"What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty,
and never see the Dawn!"- Logan Pearsall Smith
“Day’s sweetest moments are at dawn”
'How to Make the Most of Your Day: Wake up With the Sun'
"In the morning, everything is new.
The day's blank slate lies before me,
ready for my writing.
May it be words of beauty I write.
May it be deeds of grace I do.
May it be thoughts of joy I think.
All the Holy Ones, Listen;
this is what I pray.
Great Spirits of the Four Realms,
Holy Ones of the Realms of Minds,
Kindreds of Yore,
as I go through the day,
keep my eyes open wide.
May I not miss beauty.
May I not miss joy.
May I not miss wonder.
Keep me awake and aware of the world.
It is my privilege to perform my morning prayers.
It is my honor to do what should be done.
As I rise with the morning, fog lifting slowly for my mind,
I pray not to forget these truths. Awen."- Ceisiwr Serith, Book of Pagan Prayer
When is the Dawn?
“How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins?” asked the Teacher.
“When from a distance you can distinguish between a dog and a sheep” suggested one of the students.
“No” was the answer.
“Is it when one can distinguish between a fig tree and a grapevine?” asked a second student
“No” “Please tell us the answer then.”
“It is, then,” said the wise Teacher, “when you can look in the face of a human being and you have enough light to recognize in him/her your brother/sister. Up till then, it is night and darkness is still with us.”-Hasidic Tale
The Inner History of a Day
‘No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.
The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.
We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And the wisdom of the soul becomes one.’-John O’Donohue
'The sweetest part of dawn is the silence before the chorus, the moment after; the song thrush and the blackbird first up and then the great tits and the sparrows all asking, where is the sun? They build their nests with their eyes on the horizon soften the twigs with egg-safe star stitched moss and the pull of lamb’s wool plucked fresh from the barb they spin it with the hope of golden thread, good yarn.
Gaia sits at her window and looks out beyond the communal garden waits for the light to reveal itself its fingers running through the drying remains of last year’s harvest, the ribbons of greenery chasing the hill through the wasteland and down toward the forest.
If she stands on her flowerbed she can see the needling floor the carpet of wood anemone and the curls of wild scent garlic, sees the eyes of a tiny deer his fresh infant antlers gleaming as he steps across the treeline into path blockers, shin catchers, he calls out, hear this...'-Natasha Carthew,'Hope's heart beats'
A beautiful sunrise from our garden in Coventry. April 2020. Photo: Anne Mofid
N.B. Over 20 years ago, I had a turning in my life.
I was facing some big challenges of life’s ups and downs, hopes and hopelessness. My mind, my feelings and emotions were not in harmony with my usual self. It was a painful time. Until, a very dear friend, a loving friend, a wise teacher, encouraged me to get up early in the morning, at dawn, just before the sunrise. He told me Kamran, you will see a different world, a better world, a kinder world, a healing world at that time of the morning. You will see the clouds dancing, the birds singing, the sky changing. You will see the dawn of a better life that you are searching for…
I rose to the challenge my friend has set for me. My life changed. I became the same Kamran as I used to be.
Now, this is the challenge I am setting for you, my dear friends. Please read what I have noted below. Be inspired by it. Then, on this coming Sunday- 26 April 2020- put your alarm clocks on to wake up at 5.00am (your local time) and join me (hopefully with a cup of lovely tea in your hand) and be with me in the spirit of oneness. Feel the Dawn moment, the sunrise, change of colours, the awesome Dawn chorus and more. Feel these changes, feelings and emotions, positivity, hopefulness, gratitude for being alive, seeing so much beauty and wonder.
Then, I invite you to write me a short note, up to 200- 300 words, telling me of your experience of this new awakening, engaging and dialoguing with the creator and creation.
I will then publish all that I have recieved on the GCGI website, so that together we may encourage a more fruitful global dialogue on ‘The healing power of the life-giving ‘Dawn’ at this time of coronavirus crisis’ and beyond.
The coincidence of the coronavirus arriving at the changing of the seasons seems like a cruel twist. But, in fact, to my mind, this will help us all spring back from this calamity, moving from despair to hope; darkness to light, and winter to spring.
Beautiful cherry blosoms, our street, Coventry, April 2020. Photo: Anne Mofid
‘It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again
I—I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight’ - Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters
In times like these, we need an antidote so that we can keep our positive attitude and march forward with determination and hope. Be deliberate in activities that are positive, heartwarming, stress reducing and laughter inducing! We can do all these and more, if we begin the day in a beautiful, inspiring way. Hence, my message of loving Dawn and the wonders of the sunrise.
Together, we’ll get through this.
In Praise of Dawn and the Life-giving Sunrise
The Dawn, the time of the sunrise, a magnificent, precious and timeless time of day. It is an awakening of the planet, birds, trees, and wildlife. It is always a new beginning. This is the moment of unity, between you and the world of creation, you and Mother Nature.
