September 17, 2011
My new school life regime requires a 6am rise 4 times a week, and it’s quickly become the daily norm. I still set an alarm, but hardly need it anymore and wake up just before the harp starts to gently play on my iphone. (there’s a legend about King David’s harp – he would hang it up in his room at a particular spot and it would catch the wind and starts playing by itself at midnight, and David would get up and play the harp and compose the psalms.)
How we wake up and how we wake up others is one of those areas that could always use some more kindness and creativity. We don’t talk about it much, but my guess is we could all trade ideas and tricks for turning rude awakenings into what ever the day brings into a better crafted daily launch into what’s next.
There’s horrible ways to wake up. In the army they used to just turn on the fluorescent lights. I dated someone who would wake up early to AC/DC. people make odd choices when it comes to the art of crafting our jolt into awareness.
I may be making more of this than is required, but: What kind of alarm sound you choose to maximise positive morning energy is one good thing to ponder during these days of PREPENT. Am I giving myself the best tools at my disposal to enable a healthy sleep and wake up routine? and – the really big question related to waking: what’s the first thing I do first thing in the morning? the first few minutes? I am going to observe for the few days ahead, note, reflect. (no judgement, but, check out: how long before digital device?)
For the spiritually minded, ‘waking up’ is about the soul’s journey, from the dark nights of the soul to the lighter side: rising up into higher consciousness. In mystical Jewish circles this process is known as ‘Hitorerut’ – Waking Up – and though it is recommended for year round usage, it’s on particular high gear this time of year. At the heart of the High Holy Days is the invitation for the private process of Teshuva – Return to Self. It is often referred to as an ‘awaneking of the soul’ – a private process of perfecting a more awake and aware existence.
Pious Jews wake up even earlier on these days of Elul and gather to chant the Slichot – hymns of forgiveness. When I walked by a synagogue yesterday I heard someone practicing the shofar. I paused to listen. If this is the time of waking up then the Shofar is the alarm clock – an ancient spiritual device, howling a hollow primal cry that sends a jolt of recognition through the body. wake up! Tomorrow – Sunday – my friends at the KIBBUTZ ART are launching a Shofar Mob all over the world – I’m taking the kids to Lincoln Center at 2:30pm, shofars in hand. Check out for a location near you: shofar flash mob
And back to the practical side: are you giving yourself enough time to wake up and get up in the morning? Gotta recalculate margins of morning emergence.
(Such as: Reb Roly invited me to join him in the Moroccan Syn. on the UWS at 6am any day of the week before Rosh Hashana – he says it’s amazing – and I want to but that would mean that I have to set my electronic harp to 5am which is possible but really pious and super early. TBD. (or as the Talmud would say: Kashya: that’s a hard one. TBD.)