Waking this morning a little before six. Through the eastern window at the foot of my bed, I see my day beginning at the horizon – a clear band of soft light below a layer of clouds. How to get out of bed this morning? I have time. It’s still early.
Rather than force the issue, I try to wake myself gently. Like a father hovering over his young son – wanting to wake him but not wanting to disturb him. Lovingly touching the small sleeper’s shoulder, he murmurs: ‘David. David. Time to wake up.’
Now I remember. It’s my mother’s voice waking me up. It didn’t used to be my job to wake up or to know what time it was. That was Mom’s job—coming into my room to urge me toward the vertical. Now it’s all up to me—to get in time for meditation—to remember what day it is and what I’m supposed to do. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but part of me longs for the days when it wasn’t my responsibility.
But now that it’s my job, in the waking, if I can, I like to find the current that guides me from the dark river of sleep and toward the firmer bank of consciousness. On a good day I can almost sense the water gradually getting shallower as I drift toward the dawning. At some point, my feet find the firm earth beneath the surface. I stand and walk out into a new country—the land of this day.
I wander through fields and streets meeting the strangely familiar people of this foreign country. I try to communicate with them though mostly I can’t understand their language of odd sounds and gestures. I watch carefully to learn their customs and do my best to join in the busyness and festivities.
When I tire of it all, I somehow find my way back to the river and enter once more—wading into the shallows then giving myself back to the fluid darkness to be carried off once more.
This sleeping and waking—this falling in and out of consciousness every night and day makes me wonder if the one who thinks he is in charge of my life may not actually be the primary mover – that maybe it is the river rather than me.
Sunlight splashes through this second floor window – just now cresting the rooftops to the east – thickly yellow against the pale wall of my bedroom. I swing my feet to the floor and pad off toward the bathroom.