Viewing the first sunrise of the New Year is a sacred moment. In Japanese we refer to this as “hatsu hi no de.” 初日の出 Literally: first time 初, sun 日, come out 出.
In Shinto we strive to live in harmony with the natural world, with the ceaseless flow of Great Nature. The daily rising and setting of the sun, of course, is a significant reminder of Nature’s rhythm. And as we begin a new cycle of the Earth’s orbit around our sun, it is a special time to experience this divine renewal with “beginners mind,” to be in awe and reverence of the sunrise.
Here in Sidney, British Columbia [Canada] the sun will rise at 8:06 am on January 1. I invite you, wherever you are located, to look up the time of sunrise for your location. Prepare a quiet spot to pray and reflect on this moment of annual renewal. Perhaps you can go to a location where you have a view of the sunrise. Or, you can pray and meditate at the moment of the sunrise, feeling yourself in unity with Nature.
Rise early in the morning to greet the sun. Inhale and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and let the cosmos inside. Next breathe up the fecundity and vibrance of the Earth. Blend the breath of Earth with your own and become the breath of life itself. Your mind and body will be gladdened, depression and heartache will dissipate and you will be filled with gratitude. [Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido]
As the sun rises and launches the beginning of a new day, focus on living in harmony with the natural world. Especially in these challenging and stressful times, connection to Nature is critical to our happiness and well being.