Our internal clocks measure time, not in terms of decades and years, but in terms of the light-darkness cycle of a given day. To be sure, we think in terms of weeks and months, years and decades, centuries and millennia, light years and cosmic epochs. If we are quantum theorists or molecular biologists, we may also think in terms of micro-seconds.
Still, by virtue of our internal clocks, the day has a certain primacy, for us and for God. In process theology, God's primary aim is not necessarily that we live forever but rather that we enjoy the richness of experience in our daily lives, regardless of how long we live. God is, as it were, a God for each 24-hour day. We may live until we are six, or sixty six, or a hundred and six - it is the days that count.
There is a metaphysical side to this. From a process perspective the question, "How is your day going?" is not a mere polite inquiry. It is a metaphysical question, asking about the being of our being. The quality of our daily experiences is the ontology, the existence, the essence of who we are. This quality isn't reducible to something more fundamental, to very small molecules in the brain, for example. The days of our lives are our lives.
We can only live one day at a time, and our experience of any given day is rooted in circadian rhythms that govern much of our lives. These rhythms are the natural 24-hour cycles that regulate many physiological processes in the body, including sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, hormone production, and digestion. Scientists tell us that they are controlled by a tiny cluster of cells in our brains called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), which receive information about light and darkness from the eyes. When it's dark, the SCN triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. When it's light, the SCN suppresses melatonin production, allowing us to stay awake.
There is no need to romanticize the 24 hour day and pretend that it is always beautiful or that it is a holy sanctuary in time. Regrettably, for many people, daily life is filled violence violence, disease, poverty, anxiety, and abuse, leaving individuals hoping for better days ahead. Daily life is not always beautiful; sometimes it is terrifying. Nevertheless, it is the prospect of better days that remains a beacon of hope.
Additionally and importantly, these better days include better nights. The 24 hour day includes darkness, when sleep naturally occurs, as well as light, and research now shows how essential a good night's sleep is to qualitative living. Sleep, it turns out, is not only refreshing, it is immensely creative. It is a time of consolidating memories, exploring possibilities, and replenishing the creative juices of life. his is why sleep deprivation, almost endemic in modern life, is so tragic and why sleep injustice (that is, the injustice is frustrating people's need for a good night's sleep) is sinful. Consider how many innocent people are deprived of sleep in times of war.
So, what do we hope for? What kinds of experiences would constitute a good day in the present or a better day in the future? For one thing, we can hope for a world in which people enjoy a good night's sleep. One way that this can occur is by recognizing sleep itself as a gift, a pleasure, a joy, one of life's greatest goods. Whereas some may think of sleep as a mere preparation for daylight hours, a process approach will recognize that daylight hours are also preparations for sleep. Light and dark, waking and sleeping - they stand on an equal part in terms of the holiness of a 24 hour day.
Of course, humans cannot live by sleep alone. We can also hope for various forms of goodness that give daily life its qualitive richness: attention, beauty, connection (with friends, family, and community), compassion, courage, devotion, enthusiasm, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, hospitality, imagination, listening, love, meaning-making, nurturing, openness, playfulness, questing, and a sense of mystery. The specific embodiment of goodness most relevant to a given day depends on the circumstances, which can present both challenges and opportunities.
One way to practice this hope is to recognize each day as Buddhists call a "dharma gate" – a doorway or gateway through which individuals can gain insight and wisdom. These gates can take various forms in daily life: teachings, experiences, challenges, or everyday life events. Each and every day is, then, a Dharma gate. The good news is that the Mind of the universe, the cosmic Buddha, God, walks through the gate with us. The dharma gate of a given day is the point where God meets us, and we meet God.
The God we encounter is a God of Becoming – a divine reality whose very essence is interwoven with the temporal universe. To say that God's essence is the universe does not imply that God controls every event. Instead, it means that temporal events in the universe, including the days of our lives, are experienced by God and have an impact on God, much like how events within our own bodies affect us. Our days are, in a sense, God's days as well.
Furthermore, the influence of God in the world occurs through "lures" or "callings" tailored to the circumstances and processes of a given day. These lures, referred to as "initial aims" in process theology, present fresh possibilities for responding to the circumstances themselves. If we envision each circumstance as a dharma gate, then the lures are possibilities for walking through the gate at hand in a way that best suits the situation. In times of hatred, the lure is for love. In times of boredom, it is for imagination. In times of fear, it is for courage. Throughout a lifetime, God's fundamental question is not, "Where will you go after you die?" Instead, it is, "How is your day going?" God's hope and dream are that we will have a good day, aligning with the divine aim for our daily happiness and flourishing. The question of life includes, but is not limited to, "Did you help others? Did you love well?" It also includes "Did you find yourself filled with wonder? and "Did you get a good night's sleep?" All of these are part of the goodness that God desires for us. Have a good day, and get a good night's sleep.
