I grew up telling people that my family practiced Hinduism. I never doubted it, but I knew that I did not have the same connection with the religion I was supposed to be practicing as my friends did with theirs. Growing up, I watched my friends go to church every Sunday as well as youth group another night of the week. They all seemed so involved and in touch with their spirituality, and I was always so jealous. Lacking a connection with my faith made things incredibly difficult when I was facing a low point in my life. I was lost.

The summer before I started college, I began to notice that the sun had a profound effect on me. The more time I spent in the sun, the more my mood improved. Now, this is likely due to the vitamin D I was getting from the sun, but it inspired a line of thinking that I now claim as my spirituality.

The sun is a constant in all of our lives. In my area of the world, the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. But no matter the conditions, whether it is a clear or cloudy day, the sun is always present.

One of my favorite quotes is from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” I believe that when the sun rises in the morning, it is our opportunity to begin a fresh, brand new day. All sorrows and mistakes that were made in previous days may be released from our minds, because when the sun rises, our slates are wiped clean, within reason.

For me, the sun symbolizes warmth, strength, passion, light, and peace. When I find myself in a ray of sunshine, I feel as though I am surrounded by a healing energy. On days when I feel down, I spend time in the sun. While my troubles most likely will not disappear from simply sitting in the sunshine, I do often feel peace of mind and am then able to figure out the situation I am facing.

About a year ago, I was going through a bout of depression. I was sitting in a rehearsal for a women’s choir that I am in, and was thinking about this dull aching feeling I had in my chest. I was thinking about how I needed to focus on the music and the rehearsal, but all I could focus on was the unexplainable sorrow that I feeling. It was time for us to switch gears in rehearsal and take a look at Birdsong composed by Paul Read. I was able to focus more on this song, and really understand the lyrics.

Try to open your heart to beauty…

And the world is full of love

And how fine it is to live

Oh, how wonderful to be alive!

When the message of the song sunk in, I was surrounded by warmth because a ray of sunshine had come through the windows. It was at this moment, that I had begun to have faith again, and one of the most treasured memories I have to this day.

Having faith in the sun and believing in its energy and all it symbolizes might be unconventional, but I claim it as my spirituality. The sun gives me strength, peace, and hope to continue with every day.