Winter is the domain of darkness, coldness and death, so here life can but unfold at its minimum or its latent state. (The Eternal World Picture, vol. 2, sect. 17.15)
Recently I saw a Swedish advertisement aimed at exchange students, trying to persuade them to spend a year abroad in Stockholm: “Because here you can experience four seasons.” Someone should warm those potential visitors, I thought, that one of these four seasons is colder, darker and arguably longer than all the other seasons together. At least some people experience it that way.
Winter can be beautiful in so many ways, with the standard image of glittering snow, playing children and cosy afternoon tea at home.
But winter may also seem like an endless string of frozen, still, dead days. Every morning is yet another encounter with the biting wind in the weak morning light, waiting for the bus in the cold or pulling out the ice scraper for your car. Nature is dead, a few winter birds are desperately looking for food and nothing moves or grows.
But then we know that, according to Martinus, everything in life moves in cycles, and all experiences are marked by contrasts. We have the day cycle and the year cycle, and there is also a cosmic cycle: Just as the day cycles, the year cycles and the terrestrial life cycles have their four principles of the seasons or four seasons, so the spiral cycles of evolution each have their four principles of the seasons or four seasons. (The Eternal World Picture, vol. 2, sect. 17.9).
Just as we feel satiated with the physically cold season every year longing for the warm summer, we also begin to feel satiated with the cosmic winter zone, which is characterised by the darkness of life, by war, pain, suffering and distress.
In the cosmic journey of the complete spiral cycle, Martinus tells us that this process of becoming satiated with darkness and suffering and wanting to manifest love and friendliness towards others are natural parts of the journey towards the light, just as the previous journey into the darkness was also an inevitable and necessary part of the experiences that we needed to make:
But terrestrial mankind has already begun to be satiated with the manifestations of darkness. This satiation shows itself as a very widespread wish to be freed from the darkness, from the war that nearly everyone wages against everyone else. A very pronounced longing for a lasting peace is strongly evident. Humane and charitable organisations in the form of peace movements or peace leagues, as well as the great humane relief-measures for the populations of countries in unfortunate situations, together with the injunctions of the humane world religions about neighbourly love, are irrefutably mild, cosmic winds of spring. It is an unshakable fact that immortal mankind is on its way towards the light and warmth from the cosmic summer of life in the primary consciousness of the Godhead that lies ahead. (The Road of Life, ch. 7)
And to some extent, we can actually choose whether we wish to manifest the energies of “winter” or “summer” in our everyday life. We can freeze our fellow beings with our selfishness and egoism, or we can warm them up with our friendliness and warmth:
Perhaps to a certain degree we are producing that fatal cold which freezes everything to death, or perhaps we are the feeble ray of sunshine which begins to warm and revivify everything around it. Or we are perhaps something of both factors but lack the ability to bring these two contrasting energies into complete harmony with each other in our creation or manifestation, thereby creating the confusing mental whirlwinds, tornadoes, floods and other greater symptoms of imbalance in those forces generally valid in the mental sphere of terrestrial people. (Livets Bog, vol. 2, sect. 625)
So real summer is not just a gift from nature; it is a mental state. It is difficult to predict when the “mild, cosmic winds of spring” will be clearly manifested in our mental world, but we can be sure that in a few months, we will have physical summer in Scandinavia.
Wonderful, warm (at least comparatively warm), long days where everything flourishes, people go on holiday and winter seems far away.
But in order to really experience and enjoy summer, I feel that we also need to reflect on what Martinus says about the mental summer zone. In today’s society, I think that we need to open our hearts more. We should stop building walls and barriers to keep each other out –especially people from other countries and those who are fleeing for their lives from war and persecution.
We seem to live in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust and growing nationalist tendencies in many countries of the world, including Scandinavia. But there will always be voices that show us another way. I recently watched a Swedish-Norwegian talkshow led by the moderator Skavlan with different guests from all over the world. It is a very popular show, and in one of its latest episodes, one of the guests was the well-known British-Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour, who is also a television host for CNN. Half Iranian, half English, she told us about her life in Iran with parents who symbolised co-existence by their very marriage, her mother being a British Catholic and her father an Iranian muslim. Her father’s life was turned upside down by the Iranian revolution, but in spite of this, he taught them not to be bitter or judgemental.
“I feel that there is very little difference between people”, Christiane Amanpour said and those lines got stuck in my head. What if we could just let go of all the categories and terms that we use to differentiate between people − religious, geographic and ethnic concepts − and just talk about the people of the Earth as one humanity and one community?
I think Christiane Amanpour’s message is truly inspiring and I would like to use it as a kind of motto for myself in order to spend more time on helping refugees in Sweden during the coming year. Some people already invest a lot of time and energy on helping others, and some people (like myself) could do so much more. Personally, I think that we will also be called upon by Providence to do a lot more for refugees and people in need than we do today. Time will tell, but we also know from the Bible that Jesus gave his neighbourly love to all the people in his surroundings, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or social status. He never made any difference between people who were in need of help.
Today, thanks to the internet and social media and all other instruments that have connected us over the world, everybody in the world and all refugees are our neighbours. (And according to Martinus, all animals and all the beings in our microcosmos are our neighbours too.) I just long for the day − the real summer day − when humanity will realise, like the journalist Christiane Amanpour, that in reality there is very little difference between people and that we need to co-operate on a global scale with our common resources in order to attain peace and better living conditions for all living beings on Earth. Martinus is very clear about the fact that we can build a future only on internationalism: “Internationalism” is thus mankind’s sole way to liberation from darkness, to culture, to freedom, to peace and happiness. (The Immortality of Living Beings, ch. 18)
Waiting for that day to come, I will try to find some inspiration in the fact that the sun often shines in winter too (as seen below, during my lunch walk at work), and that with every day and every new experience, we take one small step further towards the light.