I try to start each day with morning prayers. Sometimes my prayers are long, sometimes short. It feels deepest when I pray outside, thanking All My Relations, the sky and the Earth and the cosmos. I give thanks for this present opportunity to be in physical form. I lean toward the sun, acknowledging it––not as the sun rising above the horizon but as my place on the Earth turning toward it, foot by foot as the day comes on. I hold an offering in my hand while I pray, infusing the offering with my gratitude. Then I place it at the base of a big tree, whose roots go deep and communicate my prayers with the soil and other plant beings.

As Deng Ming-Dao says:*

“All we need is the morning. As long as there is sunrise, then there is the possibility that we can face all our misfortunes, celebrate our blessings, and live all our endeavors as human beings. Spirituality is something that has become necessary in these troubled times. Yet it is inherently superfluous. We need to remind ourselves, to bolster ourselves, to integrate ourselves, to fulfill ourselves. If we could simply acknowledge the mystery of night and the glory of morning, we would need neither civilization nor spirituality.

At its simplest, life begins with dawn. That is blessing enough. All else becomes fullness immeasurable. At dawn, kneel down and give thanks to this wonderful event. We may think mornings are so common that they are unworthy of veneration, but do you realize most places in the cosmos do not have mornings? This daily event is our supreme goodness.

Greet the dawn. That is your miracle to witness. That is the ultimate beauty. That is sacredness. That is your gift from heaven. That is your omen of prophesy. That is knowledge that life is not futile. That is your directive. That is your comfort. That is the solemnity of duty. That is the inspiration for compassion. That is the light of the ultimate.”

*365 Tao Daily Meditiations, (HarperSanfrancisco, 1992), p. 364.