May
19

Night Blooming Jasmine Meditation

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I am enveloped in a sensorial delight created by Night Blooming Jasmine.

There is a term often given to people like me – “Night Owl”. Don’t know a lot of day owls, but I get the point. I’ve always been this way. Every creative idea – whether for painting, writing, acting, storytelling, or teaching has probably happened between the hours of 10pm and 2am.

If left totally to my own devises, I would probably get to bed by 3:30 or 4am and then sleep till noon. (And that does still sometimes occur.) In fact, I think of 3am as a “magic” point in the night. It’s what midnight used to be for me (back when everyone went to bed at 10pm) but now 3 am is the only true far-reaching silence as the late night people have finally gone to bed and the early morning risers aren’t up yet. It’s just me.

I have claimed that I need the world to go to sleep so that there is room for my mind to expand without interference. Other times I’ve felt that I enjoyed the deep sleep or dreaming minds of others around me as a creative influence. Don’t know. I only know that too often – way too often – I look up at the clock at it’s 2am and I don’t know how that happened! It was just 11pm a few minutes ago. (And I’ve probably been more happily productive in the last 3 hours than the last 3 days.) This is a typical scenario for me.

Now, I can list many disadvantages to this kind of schedule – most of which involve missing great early morning opportunities and, yeah, not being in sync with the rest of the world – I’m just waking up when they’re in midday. But, other than my delight in the “me”/creative/productive time that opens up, there are other advantages to my schedule – all of which escape me at the moment except for Night Blooming Jasmine for these special weeks in the Spring.

The staircase up to my studio is, this year, covered in Night Blooming Jasmine which has expanded into a huge blanket of flowers wrapped around the railing creating a jasmine tunnel of sorts as you pass up or down the stairs.

I planted 3 small plants 10 years ago and now they cover most of my garden and staircase. It’s like they decided to take over and their tendrils wrap around and through other plants and trees surrounding my meditation garden and continue up the steps. My bed is just inside the window next to the stairs and the distance from my pillow to the jasmine is less than 6 feet. So, yes, I now do a Jasmine Meditation before sleep.

Now, I didn’t understand originally the difference between regular Jasmine (which is delicious as well) and Night Blooming Jasmine – especially since both plants have flowers day and night. I noticed that my flowers were a slightly different shape than the Jasmine that my neighbors had on their fences, and that their Jasmine smelled much stronger than mine during the day. Mine, in fact, has almost no scent – until dark. Then once the sun goes down, one can find my front gate from a half-block away simply by following the rich, luscious scent. It’s still recognizably jasmine, but a richer cousin – just like the exceptional dark sweet black raspberry is this amazing but oh-so-rare relative of the tarter, lighter red raspberry.

The Night Blooming Jasmine flowers don’t bloom at night – the scent does. This version of jasmine opens up and releases an intoxicating sweetness after dark that makes your knees give way. It is something to be consumed mindfully so that one can appreciate the sensory experience fully. Even when attended to with concentration and clarity – you could easily get a bit stoned on the sweetness.

At this time of year, yes, I sleep with my windows open – but then, I am the only one awake for most of the night – so I take the dog out, sit on my porch looking at the moon, or take out recycling – always moving very slowly as I allow the succulent fragrance to waft about and through me until … there is nothing but it – I am it. And then we’ve gone one step beyond any “high” – it’s a complete, consuming experience.

This is my scent meditation. Lord knows that I’ve devised so many different mindfulness meditations over the years – exploring sound, eating, laughing, pleasurable experience – and, while scents are difficult to use in a group setting, for this table of one “Night Owl”, it’s a perfect dish.

I open my senses – the way you get a front row seat to a favorite show or game – and I relish every drop. Yum.

And being the only human being awake – makes it so special. It reminds me of the dozens of times I’ve hiked to the top of some mountain to watch the sun set and then marvel that out of the millions of people nearby who could be doing this, I am the only set of eyes that get to take in the magnificent vision unfolding before me. I’m almost bewildered that no one else is there. But I definitely feel blessed to be the one that is present to witness. And lucky.

So I thought I’d share some of what I’m enjoying. I think the natural step after gratitude is generosity – and so here, take a nice deep breath in of this most rich, sweet, marvelous fragrance that is Night Blooming Jasmine.

If you can’t smell it …. May you find a scent that makes you feel loved, taken care of, and inspired – or like you dove into a big soft pile of pillows. Let it into your senses, let the experience of it transform your senses as you accept and relax around it and into it – becoming it.

And yes, it’s after 2am as I write this – ready to walk hand-in-hand with my new favorite friend in my new favorite meditation.

Nite Owl Out. Night Blooming Jasmine In.

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