Morning Meditation

Your meditation practice can and should begin with a morning meditation, and it should begin the first moment that you are aware that you are awake each day. This is a very important point because many people go through the large part of their day without every really being present, mindful, or fully awake.

In the absence of mindfulness, habit runs our lives, and most of us get out of bed, go through our morning rituals, interact with the people in our life, drive to work, and begin our day without ever really being aware that we are awake.

It may be many hours after getting out of bed before there is finally a moment of true self-reflective awareness in which you are actually mindfully aware that you are awake to a new day. However, if you train well in meditation practice, this moment may come with the first instant of awakening from sleep -- before your eyes are even open -- when you gently smile to yourself as you become aware of your body...aware of your thoughts...aware of your surroundings...aware that you are aware and awake.

If you like, find a physical gesture that helps you to anchor and affirm this morning meditation when you are first aware that you are awake to a new day. This gesture may be to reach up and touch your heart, to wiggle your toes, to mindfully bow, or to simply smile knowingly to yourself.

Awake to the blessings and opportunities of a new day, do a "systems check," and give thanks for the freedoms and faculties available to you. Send a ,,rave of appreciation and gratitude that you can still move your body... that your eyes still see... that your ears can still hear... and that you are mentally and physically as intact and fully functioning as you are. If your faculties or senses are in any way impaired, then appreciate and rejoice in whatever capacities and faculties you do have available to you that enrich the quality of your life.

Pause in this moment of awakening to be grateful for the gifts and opportunities of this fresh beginning, and this new day. Then ask yourself, "How do I want to live this day?" Knowing that the fact of death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, reflect for a moment on the preciousness of this life and the impermanence that is the nature of each moment.

Consider the opportunities that this new day brings and the challenges of the day. What are the strengths of character or spirit that these circumstances invite you to develop and awaken more fully in yourself this day?

Give yourself the gift of a few more moments of reflective morning meditation now to consciously clarify the values, priorities, or principles that are most important for you to remember this day. Is today about "being present," or about "being patient," or about "deep listening," or about "being kind," or about "waking up"? Set an intention to focus on at least one spiritual quality or faculty that you would like to practice cultivating today. If it works for you, capture the essence of what you want or need to remember in a word, or short phrase that you can recall and refer back to frequently throughout the day.

Then, frequently throughout the day wake up from the momentum of the habits that lead you to live mindlessly or to not be fully present to your life. When you notice that you have been mindlessly going through the motions of your life, work, and relationships without really being there, then gently smile to yourself with compassion, and wake up...again...and again... throughout the day.

Let there be many moments of awakening throughout your busy day. If You like, in these moments, reach up again and touch your heart, wiggle Your toes, or snap your fingers to physically affirm this moment of awakening. Refresh your mindfulness. Remember and recall the word or phrase that reminds you of what you hold most dear and essential to your life and success today.

Then, carry this renewed clarity, focus, and commitment with you as you step fully present and awake into the next situation that your life presents. As you use morning meditation to learn to wake up and be more present to what is going on within and around you, you will awaken to greater freedom in every realm of your life.

[Adapted from the book "Luminous Mind" by Joel & Michelle Levey]

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