A meditation for balance, renewal, and reframing

Rohan Gunatillake

Meditative Story host, author

Sometimes on Meditative Story, we break from our usual episodes to share a reflection from our host, Rohan Gunatillake, occasioned by moments that we might like to take a beat to sit with. Today, Rohan welcomes the interstellar shift in our solar system that produces the Spring Equinox. On our special planet we call home, we only experience two days per year where day and night measure equal length. For Rohan, the arrival of Spring is an opportunity to reflect on balance, on renewal, and yes, on the welcome perspective of being one speck of creation in this incredible, dynamic cosmos.

Rohan Gunatillake

Rohan Gunatillake is the host of Meditative Story. He’s also the founder of the best-selling app Buddhify, and author of Modern Mindfulness: How to Be More Relaxed, Focused, and Kind While Living in a Fast, Digital, Always-On World.

Episode Transcript

ROHAN GUNATILLAKE: Today I look forward to sharing an original meditation with you to explore the idea of balance over the course of your week. 

But if you’re looking for a classic Meditative Story, revisit our library which includes a new episode from best-selling author Isabel Allende. 

But for now, let’s settle in for this one.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find working from home a bit of a grind, especially in the winter. So to remedy that, I’ve made a big thing of walking. For sure, 10,000 steps and all that, but for me it’s mostly about freshening the mind and taking time away from the laptop. My savior is that there is a park just at the end of my lane. Kelvingrove Park is one of the grand Victorian parks of Scotland. From the top of the hill where I live, you can see out to the hills beyond the city, and closer in you can see the Clyde — the river upon whose banks ships were built which changed the world. The air is crisp on my face as I look out, a delicious coolness. Despite everything I can see out there, it’s what’s closer to me that I’m most interested in today.

As my dog Nessie rootles around, she scampers through some flowers and I call out at her to move along. They are crocuses, purple and white. Daffodils too, the first of the fabulous yellow and orange heads standing proud. Spring is here, the start of it at least, and it’s a miracle. Trees that seemed dead, when I look closely, have their buds. From the flowers to the trees, my eyes continue to be lifted up and I greet the moon still visible in the blue. She then points me to the sun and I say ‘it’s the equinox soon isn’t it?’. I ask the question out loud and I know by the grand silence that it is so.

It’s the equinox on March 20th this year. Which as I’m sure you know is the time in Earth’s orbit that the sun is directly above the equator. The Equinox happens twice a year. And for the northern hemisphere, this one welcomes in spring, which I for one think is a pretty big deal and totally worthy of a Meditative Story original meditation. For me, as I’m sure is also true for many of you, spring is a time of change, a time of renewal and new life. All great themes for our short practice together, but the one I’ll start us off with is balance.

Latin nerds among you— and I count myself among that hallowed group — will know that the word equinox means equi — equal… nox — night, since the spring and autumn equinoxes are the only two times of the year that our days and our nights are of equal length. Reflecting on this points me to balance, day balanced with night, and so let’s play with this idea of balance for a little bit.

Balance in the body. However your posture is, nudging it into balance.

Balance in the breath. In breath and out breath equal.

Equal in length.

And equal in how we are able to pay attention to it. Knowing the inbreath as much as we know the outbreath.

Balance. Balance in the breath.

Balance in how we relate to things.

Aware of how our body feels right now, full of the stories and the tensions of the day so far.

And being balanced in our relationship to our body. Not judging. Just knowing and understanding.

Equinox. The duality of day and night, balanced.

Equinox. The duality of mind and body, balanced.

The sun of our awareness shining on our experience. Everything equal in its glow, night the same as day.

Balanced, equal. Equinox mind.

In many traditions and cultures, the equinox signals renewal. It’s obvious why. We see it in the world around us. Fertility, fecundity, growth, new life. A few weeks ago my four year old daughter pointed to a leafless tree in the park and said that it looked dead. When she next scoots past, I’m excited to point out the same tree to her now with its emerging leaves.

We all have emerging leaves that grow despite it all feeling a bit dormant for a while. Bulbs which don’t show anything for a long time above the soil but then peek out only then to burst out in flower.

This is a really important reflection. What are the qualities or behaviors that you feel you haven’t expressed for a while but would like to emerge now, now that the seasons are changing?

For me, the grind of winter means I’m not as silly and playful during the darker months than I can be. So that is the quality I’m going to allow to flower. It’s a quality that I have, even though the branch may look bare, it’s there.

So I’ll orient towards it.

As the seasons change, may I be playful.

As the seasons change, may there be silliness. 

Harnessing the galactic power of the equinox to accelerate to renewal, not only in the nature around us, but also in ourselves, new life to what may have seemed dormant, gone even.

As the seasons change, may I be playful.

As the seasons change, may there be silliness. 

Take your time and reflect on the qualities you seek to renew, to come into being. 

If it helps and it’s how your mind words, visualizing what that renewal looks like, feels like, tastes like even.

As the seasons change, what quality or qualities will emerge for you?

Orienting towards that.

As we close this celebration of the equinox I want us to remember how it points back to our position in space. What the nature around us looks like, what the air smells like where we are, is what it is because of how our planet is oriented in space relative to a giant burning star.

The super personal connected to the super cosmic.

We spend most of our day zoomed in, focusing on things at our scale: our work, our relationships, our day to day. That is of course to be expected and a healthy way to be. 

But, when things get a bit tight and we’re caught up, the healthy move can be to zoom out, to step out into a bigger perspective. 

And a way I like to do that is to get a sense of myself in space.

You can do this with eyes open or eyes closed, whichever is safe and comfortable.

Noticing the temperature of the air on your skin, let the attention be wide and spacious.

Aware of the space around us as we can sense it right now.

Curious about what it might be like for our awareness, our sense of self even, to be bigger than it normally is.

Recognizing that there is more space around us that we can currently sense.

And letting our awareness expand out into that.

A body and mind on a rock spinning on its axis, orbiting a star.

A star just one of countless, near and far.

So as we go into our new day, our new week, our new season, let’s make some intentions so we can stay in touch with the themes of our equinox meditation.

First, how about you make balance a thing. Choosing a dimension of balance that means something to you and setting an intention to orient yourself towards it.

Then there is the idea of new growth. Remembering the quality you already have that you want to see renewed this season and doing what we can to express that quality whenever you remember.

Finally, zooming out. When we need a new perspective and don’t have the luxury necessarily to go for a walk in the park or look to the horizon, zoom out. Zoom out from where you already are. Playing with what that idea might look like for you.

So, that’s balance, renewal, zooming out.

Happy equinox and be well.

We’d love to hear your personal reflections from today’s meditation. Which theme most resonated with you?  You can find us on all your social media platforms through our handle @MeditativeStory. Or you can email us at: hello@meditativestory.com.