As a child, I was taught to say prayers in the morning to dedicate my day to God. As a young woman, I joined in Morning Prayers with others in my household. Then, I’d always had the suspicion that Morning Prayers would feel so much more “alive” if I’d been able to have my coffee BEFORE the prayers, rather than after! These days, when my questions about the mystery we call God are more numerous than my certainties, I open my days with my intentions to be open, compassionate, and to live with integrity. About 20 years ago I wrote these out, and have developed the habit of going over them thoughtfully just after I awaken, before getting out of bed — and even before coffee! Some of the words have changed over the years as I’ve learned more about life, but they still “hold”, overall. They do express how I hope to live my life:
“Radically open to Mystery, and trusting myself, I live a conscious, centered, compassionate life based on integrity and respect. I see deeply into many worlds, and radiate joy and hope. I make conscious my radical interdependence with all of reality, and where there is suffering or oppression, I re-member, with love, to make justice, and to bear witness with compassion. I do these each day, including for myself, in every way that I exercise choice and freedom.”
Those of you who are more traditionally religious could ask why I do not ask for assistance from God for these ideals, or why I don’t pray for others here. I acknowledge that this isn’t by any means an ordinary morning prayer. I wanted to be able to set my days in a direction that would be authentic for me even on my “worst” mornings, even on days when any “faith” feels non-existent. I also want to set my intention based only on what is in my control. I still have great compassion for others and want them to be eased in whatever ways are needed, but I want to focus on my “circle of influence” while remembering my “circle of concern”, to use Stephen Covey’s terminology. In my next post I will unpack each of the lines, as they are almost code words for wider and deeper thoughts.
And how do YOU greet your mornings?