By Narinder Bazen Khalsa
It’s 4:00 am and I wake, slipping quietly from our bed, I make my way in the dark to fill the teapot. Our cat, Evening, is meowing at the back door. I let her in. Her night life, a mystery, has come to an end as she makes her way to the comfortable chair to sleep the morning and day away. I pour the water over my Yogi Tea bag and turn a candle to see the little note attached to the tea bag. It says, “When you are in tune with the unknown, the known is peaceful.”
Through the opened kitchen window I hear the breeze through the pines and the distant noises of the frogs around the pond. Frog song is a harbinger of spring. They sing through the night.
I take my tea to my yoga and meditation space and set it down on a stack of books. My sheepskin mat is cool and comforting to my bare feet. I open the window in front of my altar and a gentle wind comes in instantly, as though it was waiting for me. The chilly air feels healthy to me. My hips are sore from sleeping on my side. I count my blessing that this is my only ache.
Under the quietude of this hour there is a deeper silence that can surround us. It is stillness that cannot be measured with decibels. It wraps around my shoulders like a familiar shawl, comforting my nervous system. I feel in some way, that waking up this early awards me the golden key to the ethers. I get to hear the cosmos hum before the dawn closes the door. It gives my day such crystal clarity.
My tea cup is empty. My palms come together at my heart center and I softly chant, calling in the Teachings, calling to my highest self, we are gathering with the Unknown. I cherish how the Adi Mantra echoes in the Amrit Vela, how they are the first words of my day. They set the tone.
I practice my spinal and joint warm ups, bringing movement to my sore hip. Deepening my breathing with each unfolding, I am waking my inner vitality. Moving my body, my mind slips into what it is I need to accomplish this day: the emails I need to send, the clothes I need to get out of the dryer, what food to pack for our camping trip, the calls I need to make for my father before we leave.
The breeze through the window catches my attention and I return to listening to the rich stillness. I pull my mala into my hands and 108 conscious breaths unite my attention with the cosmic pulse. This peace will serve my entire day.
Candlelight bounces off my harmonium keys and I pull it closer to unlock its bellows. Together we sing the Guru Ram Das mantra. I mix the sound in gently with the stillness of this time of morning, careful not to disturb the unruffled atmosphere that only 4:00 am has.
I sing and at the same time listen. The sounds begin to swirl around me, my heart opens. Some mornings there are tears, some mornings there is joy, some mornings there are both.
When I stop singing, and the harmonium quiets, the room feels like it is glowing. I know I am not alone as I sit there on my sheepskin. I am synchronous with Infinity. I understand what Yogi Bhajan said,
“When a person gets up in the morning and does the sadhana, you know what accompanies that person? All the angels, all saints and sages come to listen. Their souls fly to those places to listen where God is chanted.”
Meditation is excellent any time of the day. However, it is in the Amrit Vela that one finds that the doors to the domain of the Divine are wide open. Getting up for meditation at 4:00 am is never a chore. It’s the honey pot, the pot of gold, it is when the rasa rains.
In this hour I listen and am guided. My mind is relaxed. Then I bow my head and invoke the sensation of gratitude in my heart for the Teachings, for Guru, for my teachers, my guides, my ancestors, my loved ones. I speak my intentions aloud into that original point of the waking hours.
Then, putting the candle out as dawn has yet to break the through the trees, I listen again and am deeply moved by the magnificence of the silence of 4:00 am. This will be a wonderful day.
Narinder Bazen Khalsa lives in Atlanta with her husband Brahamjot Singh. She is an artist, a Kundalini Yoga teacher, and a Home Funeral Guide. www.mytwocrows.com