- Jay McDaniel
 In process philosophy, actual occasions of experience, whether in daily life or apart from it, are the building blocks of the world. They are the truly real elements that make up the universe
a scholarly discussion: In Our Time BBC
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution and role of Circadian Rhythms, the so-called body clock that influences an organism's daily cycle of physical, behavioural and mental changes. The rhythms are generated within organisms and also in response to external stimuli, mainly light and darkness. They are found throughout the living world, from bacteria to plants, fungi to animals and, in humans, are noticed most clearly in sleep patterns. With Russell Foster; Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford; Debra Skene, Professor of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Surrey, and Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London
Sleep science pioneer Nathaniel Kleitman descended into a cave in 1938 to investigate the nature of our sleep cycle. The experiment was not a success. And while it may not have yielded much evidence - a thrilling news report detailing the subterranean sleep project caught the public imagination. It's one of the stories told in a new book by Kenneth Miller tracing the history of research into sleeping patterns and the impact of sleep deprivation which takes in figures including Pavlov, Joe Borelli, William Dement and Mary Carskadon. John Gallagher talks to Kenneth Miller and to - Dr Diletta da Cristaforo about how contemporary writers are dealing with our fraught relationship with a good night's sleep. Professor Sasha Handley is an expert in the approach to sleep of early modern people - and we consider if they have any tips to help us now. Dr Emily Scott Dearing discusses Turn it Up - a new exhibition at the London Science Museum which explores the soothing sounds - and surprising power of the lullaby.
Finding God in the Rhythms of Daily Life
Morning meditation or prayer: Many people start their day with a spiritual practice like meditation, prayer, or reflection to set a positive and centered tone for the day.
Gratitude journaling: Practicing gratitude in the morning can help individuals cultivate a sense of spiritual awareness and appreciation for the blessings in their lives.
Mindful eating: Approaching meals with mindfulness, gratitude, and appreciation for the nourishment they provide can be a spiritual practice.
Nature walks: Spending time in nature and connecting with the natural world can be a spiritual experience, fostering a sense of awe and interconnectedness.
Work and Productivity:
Integrating spiritual principles: Some individuals bring their spiritual values, such as compassion, kindness, and integrity, into their work and interactions with colleagues.
Mindful breaks: Taking short breaks during the workday to practice mindfulness, deep breathing, or grounding exercises can enhance spiritual well-being.
Interactions and Relationships:
Compassionate communication: Practicing active listening and compassionate communication in relationships can foster a sense of spiritual connection with others.
Acts of kindness: Engaging in acts of kindness and service to others can be a way of expressing one's spirituality in daily life.
Evening meditation or prayer: Ending the day with a spiritual practice can help individuals reflect on their actions, express gratitude, and seek inner peace.
Journaling: Some people use journaling as a means to reflect on their day, express their thoughts and feelings, and explore their spiritual journey.
Spiritual reading: Some individuals like to read spiritual texts or inspirational literature before bedtime to gain insight and inspiration.
Reflective gratitude: Taking a moment to express gratitude for the day's experiences and lessons can be a calming and spiritually enriching practice.
Attending religious services: For those who are part of a religious tradition, attending religious services and rituals can be an integral part of daily life rhythms.
Meditation or study groups: Participating in spiritual or mindfulness groups can provide a sense of community and support for one's spiritual growth.
Acts of Service:
Volunteer work: Engaging in volunteer activities or acts of service to the community can be a way of expressing one's spirituality and contributing to the greater good.
Tips for The Practice of Sleeping
Maintaining a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Uphold regular sleep and wake times daily, promoting internal clock regulation and quality sleep.
Prioritizing Quality Sleep: Create a comfortable sleep environment with a dark, quiet, and cool bedroom. Invest in a good mattress and pillows for restful sleep.
Exposure to Natural Light: Seek morning exposure to natural sunlight, resetting your circadian clock and enhancing daytime alertness.
Limiting Artificial Light at Night: Minimize screen time before bedtime, as blue light disrupts circadian rhythms and hinders sleep.
Watching Your Diet: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol near bedtime to prevent disruptions to sleep patterns.
Incorporating Regular Exercise: Include daily physical activity in your routine to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep quality.