A MEDITATION FOR YOU

Camille Dancing

Awakening

The transition from being asleep to being awake is one of life’s little mysteries. We emerge from the fertile darkness of night and dreams, and are reborn to the light of day. These first moments of consciousness are precious: as we awaken, we create ourselves and our relationship to the world anew.

When we fall asleep, consciousness is released from the body and stretches out into the vastness of the cosmos. During the night, we surrender our bodies and psyches to the deep healing waters of sleep. We release our grip on identity and give over to nature. We dream, drifting through an ocean of images, emotions, and movement largely beyond our control. Awakening in the morning, we return as if from another world. Awareness condenses and localizes again in the body, in this bed, this room, and this place on the planet. We come back to the particulars of our life: all our relations, and the many ways we're engaged with the world.

Becoming aware of this transition is a potent meditation. Instead of leaping out of bed, pause for a few moments to savor what it is to awaken. Lingering in this in-between state is very interesting and even blissful. Give yourself time to bask in the miracle:
I am alive.

The phenomenon of consciousness, that humans can be aware of our own existence, is truly a marvel. Contemplating the mystery of life, and death, is also the foundation of every spiritual tradition. Awareness of the ephemeral nature of our lives startles us out of complacency and into the present. Each moment becomes a gift, drenched in poignancy and awe. We awaken.

How you experience awakening is individual to you and can vary from day to day. The aspects of life that you cherish are your guide: the beauty you love, your sense of awe and wonder. Your practice is the deepening, unfolding discovery of what this means to you.

Prolonging and exploring these first moments in the morning sets the tone for the entire daylight journey to come. Instead of "getting up on the wrong side of the bed", take the time to establish the quality of experience you crave. Improve your percentage of "right side" awareness – gratitude for the gift of life.

Awakening Practice
When: Before rising in the morning.
Where: In bed.
Position: Lying down.
Time: 5 to 10 minutes.
Whenever possible, awaken naturally without an alarm. On those days that you need to keep track of time, though, we suggest you choose a sound that is not "alarming" – a gentle gong or chime, or music of your choice. The CD will guide you, but you may also want to set three separate alarms: one to wake you up, another to go off at 5 or 10 minutes, and time-permitting, a third at 20 minutes. In this way you can gently awaken, let go and luxuriate without worrying about being late.

LISTEN TO THIS
MEDITATION:
Drifting gently awake, gradually emerging from the world of sleep and dreams, take your time to savor the moment. When you first become aware that you are awake, do not move or open your eyes. Simply welcome the first moments of consciousness. Explore what it is to awaken.

Take a moment to allow any dreams to float into your awareness. What images linger at the fringe between the worlds of night and day? What moods or impressions remain from your nighttime journey?

Now notice the bodily experience of awakening to the day. As consciousness returns from the vastness, it gradually condenses back into your body. You become aware of being in bed, in this room, in this particular place on planet Earth. You are here. You are alive.

You are breathing. Gentle waves of breath awaken you to life, calling you into your body. Sense your bodyweight resting easily, the comfort of being secure in your nest. Feel how your shape snuggles into the bed. Enjoy the texture of the pillow and covers, any warmth or coolness on your skin. Receive the pleasure of this simple relaxed state.

When you are ready to, very slowly open your eyes to the light or darkness. Cherish being awake to the light. Luxuriate in this particular quality of light. Welcome the light. Turn your attention to the source of light, the sun rising in the east, illuminating our beautiful planet. Take a few breaths in appreciation.

After a few minutes, the tone of awareness will change and become more action-oriented. You will have thoughts of the day to come, of a relationship that needs attention, or your schedule of tasks. You'll notice your breath becoming more active as well.

At that point find your way into a morning stretch and yawn. Just as dogs and cats do when they awaken, and before they get up, stretch your animal body. Arch your back gently, extend your arms over your head, reach your legs out, breathe deeply and enjoy the sense of movement for a minute or two.

Be aware of everyone in your life, all your loved ones, everything that is important to you today. If you have a bedmate, give your partner a loving touch for a few moments before getting up. Re-establish your connection with a kiss, caress, or playful pat.

Now preparing to rise, imagine being in the world with the quality of awareness you desire. When you're ready, slowly curl up to a sitting position and place your feet on the ground. Sense the support of the Earth beneath you, and flow up into a standing position. With another conscious breath, take in the fullness of this moment of life. Then move on into your day.

Intention: I am grateful to be alive. I am awake to the beauty of life.



From MEDITATION 24/7: Practices to Enlighten Every Moment of Your Day
Copyright 2004, Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche, Ph.D.
Book with CD from Andrews McMeel Publishing

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photo: René Armenta