At the start of a cloudless day, when the sun is still below the edge of the sky, its light pushes through the milky haze of the atmosphere. The grey of dawn is slowly dispelled by sunlight, starting with the warmest pink. By the time the sun appears, the dawn sky has gone through a steady transformation from faint pink, intensifying to red then orange and yellow to become fully illuminated before day is fully here.
Long before dawn, in the overhead sky, the darkness of space shines down through the atmosphere as the top layers become progressively bathed in sunlight. What was a colorless black lightens to the faintest hint of indigo, and intensifies through the shades of blue from deep to pastel.
Moments before dawn, in the western sky, I can still see the darkness of the night sky as it retreats over the horizon. By the time I feel the warmth of the sunlight on my face, and for the rest of the day, the sky is light blue, and the sun light yellow, with a vast array of nuances that hint at the depth and clarity of the atmosphere and foretell the advance of weather.
This phenomenon, the colorful interplay of day and night, is repeated through the weeks in endless variations, and is fundamental to my understanding of how darkness and light interact in the world. I am moved to the core by it if I take it in. It is sacred. It represents, quite faithfully, a spiritual reality. It is the manifestation of profound truth, awe-inspiring beauty, and pure goodness.
With this image in my mind, of the dawn of colors from darkness to light, I can now look to my own soul and reflect upon what arises. Before the sun has warmed my face, the dawning pinks warm my heart. I am drawn to them with an intensity and anticipation that would accompany the arrival of a beloved friend. I am alarmed when they grow from pink to fiery red instead of progressing toward the milder oranges and yellows. My will is awakened by their more rapid transformation into the hues of day. I am ready!
The retreat of the darkness into blue, leaves me with a mood of awe and devotion. A sense of longing and reverence calmly fills me. Rather than a friend to warm my heart, here is a teacher, coolly handing me the weight and wonder of the world. Thoughts arise and give direction to my day. I can focus.
Meditation itself, is as pure an experience as I can have. Seeing the nebulous fog on the western horizon before dawn this morning, reminded me that the experience I am having during my meditations is still clouded by sense images and sensations of my body and the world around me. Light is dawning, however, and that is the only reason I can see the fading fog in the first place. At night it was invisible. I have been asleep and dreaming (in more ways than I know).