Holland is currently covered with a layer of ankle deep immaculate snow. The entire highway system is jammed, the railway network is paralyzed, people are stranded and events cancelled. Besides being cold and unprepared: we are loving it. People in the streets are careful and giddy. Folks are pushing out other people’s cars that got stuck in the snow. Cancellations are met with compassion instead of the usual uptightness. We take to the forests and urban squares that have become unrecognizable. Even the sound is different. A sound of silence seems to be added to the usual chorus of cars and people and dogs barking.
There’s something about snow that reflects our deepest nature. It’s bright and radiant. Its coolness sharp, waking up our senses. Its slipperiness naturally awakening our attention. Like sunshine, snow is undiscriminating, falling on everyone’s car, in everyone’s garden, on every tree, lost glove and empty beer can with the same generosity. Like awareness itself, it doesn’t distinguish between bad or good, pure or dirty. It levels the surface, and blurs our usual reference points of street and pave walk, grass and concrete, important and unimportant. A normally obscure alley reveals its sudden brilliance, becoming no less magical than the snowy statue on the central square just a few blocks away. Like mindfulness, it strips away our habitual reference points so we can access the magic that is always available –if we are just willing to meet it.
Not only our external perception shifts, our internal landscape does too. Despite its inconvenience, I think people feel good and happy being snowed in because they are reminded of and corrected by the deep truth of no control. Especially in an overly controlled, crowded and impressive nature deprived country such as Holland, the experience of being overwhelmed by some force larger than us benefits us. It aligns us the fact that we are part of something bigger. It relieves us from the burden of carrying the illusion of control around. It relieves us from the illusion that the world revolves around us. Like our snow covered cars, we are overwhelmed by the natural brightness of dharma, of truth. The magic of the way things are when we just surrender to it.