I was delighted with myself,Rumi
having offered everything I had:
my heart, my faith, my work.
“And who are you,” you said,
“to think you have so much to offer?
It seems you have forgotten
where you’ve come from.”
Translated by Coleman Barks
A sweetness entered my awareness as I opened the front door. Immediately, the inner grumpiness dissipated with an infusion of fresh early morning air. The mood change had come about because I had arisen an hour earlier than my biorhythms had expected. It was the Sunday when time had “sprung” forward an hour for the annual shift to daylight savings time
Outside it was mostly dark. A few stars lingered in the sky that was giving way to light. Silhouettes of nearby redwood trees and rooftops were beginning to appear. Soon, the bustle of the town would begin. I stood still and savored this moment that I had almost missed.
This morning embrace was a humbling reminder of the gracious essence of existence. For eons, life has dynamically folded and unfolded within an invisible, infinite unknown. The tides ebb and flow. Living beings are born and die. Laughter rises and fades. Perhaps it is the sheer immensity of reality that causes us to narrow our focus to our little irritations such as the time change and its impact on our sleep.
Rumi invites us not to get overly attached to our experiences or beliefs in life. We can so easily take any one of them as our own, and then wrap it in judgment and arrogance, or fear and anger, or even delight and happiness. For now, I’ll stick with reverence and awe. I hope you will join me.
This short practice invites ease.
- Turn your electronic devices to airplane mode. Remove any non-medical measuring devices, such as your watch.
- Stand. Stretch. Then, gently shake out your limbs – one at a time.
- Standing, bring your hands in front of your chest and open them like a book. Imagine that you are holding your truest self within your hands. Let this be a reminder of your own inner sweetness and kindness. Then, bring your hands into prayer position in front of your heart-center. (Let your fingertips and base of your palms touch. Leave a little space in the center of your palms.)
- In the following, you will be quietly saying the words “Namo Namaha,” which can loosely be thought of as “not mine.” You may wish to re-read the poem by Rumi to support this practice.
- Inhale: Sweep your arms out to the side and upward. Bring your palms in prayer position over your head. Pause. Take a full breath.
- Saying or chanting “Namo Namaha” (Nah-mo Nah-ma-hah), bring your hands back to prayer position in front of your heart-center. Pause. Take a full breath.
- Remember that feeling of holding your highest self in your hands.
- For the movement, you may:
- keep your palms together and let them slide down the center of your face and upper torso; or,
- sweep your arms out to your sides and back to your heart-center.
- Repeat this six times.
Transition back into your day –
- Come to a seated position. If comfortable, close your eyes. Otherwise, invite a soft focus to your gaze.
- 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 31, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo by M. Wrona. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2020.
NOW AVAILABLE!! My new book “Our Inherited Wisdom” 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry” This is a perfect companion, whether you are quarantined or just need to uplift your mood and mind. Here’s is some of what BookLife, a magazine for bookstores and libraries, has to say:
- ” Vogt’s calm mentorship invokes a sense of peace and gratitude. “
- “… [Vogt] does an excellent job making the poem, personal story and practice for each element feel cohesive and mutually relevant.”
- “[Vogt’s] practices are easy to understand and execute while remaining original and inspiring.”
- “Both experienced meditators and those still learning to cultivate intentionality and presence can gain much from this paean to thoughtfulness and peace.”