Notes on a Buddhist path

Sitting on the ledge of morning

December 18, 2011 By | 2 Comments

When the cloak of night is barely pulling away from the body of the day, that is the time I most want to write.

Living a Monday through Friday life that so many of us do in this modern world, I find it hard to carve out the time for me and what gives my passion wings. Most times I write at night, at the end of the day when all the tasks shouting for completion have been vanquished and the quiet of exhaustion comes by for tea. Sitting here now, in the tenuous silence of a Sunday morning, the cars and buses on the street just beyond my window beginning to shake awake the day and all its busyness. Soon there will be people walking or running by, some walking their dogs, some talking to a companion, some talking apparently to themselves with earbuds nestled in the safe confines of their bubble world.

I love this time of day. It feels brand new, like a do over, a rebooting of all that we think we are, a cleansing of all the worries, the thoughts, the transgressions and yearnings of the day before. Early in the day dreams are still dancing through the corridors of my apartment building, hovering and embracing the secrets of our private worlds of accomplishments, of hopes and fears, of pleasures and wonderments.

In the quiet of day’s awakening there’s a chance to clean away the mists of judgments from our eyes. To open to mystery and the empty solace of seeing everything with no attachment to how it was before or how it could be. Perhaps this is what calls so many of us to meditate at this time of day. Sitting in silence before the sun peers into our world is a powerful time to touch the empty grace of utter peace.

Writing for me is a meditation as well. Where do the words come from? What is inspiration? The word itself comes from inspiratio meaning the  “immediate influence of God or a god,”  “inhaling, breathing in”, “inflame, blow into.” Jung brought forth the idea of a collective unconscious that serves as a grand repository of all our personal experiences, culling them into a living, breathing body of resources and divine connectivity tissue. We are all related. That is why the great music and literature and art and discoveries in science resonate with us at a profound and deep level. It is all there, all of it known, yet somehow new. Bringing us from the dark of separation to the divine light of humanity.

Why do I write? Why do I sometimes find gaps of times where no words find their way to the virtual page? I once viewed those lapses as wasted or a frittering of my time when I should be writing, I should be sitting down and letting my words connect me with the deepest part of me and the thread of holiness. Now I see the space between the words as the warp and woof of its substance. Living is what culls the words. Making my meals, going to work, laughing with a friend on a phone call, all of the doing lays out the pattern of what I will weave when I again breathe in the inspiration.

A woman walks past my window, her green felted beret tilted slightly, her coat buttoned tight against her knowing body. Where will the day take her? What was the first thing she saw when she woke up this morning? What are her dreams? That is another tapestry calling to be heard.

Morning Poem

by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

From “Dream Work” (1986) by Mary Oliver. © Mary Oliver

Image credit: Sunrise from Victor Rock by Fred H. Kiser


  1. “When the cloak of night is barely pulling away from the body of the day, that is the time I most want to write.”

    What a line. Thanks for sharing.

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