Anodea and I were recently interviewed by our friend, spiritual teacher Saniel Bonder (www.sanielandlinda.com). The topic was “What is 21st Century Spirituality?” During the interview, he asked me what my daily practice was, and it made me realize that I had never spoken or written about the meditation I use to start my day. It is a synthesis of many teachings and experiences I have had, and I love how it makes me feel. I share it here for the first time.

Treat this exercise as an experiment. Go through it completely once. Check to see how you feel afterward. If you like it, try it again, or add it to your own daily practice.

This guided meditation is best done in the morning, after waking up, but it can be done anytime.

Sit quietly and calm your breathing. Feel your body: the breath rising and falling in your chest, your feet and legs, hands and arms, torso, back, front, neck and head. Feel your entire body at once. Gently bow down and touch your forehead to the floor. Give thanks to the Creator (or however you conceive of God or Spirit) for giving you this body, giving you this day to be alive, and giving you the senses with which to enjoy it. Give thanks for everything else you are grateful for.

[The tradition of the Huichol Indians of Southern Mexico is to always give before they take. Before eating food or drinking water, or taking any plant or animal, they give thanks to the Creator. As humans, what we have to give is our thanks, along with our prayers and our creativity. Giving thanks is a wonderful practice by itself, and it is a good way to remind ourselves that we live in a state of grace, enjoying an endless supply of gifts from the Creator.]

Sit back up after you have given your appreciation. Now feel the ground beneath you, and look deeply into the Earth. The Earth is not only our Mother metaphorically; she is the source of every molecule that makes up our body. Experience yourself as Earth, the same material, a temporary extension of her. The molecules that you exchange every day in your air, water, and food and those you give away in your waste, are hers. They are on loan to you. When you die, she will accept them back into her body. Feel the molecules in your body as her molecules, feel the reality that you are composed of Earth. Experience yourself as Earth, your mass as a part of the Earth. Say to yourself and experience, “I am Earth.”

Next, feel the air that moves in and out of your lungs. This air brings you oxygen, which is critical to your life. This gift of breath brings oxygen into your lungs, your heart, and your bloodstream. Feel the oxygen molecules as they travel through you, carried by the hemoglobin in your blood. The hemoglobin releases these oxygen molecules wherever they are needed, into every cell of your body. Experience yourself as the Air. Feel the air inside you, feel yourself as light as a cloud, as expansive as the atmosphere. Say to yourself, “I am Air.” Notice that air fills up space, and so do you. Experience the space that you occupy, and recognize that this space is contiguous with the space around you, and all space. Your space is connected and part of the entire universe of space. Experience yourself as Space itself. Say to yourself and experience, “I am space.”

Next, place your attention on all of the activity going on at the molecular level in your body. Notice that there are billions of transactions every second – your body is literally on fire. Fire is rapid oxidation, which is when oxygen combines with carbon or other molecules. The oxygen you take in fuels a wide range of chemical processes, which collectively are a slow-burning fire. This fire keeps your body warm – 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the temperature around you. Feel this fire in every cell of your body. Experience the energy machines turning over in every cell, transporting fluids and chemicals across semi-permeable cellular membranes, transporting waste out through organic filters. Say to yourself as you feel it, “I am Fire.” Feel your connection to the entire world’s energy – the burning of fossil fuel that has heated your home and water, and that transports you everywhere you go. Feel your connection to our local star, the sun, that great fireball that has given of itself for billions of years, placing its fiery energy into plants and animals that have stored it as food and fuel. Experience yourself as part of that universal fire that gives birth to stars and to worlds and to you. “I am Fire.”

Now, place your attention on the waters of the world. Feel the immensity of the oceans and the ice that cover 75% of this planet’s surface. The ocean is filled with life – teaming with trillions of creatures of every shapes and size, the birthplace of our species. Mother Ocean is where we came from, and our tears are still salty, like her. Her waters evaporate into clouds, which drop pure rain down upon us, which we drink to survive. This cycle is going on everywhere, all the time, from cloud to earth to river to ocean to atmosphere to cloud and back to the earth again. Water is the most abundant chemical compound on earth, the critical constituent of all living organisms. Feel the waters within you. Water composes half to four-fifths of you, depending on how much body fat you have. It makes up about 85 percent of your brain, 80 percent of your blood, and 70 percent of your lean muscle. Your body survives by means of water – it acts as a fuel, a coolant, and a lubricant that keeps you running. You are a colony of a trillion or so cells. Water is the conveyor that delivers and removes the necessary products from each of these very needy, busy cells. Feel the watery you. Recognize and say to yourself, “I am Water.” Feel yourself as one component of the larger flow of water throughout our water world. “I am Water.”

And gently, notice that you are noticing. You are aware of all of this. You are a conscious being, able to place your attention on anything or on everything. In this universe there are things and there is awareness of things. Your awareness is the greatest gift of our Creator, a great awareness (Spirit) that can perceive and receive, notice and experience. Your awareness is unique – and it is part of a much greater awareness, Pure Awareness, or Consciousness itself. Look into your own looking. Notice your own noticing. See that what you are looking for is the one who is doing the looking. Recognize and say to yourself, “I Am Awareness.” Regardless of what you give your attention to, your attention is there, always observing, quietly aware. Your consciousness is a part of One Consciousness that pervades the entire universe. Look deeply and directly into your own consciousness and recognize, “I Am Awareness.”

Bring your attention back to your breath, and give thanks for your breath.
Bring your attention back to your body, and give thanks for your body.
Bring your attention back to the Earth, and give thanks to the Earth.
Bring your attention back to your day, and give thanks for this day.
Bring your attention back to your attention, and give thanks for your awareness.
Bring your attention to your life, and give thanks for your life.
Enjoy every moment of your day.

Please write and let me know your experience with this exercise.