The hours around sunrise and sunset are magical. In those special moments right before dawn, when night is giving way, when the first hint of dawn in seen in the east – and those moments after sunset, when the day is fading slowly into night, are what is called in yogic science amrit vela, the ambrosial hours. In these hours, when the veil that separates night and day is thinnest, we find perfect moments for reflection, yogic practice/meditation, and perhaps simple togetherness.
Of course all moments contain the source of this ambrosia, all 86,400 seconds each day. All moments of now (approximately 100 per second, as the brain ‘re-boots itself -not updates – itself every 10 milliseconds or so, thus making almost a million possible, perceivable ‘nows’ in a day) contain this nectar…in potentiality. Yet those relatively few moments are unarguably special. Nature itself tells us so, as the skies turn an array of colors, as the visible world softens in evidence. These physical causes of refraction and varied light spectral length are not the only things that make these moments magic. We all know it, all sense it – if we allow ourselves to.
In these special moments, we are most vulnerable, most open, most human. In these moments our ‘ordinary’ attitudes and filters soften, and we have a chance to glimpse for a second, to see more clearly, the innate and effulgent beauty of every moment.
I love the ‘pink’ hours, when the light is soft and everything takes a pinkish/golden glow. Perhaps this unique spectral density of light activates our pineal glands which then emit DMT (the spirit molecule associated with religious experiences and overwhelming senses of peace and unity) into our bodies, causing the sensation of bliss. Perhaps then our minds still enough to hear the whispering of the Goddess, the singing of angels, the turning of the universe on its axis. Regardless of the reason or source, these moments can be proven (by our own experience, the only way anything can be truly proven to us) to be times when we can not only sense but experience this magic. These moments offer opportunities (in potential) for increased depth of meditation, fuller expression of yogic asana and practice, and a closer perception of and unity with the Divine.
Yet the ambrosial hours are more than just these in-between hours, or the more obvious dawn and slow growth into full day. They also contain those moments just after the darkest depths of night, those moments when the first glimmer and hope of dawn occur. They are moments right as dawn becomes a hint in our minds and hearts – as well as on the horizon. They are the moments when night has finally fallen…yet a barely detectable glimmer of day still lingers, before it finally fades, and night truly descends.
I love to be awake for these times. I love to see each dawn and each sunset, to see the glory of the painted clouds or the simple dimming or growing of light through cloud cover. I love to be there. In this moment of ostensible alone-ness, when I seem to be the only one awake (or when only other yogis and early birds are), in these moments I find a sense of connection with all beings, a sense of togetherness at the levels that count – at the deep soul levels, mostly hidden from our conscious perception.
In these magical moments my ego relaxes a bit, allowing my mind to still a bit, allowing my heart and soul to come to the foreground and shine. In these moments I am more likely to experience (not achieve) yoga or union, experience samadhi or enlightenment. In these moments, the full potential of change and growth and transformation manifest, amplified beyond more ordinary moments of day and night.
I find each to be a gift.
Being there for these moments dictates (to a degree) that I wake up early (before the dawn) and go to bed fairly early (so I get more than a couple hours of sleep before waking). That indicates a lifestyle, to a degree, but it is worth it. I am not dogmatic, and will change my schedule as need or desire dictate…but in the end, what is normal is this type of lifestyle.
That is why it is odd that I am awake in the wee hours, those couple hours before us early birds rise. In the deep, dark, depths of the night, when only crackheads, meth-heads, and cops are awake – or insomniacs and those in deep pain that causes sleepless nights – there is also a sort of peace, a different type of magic. It is rare to experience it for me, and the cost of experiencing it is high: I will miss my normal ambrosial hours sleeping, I will miss my morning meditation at this powerful time and my morning yoga as the sun finally rises and the day dawns. I will set and start my day in a slightly different tone. Sleeping late so as to be rested for the day ahead, I will get up late and thus pedal out late – missing that special early autumn morning pedal and replacing it with a late morning pedal.
The cost is high, but I pay it gladly. I can sacrifice a day or two of ambrosial hours missed, as long as I make most of them. Most people never even see the sun rise, or if they do it is as they are commuting, or getting ready for work and they have no time to fully experience it, to take a moment to live these most special and magical moments of the day. Some people never see sunrises or sunsets in their day; they are ‘busy’ working inside a box, or driving in a box, or sitting in a box while the beauty and magic blaze outside the windows of their boxes, unnoticed. So I am lucky, among the rare and lucky ones who accept this daily magical gift life bestows on those who care to accept it. And my gratitude magnifies the power of this gift.
Life is indeed good if every day I sip this ambrosia, during the ambrosial hours. It is good to experience the wee hours for a treat, at times not related to making late-night love or parties or emergencies. That is also a gift, and with gratitude, I finally lay my head down to sleep.
…and I leave you with this one final thought: dawn and dusk, the ambrosial hours, are indeed magic – and it is always dawn nor dusk somewhere.
AUM, Shanti : )
Sleep with the angels