Night is passing,
sun comes by dawn,
Awaken now,
beauty’s essence,
heart of love.

Hakim Omar Khayyám
Translated by Nahid Angha, PhD

The neighborhood crows regularly greet me as I open the front door in the morning.  Occasionally, one will hop along the railing of the stairway as I descend from our apartment to the street.  Or, they will swoop overhead so closely that I can feel a slight breeze from their wings.  Once in a while one will walk either in front or back of me along the street.  If none are close by, I can still hear them cawing in the treetops.

During my childhood I regarded crows as scary.  It seemed that their gait was awkward and their nighttime hue was foreboding.  Their voices seemed unnaturally sharp and irritating.   I believed the lore that they were omens of death and danger and associated them with Halloween and ghoulish images of skeletons and ghosts.

Now, instead of associating them with darkness, the crows are my harbingers of light.   They announce the transition between nighttime and daytime, symbolically uniting all pairs of opposites.  It feels that the crows are precious messengers who tirelessly herald the eternal luminosity and its timeless expression in the ebb and flow of life – in the breath, transition of days, seasons, and all forms of living.

In addition to being carriers of the essence of light, the crows are also my reminder to lovingly keep an eye out and care for others.  They patiently keep watch from high perches.  Having a higher perspective, they have a comprehensive view of the full scope of below and above, into the sky.  Their attentiveness seems to fluidly translate into constant and caring communication; for example, if one detects food, there may be a steady cawing until others arrive, along with a careful vigil while they eat.

When one swoops overhead or walks nearby, I am humbly drawn into a renewed awareness of how fears can be temporary.  And, as fears subside, such as my early perspective on crows, there is a de-cluttering of the mind and heart, making more room for the whole of all.  That expanded wholeness allows for a clearer view of the fragile interconnectedness of every morsel of life.  Fears, like hurting others, can hurt all, including ourselves.  And similarly, true caring has no boundaries – it is at the heart of love.

Practice
This short practice supports our capacity to let go.

 Prepare –

  • Turn your phone and any other devices to airplane mode.
  • Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit.
    • If you are on a chair, place the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Make tight fist with both of your hands and hold for several seconds.
  • Release the fist and lightly shake your lower arms and hands.
  • Lightly brush your fingertips across your face, each of your arms, your torso and your thighs.

Practice –

  • Close your eyes for a few moments. Imagine any unneeded tension is melting.  Let it go from your face, chest, and rest of your body.
  • Open your eyes into a soft gaze.
    • With each inhale, imagine every cell in your body is smiling.
    • With each exhale, imagine your entire body is saying “aaah” as though you were settling into a hammock or a similar comfortable place.
  • Continue for a few minutes.
  • Notice the space between your toes. You might need to wiggle your toes a bit.  Notice the space between your arms and your body.  Notice the space between your fingers.  Notice the space behind you and all around you.
  • Invite an aura of ease into those spaces and imagine that ease is seeping into your skin, tissues, muscles, and organs. Invite ease into the core of your being.
  • Imagine you could hear yourself laughing. Laugh along with yourself.
  • Stand up and shake everything out – arms, legs, feet, hands – and sway from side to side as though you were a moving freely in the air.

Transition back into your day –

  • Return to your seated position. Sit quietly for a few moments.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 21, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.   Photo by photo dan Cardiff.  HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2021.  I humbly offer this reflection as a tribute to the generous, insightful, and loving spirit of Robert Michael Vogt whom I am honored to have had as a brother in this lifetime for 61 years.  May he abide in Infinite Love.

 

 

 

 

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