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Monday, October 24, 2011

Greet Your Day

Did you know that most contemplative monks and nuns, Catholic and Buddhist, begin their day around 3 or 4 a.m.? They greet the light with prayer and meditation. Native Americans of the Lakota tribe greet the sun rising as the manifestation of Wakan Tanka, the equivalent of God in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Your daily ritual may involve getting up to an alarm, rushing to shower, dress, eat, and then dashing to work. For a change, set your alarm early and begin your day with the sunrise -- Mother Nature's daily expression of hope; her celebration of new beginnings. Greeting the dawn is a wonderful way to begin your day -- in sync with the rhthyms of nature and in touch with your spirit. If you are already rising with the sun to get ready for work, try this "Greet Your Day" meditation on the weekend.

Here we go!

Do this meditation outdoors at sunrise. Check you newspaper to find out what time the sun will be rising and make sure you get up in time to be a part of it! Depending on where you live, you may need to dress warmly or stay inside in front of a window facing east. If this is the case, open the window if possible so you can as closely duplicate being outside.

1) Find a spot facing east and take your seat on a chair, cushion or blanket just before sunrise. Take a few deep breaths and settle into a comfortable position.

2) Bring your attention to the sounds of the birds and animals stirring, the Earth below you and the sky above. Feel your own energy and be conscious that you are at the spot where Earth meets sky.

3) Welcome the coolness of the dawn air on your face. It is the freshness of a new day. Feel yourself being enveloped by the expanse of the sky and nature. Enjoy the peace that surrounds you.

4) As the sky lightens in the east and the night gives way to day, let go of the ups and downs of the day before. Greet the morning with tenderness, and feel loving kindness toward yourself and others. Acknowledge the end of yesterday and celebrate the new beginning of today.

5) Sit in quiet contemplation until you are ready to start the day. Throughout the day, see if you can bring yourself back to these early moments of peace as often as you can.

I remember the summer before my senior year in high school, my sisters and I sailed to Hawaii from California with my dad. It was a 2 week journey without seeing land or another human being besides ourselves. Every night we took turns doing the nighttime watches. My favorite watch was from 4-6am when I could witness the sun rise -- completely unobstructed, seemingly right out of the water. There was no sound besides the water slapping against the hull, the creaking of the boat, or the pull of the sails.

Those sunrises left me awestruck and at total peace.

This is a beautiful meditation - I hope you make the opportunity to try it.

This meditation is from the Calming and Centering section of Madonna Gauding's The Meditation Bible.

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