I have risen early today, far in the distance, a faint glow paints the horizon. Dawn is coming, gently and full of prayer. I step quietly from my bed, alive to the silence around me. This is the quiet time, the time of innocence an soft thoughts, the childhood of the day.
Now is the moment when I must pause and lift my heart – now before the day fragments and my consciousness shatters into a thousand pieces. For this is the moment when the senses are most alive, when a thought, a touch, a piece of music can shape the spirit and color the day.
But if I am not careful – if I rise, frantic, from my bed, full of small concerns – the mystical flow of the imagination is at rest will be broken, the past and swept up into life’s petty details and myriad obligations. Gone will be the openness that comes only to the waking heart,and with it, the chance to focus the spirit and consecrate the day.
All the great spiritual traditions have known this. the Christian monastics remain silent until their first change of morning praise. Muslims begin their day with petitions of humility and thanks. The Dakotah Indians learned as children to walk in silence to a lake or stream, splash water on their faces, then offer up a prayer toward the sun.
Our lives may not allow such exalted devotions. But something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and the gift of another day. It need not be much. A prayer whispered quietly, a gently touching of a plant or flower, a momentary gaze upon a sleeping child, a second’s stillness in the presence of the light. Any of these will do. What is needed is only a pausing of the heart so the spirit can take wing and be lifted toward the infinite.
I walk silently toward the window. The darkness is lifting. A thin shaft of lavender has creased the horizon, setting the edges of the trees on fire with morning light. I pause and bow my head. For this brief moment, I am held in the hand of God, and I am sent forth into the morning with the poetry of possibility beating in my heart.