A walk. A simple walk. Taking a walk at dawn and again at dusk, day after day, will clarify the self and merge it with greater possibilities all around. Really, I kid you not. You will discover a truer sense of yourself.
For many years I was a night person. Stay up late, sleep late, then do it all again, day after day. Something about the darkness seemed almost magical, as if offering endless possibilities stretching into the vastness beyond vision. For me it was nearly a physical as well as a mental experience. The sensation of worlds within my own mind opening, blossoming, as the sun descended and night rose quietly all around. Into that dark silence I seemed to awaken and expand. I became something more, someone greater, than I was during the day.
Fast forward. Due to jobs, life, the strictures of the regular world, I became accustomed to awakening early. But never very happily. I dozed for as long as I could after the alarm sounded. Nestled under the covers until the very last possible minute. Wishing that my schedule allowed me once again to meld with the routines of the night. After years of rising early, with daily hints of grumbling, I found that I no longer had the ability to sleep in, to sleep later, even on days off or on vacation. I awoke automatically before the sun had risen. I ceased setting the clock, and yet never was late. This did not seem a welcome development. I took long walks after the sun had set in the evenings, merging with the darkness even if only for the length of the activity, and wishing that I could stay up until well beyond midnight, existing in that realm that so beautifully stimulated my inner senses, perceptions, and imagination.
Then finally, a few years ago, I made the conscious decision to change my mind set. How does the saying go? If you do what you’ve always done, then you will get what you’ve always gotten. And viewing early morning as an unwelcome intrusion seemed increasingly silly and unproductive. So I began getting up as soon as I awakened, pulling on clothes in the dark house, (I dislike lights in the morning), lacing up my walking shoes, and heading out the door into the pre-dawn. Whatever, the weather, hot, cold, humid, raining, or sleeting. And, oh my, what a wonderful decision.
In that pre-dawn time, in that last half hour or so of darkness before the eastern horizon begins to turn gray, and then lavender, and then pinkish blue, the world seems so still, and yet quietly alive. The possibilities, the expanding perception, surround and envelop. And when I am able to time the morning just right, I leave the house in complete darkness, and arrive back home as the first light blushes on the horizon. There is little better way to start the day.
And I’ve continued to walk in the evening as well. Welcoming the new night as I’ve always done. And I’ve found, quite unexpectedly, that there’s something intrinsically pure about greeting each new day, and then experiencing it again as it slips away into darkness. A cyclical rhythm that is inexplicably wonderful. And here I must stress, must must must must must, that dawn and dusk must be consciously experienced. The person must be present in the moment, observing, perceiving the greater world around. Getting caught up in internal thoughts, especially negative or otherwise stressful, does nothing more than continue the never-ending mental static of the day, that internal litany that fails to see anything beyond the self. Open the eyes, look all around. Experience the vast darkness beyond. Notice the details, experience the surroundings. And you will find that if you quiet that internal mental static on your walks, if you merge with the day’s rhythms, then your own thoughts, perceptions, and imagination will gradually purify overall into a reflection of your truer self. The person who you are, far beneath the static. Far beneath the artificial inclinations of socialization and habit. The darkness with its possibilities calls forth your internal magic. Your greater purpose. The reason for you.