I love Halloween, not because I have to stand at my door for two hours handing out $20 worth of candy, but its the ritual, our own American morality play. We watch these often Catholic festivals in South America and Europe from our perch in our ritual clean Protestant America with enlightened amusement. We have our Christmas and Easter, to be sure, but its only Halloween that we get down to play the dark side of human nature. To me Halloween is the practice of meditation dressed up as ritual.
Meditation is sitting at our door to the mind and watching the thought demons parade by. Both Buddha and Jesus weathered the futile attacks of Satan and his crowd of demons without being shaken from their seat of equanimity. So Halloween is like that. All the children try to get the scariest demon costume, the best usually have some death and dismemberment as its theme, and we just love them all and give each their allotment of candy so they will be satisfied and leave us alone. It’s like a sacrifice where the gods must be fed. But what do the gods of our dark side want? Candy.
Candy is the sweetness of non-judgmental awareness. Candy is the act of forgiveness and acceptance. Candy is the act of saying I’m okay, no matter what fear pops up in my mind. “Here fear of death, or guilt, or doubt, here, take this piece of awareness,” and like chocolate on the back of the tongue our fear dissolves.
Halloween is the ritual of turning the darkness of fear and the unknown into the light of consciousness. And when the evening is over, we check our empty minds to see if there is anything left. We look up and down the street and there are no more monsters coming out of the night. Meditation is over.
This post was written by ed on October 31, 2008