A lovely early mornig stroll, Green Lane, Coventry, March 2020. Photo: Anne Mofid
‘In these uncertain times, as so many of us are restricted in our travel, and with social distancing or self-isolation, DAWNS offers a moment of celebration, a time for us to feel we are together even when we are apart.
“Dawn is a magical time to experience the natural world. It’s an opportunity to notice nature awakening, to see and listen to what’s around us, as night passes into day.”- John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Culture and Engagement, The National Trust
‘The need of quiet, the need of air, the need of exercise and, I believe, the sight of sky and of things growing, seem human needs, common to all and not to be dispensed with without great loss.’ -Octavia Hill (1838-1912), Founder, National Trust
These are the words, sentiments, that, I, too, most passionately believe in. The only way that I can tell you about my 'Dawn-Time' happiness, my moments of unity with creator and creation, is to share the email I had sent to my family and friends from Crete, Greece, where we were on holiday in May 2019, which I have reprinted below.
A beautiful sunrise from our Hapimag Resort apartment, Crete, May 2019. Photo: Anne Mofid
But before getting there, I want to share a bit more about ‘Dawn, sunrise, unity with creator and creation, etc.
Without a doubt, without any question, my most favourite thing to do is to be present at dawn at a place of total stillness, quiet, devoid of human presence, just me, myself and I, when I am not lonely, but immersed in the wonders of solitude. Thankfully, I am able to celebrate this time of day regularly, either in our relatively large conservatory, with lovely views of our garden, if it is raining, or sitting in the garden surrounded by a lovely scenery that my wife’s green fingers have created. A beautiful ‘English Garden.'
In this lovely, inspiring setting, dawn signifies a “shift change”. The creatures of the night return to their burrows and dens, getting their well-deserved rest. While creatures of the day emerge. Dawn is that “pointe vierge'' (‘virgin point’ as noted by Thomas Merton) when I hear birds greeting the sun with chirps and cackles, and begin to sing their dawn chorus.
In addition to setting a rhythm for Earth’s flora and fauna, dawn is the pattern in time that signifies the daily arrival of our highly complex energy source — the sun. An arrival of energy that is a highly connected to the necessities of life.
David Haskell in his wonderful book, The Forest Unseen, describes this special moment so beautifully:
‘The light and sound energies washing over the mandala find a point of convergence in my consciousness, where their beauty quickens a flame of appreciation. There is convergence also at the start of the energy’s journey, in the unimaginably hot, pressurized core of the sun. The sun is the origin of both the dawn’s light and birds’ morning songs. The glow on the horizon is light filtered through our atmosphere; the music in the air is the sun’s energy filtered through the plants and animals that powered the singing birds. The enchantment of an April sunrise is a web of flowing energy. The web is anchored at one end by matter turned to energy in the sun and at the other end by energy turned to beauty in our consciousness.’
Thus, in considering all these things and more, at Dawn we are taking a journey of adventure, exploration, and discovery. We are finding ways to find answers to some fundamental personal questions and inquiries: Who am I, where have I come from, where am I going to, what is the purpose of this journey we call life? For me, Dawn-time is the time to wonder and ponder about these and more. At Dawn we can ponder on how everything is connected. In doing so, we are engaging the very lifeblood of our Earth, of our humanity, our soul and being.
And now, reverting back to Dawn and my email from Crete:
Greetings and love from the loveliest Island of Crete. You know, about 20 years or so ago when I was going through some challenging times in my life, a loving friend, a wise teacher, encouraged me to get up early in the morning, at dawn, just before the sunrise. He told me Kamran, you will see a different world, a better world, a kinder world, a healing world, at that time of the morning. You will see the clouds dancing, the birds singing, the sky changing. You will see the dawn of a better life. WoW! How wise and correct my loving, wise friend has been, I must say. I have been getting up everyday at 5am, doesn’t matter where I am in the world. And I have never looked back. Today sitting in the balcony of our apartment here in Crete, surrounded by the most beautiful sea and mountains, waiting for the sunrise, listening to the birds, watching the light clouds dancing, I thought it makes me even happier sharing these feelings with you.
So my friends, please join me-wherever you are- in the spirit of beauty and healing, and begin your journey of Sun-gazing, an old method of healing. Our ancestors worshiped the sun for many good reasons, grandeur, peace, beauty, inspiration, wisdom, contentment, gratitude, healing, joy, hope, happiness, and the calming of the sounds of the awakening wilderness, when the birds are singing good morning to us all.
And also let us all rise to the calling of the first eco-warrior, the poet of nature, William Wordsworth, when he asked us ‘Let Nature be your Teacher’.
Join me at Dawn and let us together sing the praises of mother nature.
Together, we’ll get through this.