A key place we begin together in the Daily Living Program, is examining how we welcome the day and night of our lives.
This is a rich exploration that flows between the practical and metaphysical terrain of our lives.
I wanted to share some thoughts and resources here with you today that you may find of value to experiment with welcoming your day with stillness.
Having said that, much of what I share below can indeed ALSO support our welcoming of the night. More on that in a future post.
“In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love”.
Morning ~ A sacred re-set
The morning is a most auspicious time to inhale & exhale stillness. In the waking hours our psyche is most impressionable. Before diving into your phone, emails, turning on the tv and or radio, spend some time resting and welcoming stillness. Invite and allow what moves through your mind and body to be in flow.
Literally & symbolically, when we consider the phases of our day, through an Ayurvedic lens, there are "time frames" that correlate to elemental energies. These energies are literally good for certain forms of expression. They support key activities of daily living that honour our innate, internal nature to flow with the rhythms of the day. Symbolically, we can extend our perceptions of these "time frames" to highlight the cycles of life in physical form. Birth to death.
In Ayurveda and in many philosophical and emerging scientific views of life (astrology, metaphysical and spiritual, systems theories, quantum science), there is a notion of a cosmic principle of Microcosm and Macrocosm:
Some familiar phrases:
As above, so below
The one contains the many, the many contains the one
All is one
Whether you subscribe to this world view or not, my invitation is to consider experimenting with it's invitation for your daily living.
Dr. Claudia Welch wrote about a powerful invitation to consider, relative to the auspicious and correlative nature of the morning, in her article called: Dinacharyia: Changing Lives Through Daily Living.
If we overlay the 24-hour cycle microcosm over the cycle of a lifetime, we see that predawn through early morning roughly corresponds to pregnancy, birth and early childhood. Morning corresponds to later childhood, midday to midlife, and late afternoon through twilight equates to old age or the twilight of life. Nightfall signifies death and nighttime resonates with the mysteries encountered by the unembodied soul between lifetimes.
If this law of Macrocosms and Microcosms is valid, then it stands that we can affect the macrocosm of a lifetime via the microcosm of a 24-hour cycle. If we can affect our lifetime by how we live a day, it follows that it is therefore important how we pass our days. The sages who first delivered the precepts of Ayurveda were well aware of this and outlined a daily routine, called dinacharya, which serves as a guideline for us to follow. It provides a structure that we can adjust according to our various needs and constitutions.
To illustrate this, here is an image that represents an Ayurvedic view of times and doshic influences most alive in each phase of a day.
Imagine...co-creating in alignment with this perspective, opening up an inner reset button, not only for your "day" but for your life.
Morning stillness activities
For some who are drawn to meditation this is a great time to engage this practice. For the writers among us, writing now embodies a most creative tone. One that invites a clearing of the night’s mind, a transcribing of residual dream wisdom and a most auspicious time to offer form to your intentions for the day.
If you’re called to move, engage first with slow, rhythmic movements. Movements that honour the descension of the dreamlike state into the physical. Then, once awakened fully, engage in more vigorous movements, as it feels in alignment to do so.
Consider the morning as a non-negotiable time to be in communion with your spirit.
The truth has been in my own journey, that as I have stepped into this practice, my capacity to flow with the ever present opportunity to connect more deeply with my spirit throughout the day, strengthens. In a WEL-Systems perspective, we're grounded in the view that we're truly never without the opportunity to take a breath, drop in and connect.
And yet, our day to day lives are filled with invitations to push through, disconnect and distract, all intelligent responses if we're not connected fully with our capital "S" self.
Whatever your form of relating to your spirit is, prayer, meditation etc. covet your morning space and time. Even if it is five minutes, honour this as an indication of reverence for your essence that has awoken yet again in physical form.
Then move out through your day with a remembrance of the touch down that commenced your day. It is but a breath away to reconnect with in any moment.
Maybe you’re interested in meditation? And experimenting with its offering of support in your life.
There are many forms of meditation. At its heart, meditation, in whatever way you commit to, invites and cultivates stillness each morning. Time to pause and interrupt what can often feel like constant internal chatter. It is dedicated time each morning for at least 5-15 minutes to invite stillness. Whether we are listening to a guided meditation (which for many starting out, is a great entry, or sitting quietly and observing the inflow and out flow of our breath).
Dr. Deepak Chopra eloquently describes,
“In meditation we disrupt the unconscious progression of thoughts and emotions by focusing on a new object of attention, whether that is a mantra, our breath, or an image.
Meditation and mindfulness based practices are being shown for many to support the loosening of the grip of sticky emotions and to connect to our true self, which isn’t limited, angry, or fearful, but is infinite, pure, holistic consciousness. Meditation for many of us brings us home to the peace of present-moment awareness and gives us an experience of profound relaxation that dissolves fatigue and long-standing stresses and – as countless studies have shown – promotes both physical and emotional healing.
The benefits of meditation that are being shown in research include:
• Lowered blood pressure and hypertension
• Slower heart rate
• Decreases cholesterol levels
• Reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
• More efficient oxygen use by the body
• Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
• Improved immune function
Beyond these significant health benefits, the greatest gift of meditation for me is the sense of calm and inner peace it brings into my daily life. Over time it has along with my commitment to living as spirit in tissue has invited an experiential knowing of this that permeates beyond my meditation practice.
If you’re interested in exploring mantra meditation to start your day with stillness, check out the current 21 Day Meditation Challenge
Meditation is a vast and growing field that has permeated western culture. Thank goodness. And yet, in my experience with many clients, not all resonate at this time with it. Maybe they have tried a form of meditation and it has been less than lovely...maybe they find that right now, it actually amplifies more restlessness than stillness. What I want to convey here, is, whatever your experience is with meditation, trust yourSelf.
One of the most important goals for me with welcoming my day with stillness is to strengthen my trust of Self.
So, consider what I have offered here as invitations to explore and experiment. You are the most important guide for knowing what works and what doesn't for you. Reach out and engage a teacher, a coach, a mentor. Someone who will support your discovery of what will work best for you.
Writing as a morning stillness practice
Often we think that stillness means no movement. In fact, what we discover as we begin to engage stillness in the morning and at various points throughout the day, is, stillness has a profound impact and cultivates a rhythmic movement that invites flow. An interesting paradox of stillness.
In fact, stillness invites a greater aliveness. Consider this wise perspective offered by Einstein....
"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
If you’re interested in structured support for cultivating a writing practice, I highly recommend Julia Cameron’s approach to morning pages.
If you're not jazzed about either of these, simply begin an experiment of five minutes each day of sitting quietly and breathing (before you engage your external senses).