Morning Meditation (written 2008)
This summer R. works the “morning shifts” in the kennel every second morning and on these days J. and I alternate taking a “sleep in morning”. I do sleep in, for me. Instead of 5:15, I rise at 6:30. I splash water on my face, pull on yoga pants and a tunic top and step slowly into the day as I would into the shocking pleasure of a hot tub. I avoid anyone still in the house, savoring the serenity of solitude. It is such a fragile thing. A tone of voice or a mumble, even from a distance, sends me tumbling into that complicated world of relationships...interpreting moods, worrying and reacting. I want to stay muffled in the silence where my ears are tuned to the birds and the fall of water and my heart beats in an easy rhythm I can follow with all my attention if I choose.
My nighthawk family shake their heads at this rising early when I don't need to. They'd choose to sleep. But that, to me, is like throwing an unwrapped gift into the trash having only admired the ribbons and pretty paper. I'm a morning soul; given the chance I'd live to this inner clock. But that doesn't mean I have a wish to dash out the door. I like to linger, to prepare.
This morning I pad across the hall to my meditation cushion, light candle and incense and do refuge bows, settle in blankets to meditate. Rising and falling. I see how long the out-breath is and the long-long pause before a shorter in-breath. And I see planning mind...what is left over in the fridge, what to serve for lunch, if I bake today what will I use of the fruit on hand ripening too quickly. Then an inward smile and back to the breath. A voice, then another in the kitchen down the hall. I hear abruptness and begin to analyze mood. Stop! Breathe. A thought pattern arises about how I create suffering in this analytical mind...ah, so I analyze that! Smile. Stop. Breathe.
And so the time of no time passes. My little bell calls to me. I unwrap the blankets, do homage bows. Blow out the candle. The incense is ash now in the bowl of rice. My breathing is smooth and easy. My heart is rested and open. I take a moment to remember my intention to remember this. One of my teachers calls it, “re-minding”, this coming back to how the mind is over the course of the day, remembering this intention to pay attention.
My day won't be quiet. It will be filled with barking and doggy kisses, customers coming and going, family needs and activities. It will be filled with pleasure and with irritation, maybe even pain. But whatever fills the day will be absorbed with more grace and ease by a quiet heart and mind.