Keep walking, though there is no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move in the way fear makes you move.
Rumi

 

There was a loud snap outside our front door.  It was early morning and the world was yet to stir – that is, most of world. Some other being was also up and moving around. I paused for a few seconds and listened. My ears were greeted by peaceful silence and I felt myself slip into inner quietude.

If there is any time that I feel at home, it is pre-dawn. These early twilight hours feel open and expansive like endless horizon of the Great Plains where I grew up. It is as though there is fullness posing as nothingness. On the surface, it seems as though nothing is happening – no birds are singing, no traffic, no smells of coffee – but yet, the mystical beauty and potentiality of all life is there.

As the tranquility slipped into the background, I could feel my senses come alive. My nose registered the scent of fresh jasmine and my eyes the approaching day. There was the faint outline of two shapes hidden in the trees near our front steps.  In the early light, the two forms were barely discernable.

Two deer –  a mother and fawn – were grazing the wild grasses. Their translucent presence gave the appearance that they were otherworldly beings in earthly form. In the lore of mythology, deer are considered to be messengers of grace, serenity, gentleness and innocence. They convey the qualities for navigating difficult and unpredictable terrain with calmness, lightness, and acuity. Instead of living in fear, they swiftly move away. They are revered in stories for being able to hear the wordless wisdom of great teachers and for melting the hearts of demons with their loving gaze.

Divine messages are everywhere. They are tucked in the cycles, rhythms, and countless beings of nature.   They invite us to harmonize our minds and hearts with our planetary existence and responsibilities, all with loving humility. I feel that to “move within,” as Rumi proposes, is to embrace, and live by, our finer, subtler qualities written in the language of the planet and cosmos. This language is echoed in the words of sages, saints, prophets, and wise poets.

The quietude of pre-dawn and the deer can open us to discovering the rich reservoir of gifts that reside within and all around. I feel the first step is fully re-connecting with the net of reverence for all life. I hope you will join me.

Practice

This short practice brings awareness of pre-sleep habits.

  • Prepare –
    • Choose an evening where you feel you can attempt to be cyber-free for one hour before bedtime.
  • Practice –
    • One-hour before you plan to get into bed, minimize the potential influences on your mind.
      • Drink only tap water or herbal tea.
      • Disconnect, i.e., from your phone, computer, television, tablets, e-readers, and all digital devices.
      • Limit reading any material related to politics, war, self-improvement, society or famous people, or work-related material, e.g., books, papers or magazines.
      • Be aware of your sleeping space. Ideally, move all electronics at least five feet from where you rest your head at night, and out of reach of your hands. Try using a non-electronic alarm clock.
      • Note how this this feels.
    • During that “free” hour.
      • Take extra time with your nighttime habits, e.g., brushing your teeth.
      • Look around your sleeping space.
        • Lightly touch –
          • The things you have chosen to have near you during your sleep.
          • Your bedding and pillows.
          • Imagine that all these things are your friends.
          • Allow yourself to feel genuinely grateful for these friends.
    • Transition into your sleep –
      • Either before you get into bed, or when you first get to bed
        • Take one of your hands to your heart.
        • Consider beneficial qualities you really value in yourself, e.g., gentleness, light-heartedness,
          • Choose one as your intention for the next day.
          • Take ten easy, breaths.
            • Say to yourself – now, “breathe in;” and, “now, I breathe out.”
        • Sweet dreams 

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 2, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Matthew Schwartz on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019

 

 

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