Some of the twenty chapters of this beautiful book might contain words and phrases that are unfamiliar to you, for instance, “Kadupul,” “Murmurations,” “Pacaya,” and “Crown Shyness” (see the excerpt accompanying this review). This is because the author, Jennifer Grant, has created original meditations, mantras, and visualizations — all for the singular purpose of quieting the mind, heart, and body at the end of each day.
For example, she crafts a meditation called “Honey” for when we feel we have “a beehive” inside our hearts. Another chapter offers desperately needed perspective for worrying hearts, focusing on “the overview effect” talked about by philosophers and experienced visually by certain astronauts. This includes:
“Imagine seeing the earth from far above…. See the swirl of white clouds, the patches of blues and greens and browns spread over the earth’s face. Next, imagine where you are located in that picture. Know, with quiet confidence, that you are one tiny life, occupying one tiny place. While your life is precious, you are blessedly insignificant…. Breathe out any worries and fears; breathe in a sense of calm.”
Our attachment to screens is what prompts the need for this book, and Grant understands this. She writes in her introduction about our “Age of Anxiety.” She concludes the same by introducing the spiritual practice inspiring the book’s title: “Dimming the Day.” She invites the reader to fall asleep with these meditations, explaining:
“As it’s a book to be read at bedtime, you might be wondering, What if I fall asleep while reading a chapter? Well then, my friend, I’ve done my job!... While I can’t take you on a walk through the redwoods or pluck you a dandelion from the sidewalk, and while we can’t sit side by side and look up at the night sky tonight, we can consider these things together, these lovely things, and end the day in quiet wonder.”
Her sources are mostly from Nature, the Bible, famous Christian saints, the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and English poets.