Sunrise and sunset are times when the power of the world floods the spaces of our being. –Americo Yabar, a mestizo
Autumn Equinox has been described as the dusk of the year, since the nights will now be longer than the days. This threshold time is recognized by shamans of indigenous cultures everywhere as one of great magic and potency. But every sunset offers us a chance to feel and sense our living connection with nature.
Learn how you can bring yourself into deeper harmony with natural cycles with this simple and beautiful sunset exercise.
Practice this exercise for at least one month. It is also a good idea to practice it during each of the four seasons. Make sure you are settled comfortably out of doors at least ten minutes before sunset. Dress comfortably, according to the season. It is not important that your skin be exposed in any way. Choose a place that is as free of distractions as possible, and it is not a good idea to begin practicing this exercise on the shore of an ocean or lake, as the water energies, which are particularly powerful nature energies, may pull your awareness from the sunset. Let the sunset be the focus of your environment.
Settle yourself by meditating for a few minutes. If you do not have a meditation technique, then simply focus your awareness on your breath and try to empty your mind of everyday thoughts and concerns. Once you are settled and relaxed, attune yourself to your energy body and bring your attention to your energy center, opening this center a little at a time, focusing your inner awareness on the sun. (If you do not yet have intentional control of your energy center, use your hand to draw it outward and fully open.) Keeping your eyes closed, feel the sun and its movement with your energy body. Try to sense the sun’s dimming, its sinking. Reach out with your energetic perception to “see” the effects of the sun’s changing light on the sky and landscape. Americo would say to reach out with your energy filaments, which extend outward like threads of light from your energy center, and Puma would say to follow the seques that connect you to the sun. Continue gently probing with your energy body until you “feel” that the sun has gone down.
Your skin will probably give you the first clues to the sun’s setting, as the air temperature may cool. And even with your eyes closed, you will be able to discern a lack of light. That’s fine. Attune yourself to what a sunset feels like physically, but also awaken all your other senses. What does the sunset look like through closed eyes? What does it taste like? Smell like? Notice these sensory impressions, then release them and attune yourself to the energetic feeling you sense through your energy center. After a month of sensing sunsets, you should be aware of the myriad nuances of the movement of energy of a setting sun.
Adapted from Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q‘ero of Peru, by Joan Parisi Wilcox (Inner Traditions, 2004).