Wake-up to the Miracle of EVERY morning
It’s human nature to take things for granted, like expecting to wake up every morning as the day before. We don’t even give it a second thought. We just come to expect that everyday we’ll wake up and have our bodies work, without being conscious of the fact that sleep is the closest we come to death every single night.
There are two sides to a person: the body and the soul. For the body’s perspective, according to the Talmud, sleep is referred to as 1/60th of death. This is explained because our conscious powers become weakened—we lose control of many of our faculties.
Wikipedia tells us that Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. In short, our bodies have a decreased ability to react to stimuli. It also plays great importance in accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of our immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.
Sleep, for the soul, is also a time of rejuvenation, by means of elevation. According to Kabbalah, the soul’s essential powers are in fact strengthened and more apparent while one is asleep because it is united with its Source above. It is explained that when we sleep, the soul leaves the body; is spiritually refreshed, recharged and then it returns to us, so we may wake and continue doing what we came here to accomplish.
If you think about it, how the soul returns is a pretty profound process. How many of us have taken a moment to appreciate this miracle?
Here… I’m giving you a moment to think about it. Give it 10 seconds.
Pretty amazing RIGHT?!
Wake up—not only with the appreciation for a new day—but wake up with intention. Move through the day with purpose and certainty. Our days are more than our to-do lists. They’re more than addressing our physical needs or what beckons our immediate attention. Wake knowing that everything we need will come to us because we all deserve great blessings in our lives. Having this consciousness will bring great blessings into our lives as illustrated by this story.
A student of the Baal Shem Tov one evening found himself at a little Inn. While sitting and having dinner he looked across the room and noticed a man who shone like a tremendously elevated soul. The kabbalist was somewhat curious about the man, but proceeded with his meal. On the second night while having his dinner he saw him again, shining with so much Light that it was almost overwhelming. The kabbalist felt compelled in that moment, and walked straight up to the man.
“Tell me about yourself; tell me about your work, your spiritual work, your prayers, your study. Tell me something, I want to learn.” The man looked at him, and earnestly replied, “To tell you the truth there isn’t much to tell. I’m dyslexic, I really can’t read well.” The kabbalist continued, “Well then, how do you pray?” he asked, wanting to know for himself how he too could learn and therefore shine like this amazing soul before him. “To tell you the truth”, he began, “after one or 2 verses I just cannot read anymore. Every morning I open up a book, I try… I do my best, but after the second verse, I just close it.”
“Okay, so you’re obviously not doing it through prayer.” He deduces. “Then tell me, how is your study?” And once again the man answers, “To tell you the truth, I really can’t read… I try, I know it brings Light, I do try, so every morning I pick up some book of study, I try to push myself, but I close it after two verses.” The kabbalist is surprised by his admission, how is it that this man shines so? The kabbalist keeps probing for an answer—if it’s not through prayer, through study—he desperately tries to find out how this man with such a simple way of life shines so brightly.
He finally asks, “Is there ANYTHING that you can think of that you do, that connects you to the Light of the Creator?” And just as the kabbalist is about to leave the man says, “Oh, you know there is this one thing; every night I say the first two verses of the evening prayer before I go to sleep, well, I try because I know that it is important, but just before I fall asleep I say to the Creator; if you don’t think that tomorrow, I’ll be able to accomplish what you want me to accomplish in this world—if you don’t think that tomorrow I’ll be able to bring whatever Light you want me to bring into this world, then don’t wake me up. But, if you think that tomorrow I’ll be able to accomplish what you want me to accomplish in this world, and reveal whatever Light you want me to reveal—if you believe that I’ll be able to do it, then wake me up.”
The kabbalist finally understood what was making this man shine so brightly—his daily consciousness connected him DIRECTLY to the Light of the Creator. Every morning he woke up with the sense that he was given another day to meet his potential.
Try to apply that kind of consciousness to your daily life—just KNOWING that you have woken up TODAY because the Creator believes that you can reveal the Light that He desires for you to reveal. You are here right now because He believes in you. You are reading this right now because that’s what you needed to help awaken THIS CONSCIOUSNESS.
I’ve practiced a discipline where when I open my eyes first thing in the morning, I lay still for 30 seconds and drown out the dog barking at every single dog being walked in the neighborhood at 6am, and the vision of spilled cereal and oatmeal covering the kitchen floor and counter while my children’s voices elevate, becoming louder and louder. I give myself those seconds and just listen, paying close attention to my first thoughts after waking. I hear the dog, I hear laughter, I hear a chair being dragged across the kitchen floor, someone is climbing to get the cereal by themselves—I hope they don’t spill it like yesterday—Sometimes it feels like a joke and I’m at the wrong end of it.
But I stop. I focus on stillness and I go back to my consciousness.
Sometimes my first thought is regret of having spent hours on something that I wish I’d spent elsewhere the day before, or perhaps enthusiasm to continue the task or project that I began the night before. More than anything I use that voice inside my head as a guide and a catalyst to run after the opportunities I know are available to me in this one day.
Often, once we get our day started, we may not listen and look as closely to ourselves, our thoughts, and life as we would in those initial moments after we have woken. Go back to those quiet moments and get back to that stillness. When we seek to understand, we are understood. When we strive to listen, we are truly heard.
1. What is the first thought that comes into your mind in the morning?
2. Pay attention to the first thing you feel in those first quiet, vulnerable moments. Are you feeling lazy, disheartened, bored, tired? Do you need to finish something, start something?
3. Lay still, listen & hear your message.
When you wake, feel free to say this little blessing, called Modeh Ani. Simply appreciate your chance at a new day. GOOD MORNING.
מוֹדָה) :Women say) מוֹדֶה
shechezarta vekayam chai melech l’fanecha ani
Emonatech rabba b’chemlah nishmati bi
I give thanks before You, living and existing King, for restoring my soul to me,
compassionately. Great is Your trustworthiness. (Beresheet Raba, Ch 68)