I have started a new page on my blog to to track my Sunrise Sadhana from now until the Summer Solstice.
Here is my beginning entry from yesterday…
My Sunrise Sadhana
April 5th: Day #1
Today begins my personal Spring. Or so the voice in my head told me as I was out walking before sunrise this morning.
And so I’ve resolved that today also begins my journey to the summer solstice. Each day I will rise before the sun, earlier and earlier to keep pace with its expanding arc as it journeys towards its zenith, and take my walk in the glimmering, that quiet hour in which the dark has been pierced and the light is growing, but the world is still pristine, unsullied by the responsibilities of life and the world of commerce that clogs our streets and minds. Each day I shall watch the sunrise, to revel in the glory of the star that gives light and warmth and life to our planet, to behold the new beginning of each day, to celebrate the promise that new beginning holds, and if not celebrate – if my mood proves to gloomy – to at least honor that promise by bearing witness to the rising sun.
It was actually the robins that drew me out of my home this morning. The building chorus outside my window called to me, irresistible sirens whose voices have so many times lured me into pleasurable sojourns.
The invitation this morning was so reminiscent of a morning almost 30 years ago when I lived in north woods town of Bemidji. That morning too the robins called to me, and I enjoyed a walk of sublime peace through the empty streets that lead me to the shores of lake Bemidji. So today there was no thought of refusal as the robins coaxed me from my warm bed to venture into the chill spring air.
This walk, now in Minneapolis, led me to the shore of Lake Harriet. As I reached the far side I turned back to the east to discover the sun just beginning to creep over the horizon and climb through the trees that line the lake. There is a thin mist hovering above the frozen lake, it veils the sun just enough so that the eye can look upon it without discomfort. Through this veil the sun rises like a pure incandescent sphere, as round as a marble.
With its crisp edges and muted light, the sun could easily have been mistaken for the full moon, even its size was right. As it cleared the treetops, it hung there for a moment and a pileated woodpecker broke the silent morning air with its raucous cuck-cuck-cuck-cuck –cuck!
sunrise of a new beginning
– the shaman’s rooster
* * *
For many years I have wanted create a ritual practice leading up to the summer solstice of rising at least 1 hour before sunrise and going for a walk, and watching the sun come up. Of course, this means that one must rise earlier and earlier as the days pass and the solstice approaches. Where I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the 45th parallel – exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole -the sun rises at 5:26 CDT on the solstice, which falls on June 21. This means rising at least by 4:26. I will have many early mornings!
I am inspired to engage in this practice by the desire fully immerse myself into the seasonal change, to really experience the longer and longer days, to enjoy the dawn, to fill my lungs with fresh morning air and hopefully to fill my head with fresh morning thoughts, and to witness the daily miracle of rising sun.
Added to this long held desire to engage in this ritual, a soulfriend introduced me to the practice of a yoga sadhana, which is a commitment to a daily spiritual discipline intended for self-improvement or self-transformation.
There is something about the incremental pace of the changing season that I find deeply appealing, rising those few minutes earlier each day as the sun rises just a few moments earlier. But amassing over time, great change takes place. Perhaps part of my hope is that I will undergo an incremental change as well. The sun is my guiding light in this process.