Gong, struck gently, its sound wafting through the air, reminding us it is 6 a.m. Gong, again, its baritone sound reverberating through New Life.
By 6:20 I’m heading off towards the Awakening Hall to find my place for morning yoga practice. Along the way, other people walk past in Noble Silence towards either the Awakening Hall for yoga practice or the Forest Hall for morning meditation. Settling in, cross legged, birds sing their morning song, the air is cool, dawn transitioning darkness to light.
Michael Graziano, our gifted yoga teacher, greets us, giving instruction on what props we will be using. Our practice begins and Michael, as always, gently and fluidly guides us through our asanas, instructing us with lucidity and clarity, detailing each and every move with love and kindness.
As we begin our Sun Salutation, daybreak begins and the great ball of fire in the sky peaks over the horizon, orange and red magnificence, her rays embracing life, welcoming our day. Our practice continues until ending with Shivasanah, quietly, serenely, peacefully, we relax after our practice, bird song surrounding us, calm. We finish with Om and continue onto breakfast in Noble Silence.
I take my breakfast to a bench under the yellow cotton tree, her bright yellow colored blossoms, like small suns, blanketing the ground, surrounding me in lusciousness. Peering over the New Life gardens and the Thai hills beyond I am struck with the awesomeness of the moment. Such peace, such grandeur, such gratefulness. Eating slowly, I see two finches, a couple, building a nest in the tree above. One flies back and forth, a twig in its mouth, delivering the material, while the other stays behind to build the nest, beauty and perfection at once.
The garden before me, so alive and gorgeous, healthy and vibrant. Each day, I see it’s vegetables grow a bit higher and fuller, surrounding sunflowers face the sun, soaking in its rays. The Thai gardeners arrive and turn on the sprinklers, I watch as the water gently rains over the ground, covering the vegetables with mist, nourishing, sustaining life. The Thai workers, such beautiful people, go about their work, doing the next thing to be done, never complaining and at peace with each next step.
After eating my bowl of breakfast, I put it aside, close my eyes and meditate, grateful for the moment. Listening to my breath, the moment is all there is.
Getting up, I wash my bowl and return to the Awakening Hall. Taking my place, sitting cross legged, my eyes close, sitting in silence as the room fills with other souls. The gong is gently struck, its sound waves reverberating through the room, like the ring of ripples on a still pond wafting into nothingness, then stillness, silence. “Good morning, everyone” Julien announces, Noble Silence is complete, our day begins.
by Zev Beck