Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I woke in the dark. I put on soft simple clothing. I walked through the rain. Then I sat in a quiet room and tried to focus on my breath.
I used to do this all the time. For over two years, I woke up at 3:50 am almost everyday to sit in a room a doing gentle battle with their my karma.
But my life changed. I left the monastery. I started working. And this simple practice of waking up early to sit was lost. And though I missed it, I accepted this change as part of a new way of life.
Today when I woke up and walked to the meditation hall. It felt like sliding into an old beloved sweater that had been misplaced in the back of a closet. The smooth clothe of practice slid over my skin and warmed me.
Today reminded me of why I started this journey and why I continue it. It reminded me of why I started this blog and business of the same name. It reminded me that it began because something called me to see this deep truth hidden in my heart. And once I had caught a glimpse of it, I knew I had to share that sliver with whomever I could.
So whatever you want or whoever you want to be, wake up early and seek it. Wake up early and write, paint, code, sit, sing, pray, and dream. Wake up early and meet the self you want to embody. Maybe not everyday, but some days and with some regularity.
It is the promises made and acted out in the first hours of the waxing sun that sink into our bones and anchor us to the potential of what our lives can be.
8 thoughts on “Waking Up Early To Sit”
So very true, and yet so elusive. Without the ingrained discipline gained through many years of practicing mindfulness, we occasional early morning risers can be caught up in the stillness of daybreak, but, for this frenetically chaotic brain, holding back the threat of full daylight is a short-term blessing. One pre-dawn summer morning several years ago, I awoke at a farmhouse set in the middle of what used to be cottonfields in central Alabama. My bed facing east, I opened the plantation shutters onto a shimmering silvery-blush mist, just beginning to rise from the tall unmown hayfield and caught my breath at the vanishing scene before me.
I had the decidedly unromantic prospect of having to drive the 3 hours to Atlanta nearly immediately, and I was outside profaning the silence with the slamming of car doors, and taking off down the live-oak-lined drive with what seemed to be an unnecessary noise level. I was, to say the least, resentful that mundane city obligations trumped the fairy world. And then I grabbed a CD from a pile on the passenger seat and pushed it into the car stereo without looking – voluntarily, automatically adding to the dismantling of my beautiful dawn.
Except that I had unwittingly pulled Beethoven’s Symphony Pastorale from the pile. I sped down twiisting roads, and, as the unearthly, serene magnificence of that timeless music chased the engine sounds from my ears, I began to relax, And when I finally allowed myself top scan the scenery around me, I was, incredibly, still in a rosy dawn mist hovering over miles of fields. Routine thoughts held in thrall by this sensual ambush, I was troubled only by the inability to put a name to what I was feeling; it was the joy of being there.
Not all our reminders to step out of the flow of life’s traffic are jarring, thankfully.
What a beautifully written comment and sentiment. It’s funny how the universe can conspire to make us peaceful even when we resist. Thanks for your comment.
When I read this, it was 05:00 am in the morning, so you might be wondering what the hell am I doing at 5.00 am (checking emails). I stopped it immediately,as this article suggested. I went out for a walk in the quietness. It was amazing.. thank you for making my day. I do hope that I am able to do this everyday. Grateful for everything that I have.
Wow this comment totally made my day too! Thank you so much!
I love the visual image of walking through the early morning darkness in the rain! Pre-children, I regularly walked along the beach in the morning & I really miss it as it was a wonderful way to calmly start the day. It is definitely something I need to bring back to my days. Thank you!
Thank you for the reminder of how still and peaceful being up early can be. I used to farm and regularly got up in the dark and went out at first light to get my hands into the dirt. I do miss that and it would be a wonderful practice to renew a few times per week.
Thank you for the inspiration, Toku.
This is so beautifully written and such an inspirational message Toku.
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