The month begins with clouds. Clouds that couldn’t be more different: the cloud of the atom bomb over Hiroshima and the cloud illuminating the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. Each of us has in our souls both of these gestures: the most destructive and the most divine. In the heat of August, it seems impossible to contemplate these extremes as something within our being. To think of either of these clouds as narratives in human history is equally difficult. Yet our future depends on us finding our relationship to both destruction and divinity.
One question I have is why are they both remembered on the same day, August 6th. Perhaps on August 6th we can look into both these events and journal about them. Imagine seeing both clouds, how would we feel? Radiation destroying life. Radiance illuminating life.
As a result of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. August 15th is also the date the Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, another event in the clouds.
The word “Assumption” comes from the Middle English “assumpcioun” which means “a taking up into heaven”, and from Latin “assumptio” which means “a taking”.
Transfiguration is the a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state.
Here is an exercise for all of us inspired by these Christian celebrations in August: As you think of this day, this week, this month, or this year and you know that at the end of that period of time a part of you would be taken up to heaven or would change its appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state how would you prepare? Choose an ideal or a virtue you want to bring your attention to. Imagine kindness, generosity, openness, vulnerability, reverence, courage. Write about making it ready for heavenly acceptance or glorious revelation. This internal work of inner imagination is far more meaningful to your earthly and spiritual development than any ritual of worship…don’t you agree? Worship is much easier than inner work.
August is also the month of remembering three great social events in the realm of rights shining a light on deep social shadows of dehumanization based on gender, race, well-being, and religion. This is pretty tough to remember but morally essential to not forget!!! Especially now.
August 23 – International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition,
August 23 – Remembrance of the Victims of Holocaust
August 26 – Women’s Equality Day celebrates the day in 1920 when women received the right to vote.
On the 23rd light a candle for those that suffered. And on the 26th think about our great women leaders and the meaning of the right to vote.
I want to close with an ancient Hindu god whose birth is celebrated on August 22nd. As per Hindu mythology Lord Ganesh is considered as “Vigana Harta” (one who removes obstacles) and “Buddhi Pradaayaka” (one who grants intelligence). This festival is very important for students, they worship Lord Ganesh to illumine their minds.
May Lord Ganesh, illuminate your mind and open your heart as you experience August in your soul. Always be a student of the earthly and the divine.