September 3, 2019
This morning it was like I woke from a dream into a dream. Bright, alert, refreshed I looked at my phone thinking hours must have passed only to discover it was just midnight and I’d slept a mere two hours. So, I went back to sleep. Same thing happened again two hours later. Then again at 3:30. At this point, I accepted I was getting slightly groggier each time. I knew if I went back to bad in hopes of waking up with my original alarm at 5:30 I would be risking the gift of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed state I was experiencing. So, I received the gift of extra time and started my day.
By the light of my cell phone I began my morning routine, doing my best not to disturb my roommate. With prayer book, banana, and key in tow I headed to the roof of our cruise ship to see if I could practice my yoga and meditation up there.
I was met by a surprisingly starry sky. Despite it being much more polluted than Atlanta or Southern California, the light pollution was significantly less so. I grabbed a towel from the pool-side cubby, laid it down on the green astroturf, stretched my arms up toward the dark abyss, and bent into downward facing dog. A few movements later, as I leaned over into triangle pose, my right hand reaching for my right ankle, torso parallel to my leg, and my face turned up, I saw Orion right in front of me—too on his side, hanging out doing triangle pose with me. Okay... Cool. Blissful!
Then, in the distance I heard a faint sound I thought was music. Surely it was too early for the Muslim call to prayer. And then there it was, the clear song of the muezzin beginning his beckoning call. Suddenly mosques in every direction around the bay erupted with their resonant cries, encircling me in a cacophony of echoing prayer. I continued on with my yoga. Praying with my body. Relishing this awesome unfolding experience. I finished and sat on my towel, cross-legged, hands resting on my knees, eyes gently closed. Breathing. Being in it all, with it all. Us, in prayer, one.
Though I was sitting by myself, it was not the kind of alone silence I feel when back in my room in the States. Instead, I felt we were in unison—my prayers vibrating with the prayers of all the men in the mosques scattered across the cove around me and with all the women, children and others praying in their homes. We were in the space, in the silence, together.
And then, absolutely marvelously, we concluded together. As the sound of the muezzin’s nasal tones pierced the silent air once more calling the prayer to a close my phone began to buzz alerting me of the end of my meditation.
Holy, extraordinary, pure gift. And no dream at all, but exquisite, hope-filled reality.