Wake up, check email, brew some hot tea, hit the bathroom and sit down to listen to today's episode my favorite podcast. Its a holiday, but only half the family is here, so I get to spend that listening time in the quiet of the house's reading room and not, as is the usual routine, in the driver's seat of my car. Nice change of pace.
Its quiet in the house, as my son is upstairs watching videos on his iPad. Outside, its a balmy 5 degrees and the sun is just about to rise. The reading room is southern facing, with a large triple window that you face when sitting in the comfortable chairs. My normal chair, in fact, is the first thing the sun touches as it peaks out from behind the house across the street. As it is a cold, crisp morning, I realize its going to be a blazingly bright sun, so before it shows itself, I should probably start my morning meditation.
This is a new habit for me; only a few months old now. I spend about 4 hours per week, spread out over about 10 sessions, bringing myself back to center. I've got the basics down (breath, body scan, noting, resting awareness, focused attention, etc), but that's just the first step. Making time for this is great, but learning something from it has been more of a challenge. My relationship with anxiety has progressed, but the last few days have seen my meditations explode into mental chaos.
Knowing my mind is in chaos, I give myself some time, after that podcast is done, to try and settle down a bit. I let another podcast play in the background while I do a little web surfing. Your basic procrastination, but today, it unexpectedly paid off.
When you're at the beach or laying out at the pool, you can feel the warmth of the sun on your body. If you're like me, the glare can be just a bit too intense during these moments, even with your eyes closed, so sunglasses are a must. They keep that bright ball of burning gas in the sky contained just enough to make basking in its presence pleasurable. Yet, sunglasses also decreases our ability to really percieve it visually.
I start my meditation, and about 5 minutes into it, I feel my right ear spike in temperature, its surface heating up as those first rays touch me. Slowly, over the next few minutes, that warmth spreads out over the rest of the lobe and begins its trek across my face. As my cheek begins to tingle, the first bit of glow lights up the underside of my eyelid. It occurs to me, I'm about to experience a sunrise with my eyes closed. That's something I don't think I have ever experienced... and I note it, trying to return to the breath.
Time passes slowly for the next few minutes as a thin bar, the transition between shadow and sunlight, makes its way across my eyes. The glow becomes more insistent, pulling me away from the breath, again and again. I note it, and return.
For a few minutes, there is a strange lull in the progress, as my right eye is completely illuminated while the left remains in shadow. Slowly, the heat moves across my nose and the first bit of light begins to make the underside of my left eyelid glow. The glow increases, the warmth spreads, and only a few minutes prior to the end of the meditation, do I realize my face is now fully aglow. I return again to the breath.
And now the meditation is over. I open my eyes, staring straight into the glare of the newly risen sun, streaming in my front windows. There is no mystical moment here, no feeling of oneness with the universe, no sign from the heavens; its just a sunrise seen from a new perspective.
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