You’re in my eyes.
How else could I see light?

You’re in my brain.
This wild joy.

If love did not live in matter,
how would any place have
any hold on anyone?

Translated by Coleman Barks

As I sat down on a park bench, a nearby shrub seemed aglow.   The glistening was evenly spread throughout the bush, giving the appearance that someone had hung strands of sparkling lights between the branches; instead, it was the afternoon light revealing the otherwise hidden artistry of a spider.

The light danced across the lacey network of satiny threads.  Across the space between the shrub’s branches, different colors seemed to playfully take turns shining fully.  No hue lingered longer than any other, each gracefully bowing to their collective source – the eternal light.

In the background, the air carried a faint fragrance.  The sweetness of the scent pulled my awareness back into my everyday senses.  I had been captivated by the glowing threads as a potent reminder of the mysteriously beautiful and sacred grace of light.  Somewhat ironically, the aroma arose from the bush.

The shrub was the ancient herb, rosemary, which has long been revered as holy.   Sprigs of rosemary have traditionally been used to offer blessings for the deceased as well for the living, e.g., weddings.   The aromatic presence of rosemary clears energetic obstacles, and invites liberating energies of reverence, love, compassion and joy.

It is no wonder that this plant was lit up by the light.

This short practice invites awareness of daily light.  
You may wish to read through this practice the day before practicing.

 Prepare – 

  • Rise early enough time before dawn so you can:
    • First, take care of your early morning hygiene and any personal habits.
    • Then, make your way to a window or outdoor spot where you can witness the first light of the day for at least five minutes.
      • Unless needed for a medical condition, leave your digital devices, including those on your wrist, behind.

Practice – 

  • Standing or seated, face the eastern direction where the sun rises.
    • Find a comfortable position.
    • As though you are meeting a close friend, invite a sense of ease – and perhaps delight – into your awareness.
    • If possible, allow yourself to be fully present for the next few moments with the rising of the sun.
      • Promise your mind that there will still be time to do all that it wants to do.  Perhaps let it know that for now it gets to take a little break from its constant work to run ahead of itself, full of anticipation, expectation, and evaluation.
  • Once positioned, lightly close your eyes for one or two breaths.
    • Invite your entire eye area to relax.
  • Gently open your eyes, yet “see” with your entire being.
    • Imagine your entire being is made of tiny eyes, all soaking in the full experience of morning’s first light.
    • Try to wholeheartedly be present with dawn – the sounds, the sensations, the fragrances, the shapes, the colors, and the forms.
      • Perhaps note your overall mood, feelings, impulses, and awareness; however, invite a sense of friendliness toward yourself, setting aside judgments and self-criticisms.
  • Note:  You may be used to only using your eyes for observing an occurrence such as dawn.   If you choose to use only your eyes for this part of the practice:
    • Consider the advice from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” and “We see only what we know.”
    • Consider advice from all the many sages across the ages to try seeing from your heart, i.e., observe with loving awareness.
  • Feel free to stay and quietly observe as long as comfortable.
  • Silently acknowledge your inner light.
    • Take one hand over your heart, and the other on top.
    • If comfortable, close your eyes.  Otherwise, allow them to remain open in a soft gaze.
      • Notice the gentle weight of your hands over your heart-center.  Perhaps smile.
      • Acknowledge the loving Light within your heart and its endless capacity for compassion, kindness, equanimity, and joy.
      • Breathe three breaths.
      • After your three breaths, three times reach your hands from your heart up toward the sun and back to your heart.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit – or stand, if you have been standing – quietly for a full breath.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 48, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Kelly Sikkema.
H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on  KateVogt©2023.

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