Monday, November 21, 2011

Off to a Good Start

Waking up every day, same possibilities.

Either jump in, unaware, into the mayhem of the day, and be prepared for the consequences.  Or, stop and choose to dwell in mindfulness even before opening one's yes, following Ayya Khema's wise counsel. I have chosen the latter and perfected a routine that has done me a lot of good.

Laying in bed, at the first moment of consciousness, I peak at the early morning light, and I close my eyes again. Getting in touch with breath, and the general climate inside. What is the general feeling? Am I starting off with resistance, or willingness? As of late, there has been lots of reluctance. I remember Ruth Denison's teachings on vedana. Recognize the unpleasantness and it will diminish. She is right. Embracing the tightness, I can feel the body relax. Mind almost always follows with gladness, and gratitude for the gift of breath, and life starting anew, once more. It is now time to open the eyes, slowly as instructed by Ayya Khema, noticing the stickiness of upper and lower lids parting after a long night, and the brightness streaming in. 

Listening to the body, I give it what it wants. A few long, slow cat stretches. Spine cracks with delight. I am ready to get up.  Walking to the bathroom turns into a short walking meditation. First feeling the stickiness of bare feet against the wooden floor, then coldness from the marble tiles. Watching the various body parts, moving in accord to perform the rituals of toileting, brushing teeth, and freshening up. And the mind also, as it tries to take me away from each moment, already. 

Next is another critical juncture. To sit now, or later? I have found it best to sit first thing. This way, I am sure to get some practice in, and I prep the mind for the rest of the day. Giving the mind a chance to settle before external events have agitated it too much. Less effort is required to calm the mind, and also one can start the day from a centered place. Nascent unskillful thoughts can be addressed before they get a chance to mushroom into some kind of intractable state. 

We have so much control over our life. Good day, bad day, it's up to us to set the right tone from the start.

How do you usually start each day? Is mindfulness a part of your morning routine? 


  1. I usually sit first thing in the morning. Have my coffee by my side and just sit. Eyes closed, breathe, center and find my balance for the day. I have missed doing this the past week or so and have been running in circles it would seem. Made the time to do it this morning and literally felt all the bad side effects, melt away. It really makes an impact and noticable difference.

  2. Yes, noticing the effects of not practicing is best incentive for resuming sitting. :)