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Made of Faith

Fall is my favorite season, and October is my favorite month. In addition to loving the glorious colors of the October trees, I love the coziness of this time of year. For me, there's nothing better than putting on a well-loved sweater and curling up in front of the fire place with a good book and a mug of hot tea while a pot of soup is simmering on the stove. I had a sugar pumpkin from our community supported agriculture share to use, so yesterday I made a delicious new recipe: Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew. I highly recommend it!

As the air grows chillier and the nights longer and we prepare for the long winter months to come,

so do the bees. They are very busy in our pollinator garden right now enjoying the late blooming native wildflower called white heath aster. I try to savor these last few weeks of seeing bees and color in the garden, knowing that very soon the bees and the earth will be resting, and shades of brown, gray, and white will be the palette.

There's a Sanskrit term "śrāddha", which is often translated as "faith," but which doesn't have an exact equivalent in English. In his commentary on The Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran says that the underlying meaning of śrāddha is "what is held in the heart." He writes, "We might say that our śrāddha is the sum total of our values, what we really hold to be important in our lives." In chapter 17, verse 3 of The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says every human being is "śraddhāmayas," meaning "made of faith."

I have faith that after the barren, quiet months of winter, spring will return. I have trust and confidence in the cycles of nature. And despite all that is currently happening in our country and in the world, I also have faith in the inherent, basic goodness of human beings to ultimately do what is right--for the planet, for other humans, and for all the other beings we share the planet with. As Martin Luther King Jr reminded us, "The arc of the moral universe it long, but it bends toward justice." I have faith that true social and environmental justice will someday be realized.

Fall and winter offer opportunity for turning inward and quiet introspection. Perhaps take some time over these months to think about what is "held in your heart". In what do you have śrāddha? What is really important in your life? Does what you value inform the choices you make? Do your thoughts, words, and actions come from your innate wisdom, basic goodness, and tender heart?

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