The Laying Away of the Dark

Such a morning this has been, beginning in the promise of darkness, for rising before dawn is to witness the laying away of the dark for the light.

I sit meditation, as I do every morning; I have come to rely on this hour of silence. This morning is not a sitting of insight but of “monkey mind,” one thought tumbling on top of another. It is a busy stillness. When the timer goes off, I mutter something to the effect of “that was difficult—again.”

Yet, something nags so I sit a moment in review. Ah, yoga dropped in near the end of my sitting, specifically my Peggy Cappy Easy Yoga for Arthritis DVD. I have owned it for three years; so far, it has been mostly a good intention.
Waverly Preening 0813

The yoga DVD dropped in during a moment of open awareness meditation, meaning my focus was on neither emotion nor sensation but on pause, a true gap between thoughts, before the emotion returned.

For some time now I have been sitting with the feeling of bittersweet, for the sensations of loss and gratitude swirl just beyond me. In this particular morning, I am in search of its energy but eddies of distraction, proven pools of fear, bring me to the surface of my breath, entangled in old story lines.

Once again, I do not reach the pure energy at the core of bittersweet.  It has been like this for a while, this sitting or almost sitting with bittersweet. In open awareness, I sense the light of the day, and in drops the thought of the yoga DVD.

It is not a surprise for one of the effects of this last lupus flare is a significant reduction in my physical activity, in particular taking my beloved morning walk. It is still a possibility but it is not benefitting me, as it once did. My joints ache to stretch but not to pound the ground, no matter the distance. In fact, I have spent the last two days recovering from a stroll around Waverly Pond.

And just as the Waverly story line started up, my meditation timer went off. That is what I remember from my morning’s sitting.

She Who Must Not Be DisturbedThe day is now more light than dark but there is not yet a sunrise. Feline EmmaRose is sitting meditation in the bedroom doorway. She Who Must Not Be Disturbed knows I will remain in the bedroom until otherwise directed.

As I have rested for two days, there is no body rebellion this morning. The physical stillness of sitting meditation is always a physical boon, for in meditation the body is allowed to awaken gradually. The yoga DVD is next to the decade-old television set. There is nothing for it except to insert the disc.
Waverly Posing 0813

I am familiar with most of the yoga poses, and Peggy Cappy encourages individual adaptation, much like Pema Chodron suggests meditation position adaptation. Yet, foremost in my mind is to stop the yoga poses at the first sign of discomfort. The thought is reminiscent of my early days with meditation.

For the first time in three years, I participate in the entire yoga session. As with the first time I stayed sitting meditation, I do not note the length of time nor its passing.

As I look out my bedroom window, the sun is high in the sky, shimmering off the leaves of the willow. An aquamarine vine snakes its way along the lower limb of a Ponderosa pine, reaching for the willow.

I remember many mornings, distant now but not really that long ago, when morning meditation was hit and miss, anything but integral to beginning the day. Then, I was determined to make each day fit my plan, and each day began with a morning walk. I smile.

A familiar feeling of surrender washes over me, embraced with total acceptance. The darkness of loss gives way to gratitude for mornings such as these.


17 thoughts on “The Laying Away of the Dark

  1. Nice meditative stream of consciousness, the language of contemplation always verges on poesy. I am fortunate to have good health, but we all suffer from the terminal condition called life. Thanks for following our blog, we look forward to more exchanges soon.


  2. Missed this until now- a lovely reminder of my sitting yoga/meditation session on the train. I must try it more often. A view on the world even from within takes us out of ourselves !


  3. Everything about this post is beautiful, Karen. I love how you were guided to the yoga and how you did the entire program without thinking about the end. Like Beth, I am in awe of the writing. So beautiful, unique, and descriptive. Every word is like a stoke of color in a Dutch Master painting. You are a true warrior poet. {{{hugs}}} Kozo


    1. I apologize for taking so long to respond to your comment but you know how some moments are…. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the kind words about my writing. In particular, I am humbled by “warrior poet.” Truly, thank you, Kozo.


  4. Hi Karen, I loved your pictures that are beautiful. I too have picked up meditation again as my health has been hit and miss for a long time now. In the morning if I can rise myself (if not the afternoon) I feed the birds that have a small table on the deck outside the cabin. Then I place the nuts for the squirrels and sit with my morning coffee and watch them. They are oblivous to the pleasure they give me. However, they stay and watch me watching them and as I chat to them, they tilt their heads like cats do, when you talk to them. Last week, a squirrel ran along the rail and looked into the cabin where I was sitting as if to say, “come on then, wheres my breakfast?”


    1. Hi, Athena!
      So glad to hear from you and thanks for sharing your morning moment. Meditation settles me, even when the sitting is a bit rocky. For me, the stillness is the stage for all the thoughts and the sensations enter and exit. Like you, I often watch squirrels outside my bedroom window as well as a cottontail rabbit or two. Take care of yourself. Best to you.


  5. Your post begins my morning with a smile, for not only does your writing inspire me with simply beautiful writing, “witness the laying away of the dark for the light.” but it reminds me that we can choose how to begin each day. For so many years, I bolted out of bed in the morning, truly that person who awakened instantly to made to-do lists. I’m retired for seven years now, but that old habit of working has not disappeared. But I love the quiet of morning and the courage to confront ‘what is’ that your blog gives me.


    1. Hello, Beth!
      Thanks for such a thoughtful and kind comment about my blog. It is most appreciated. Like you, I have known years of waking to lists and plans but for me, the greatest gift of my life now is that I wake up to it just for itself. It amazes me every morning. Best to you and yours, Beth.


  6. Beautiful post and picture. Surrender can be really hard to achieve but it’s in doing so that we find peace. I’m sorry you have Lupus, as you might know I have something similar to that, plus my closest friend has Lupus, so I understand a little of how it might be for you. Chronic illness is a difficult challenge but an all important teacher of surrender. Blessings to you!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and yes, I do know that you have something similar. For me, chronic illness is yet the most powerful teacher I have met but I have miles to go. Namaste.


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