering light in his eyes. Finally, I watched in awe as each of my parents, taking their respective leaves of this temporary earth home, stepped into the same portal of warm light through which they had once escorted me. And ever so briefly, there was something resembling wholeness.
Truth and totality are moving targets, widely open to interpretation. Yet, a few fleeting moments of grace have anchored a connection to something larger than me, and in some inexplicable way I believe yesterday's eclipse did that too.
Still, next time I might wear the glasses… just for shits and giggles.