Night is passing,
sun comes by dawn,
Awaken now, beauty’s essence,
heart of love.
Hakim Omar Khayyám
Translated by Nahid Angha, PhD
Most mornings I awaken into the near soundlessness of pre-dawn. It feels like a generous pause, magically tucked between night and day. There may be an occasional sound of leaves being rustled by the wind, but otherwise it is silent. The nighttime calls of the local coyotes and owls have faded and left a silent opening to the first sounds of the day.
This sense of a quiet interlude seems to be echoed in the deep blue expansiveness of the sky. Starlight has dimmed, and the starry constellations have lost their discernibility. One or more planets might still glisten, but otherwise there is just a calm yielding of one phase of the daily cycle to the next.
Within this gentle transition, I often feel the presence of the surrounding hillsides and canyons. It is as though they are stirring and slowly readying themselves to be the story-keepers of the activity of another day. As part of the skin of the earth, they support and hold the long story of transitory earthly life – human and non-human. Their presence feels like a loving welcome and embrace for all beings who have witnessed their morning awakening.
Each pre-dawn offers me a humble reminder to slow down and prayerfully notice the ever-present grace of life’s transitions. In walking, there is a transition from one foot to the other. Between receiving and letting go of the breath, there are transitions. In conversations, there are transitions. Every blink of an eye is a transition. The coming and goings of the waves, seasons, and lifetimes are transitions. With tomorrow’s pre-dawn, I will begin anew. Please join me.
This practice invites you to slow down and notice transitions.
- Remove any potential distractions—for example, take off your watch, and put your phone on airplane mode.
- Find a comfortable seated position. Invite your facial muscles, neck, and shoulders to relax. If you are in a chair or on a bench, comfortably rest both feet on the floor.
- Calm your primary senses:
- Eyes—Close your eyes. Gently and lightly rest the pads of your index fingers on your eyelids. Let your ring, middle, and little finger pads rest on your cheeks. Pause here with a few easy breaths. Invite your eyes to relax away from the lids, i.e., let them take a break from their almost constant use during the daytime.
- Ears—While keeping your index fingers on your eyes, add an additional relaxation away from outer stimuli. Do this by closing off sounds by lightly pressing your thumbs on your front ear flaps.
- With your fingers still in place over your eyes and ears, breathe up to seven (7) even, smooth breaths. Stay within your comfort level.
- If comfortable, invite an effortless awareness of the transitions between each inhalation and exhalation.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Release your hands into your lap. Your eyes may be closed or in a soft gaze.
- Sit quietly for 3 minutes or longer. Silently set an intention to prayerful notice and offer gratitude to small transitions throughout the day, e.g., when you are walking. Seal that intention in by giving yourself a hug with appreciation that you will do the best you can and generously accept your own efforts no matter what they are.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 9, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The practice is an edited excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry by Kate Vogt, page 311. The photo is by Brad Mann. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2022.