Lately I’ve been thinking about ways to recognize the preciousness – the holiness – of each moment. At first, I considered words like “consecrate” and “sanctify.” They suggest that the choice comes from me. Instead, I want to acknowledge the sacredness of all that surrounds me and is within me.
Monastic orders across religions, time, and geography have regular prayer times that encircle their days. I do some, but want to do more. Here is a description of what I’m doing these days. I’ve added noon and work signoff to my practice this month. I feel vulnerable and shy about sharing them here, but publish it with the hope that it may give you ideas for your own recognition ceremonies. Let me know how it goes.
I spend more time in the morning because I have time alone on waking. I’m separating this into steps for easier reading.
Establishing mindful breath: I count 21 breaths, forward and backward twice. (1… 2… 3 and so on to 21 and then 20… 19… 18 and so on.)
Tracing the web of connectedness: I do loving kindness meditation for myself, members of my immediate family, those who are working for racial justice, health care workers, political leaders, and all beings. (May you be safe. May you be strong. May you live with joy. May you be peaceful and at ease.)
Practicing gratitude: I identify at least five blessings from the previous day.
Cultivating purpose: I remind myself of my intention. (Choose joy. Beam love. Breathe peace. Find beauty. Learn things.)
I recite Thich Nhat Hanh’s morning greeting. (“Waking up, I smile. 24 brand-new hours stretch before me. I bow to live each moment fully and to look at all I meet with the eyes of compassion.”)
Petitioning presence: I sing a variation on the Tallis Canon. (All praise to thee my God this day for help you give me on the way. I ask, O God, at this day’s start: May I reach out with open heart.)
I practice 10 to 20 minutes of breath awareness/centering meditation, beginning with the four dharmas of Gampopa and ending with a dedication of merit.
I have been missing this one, but I’d like to reinstate singing (possibly only in my head, depending on who’s around and how much I might disturb them) a Taize chant (the kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Come Lord, open in us the gates of your kingdom.)
I need to pause my Smylemouse when I am done with my computer for the day. I can do that with an internal gesture of gratitude for the days work.
I sing the more traditional Tallis Canon: all praise to thee, my God, this night for all the blessings of the like. Keep me o keep me, King of Kings, beneath thine own almighty wings.
This is, clearly, and idiosyncratic mash up of the two faiths that have come to sustain me – Christianity and Buddhism. It will be interesting to watch as my daily office evolves. The goal remains the same: dropping into the miracle of life.
May you feel holy energy as it gathers around you.