Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lifestyle Practice: Start Your Day Right

lifestyle practice
The most important minute of your day is the very first one.  During the transition between the sleeping and waking states , the door is wide open to deeply connect with your Self.

When we’re sleeping, we have a break from the habitual thinking most of us experience.   If you’re watching closely, you’ll notice that your mind will turn on almost immediately when you awaken.  It will seek to grab your attention once again, perhaps with thoughts about things you have to do during the day or unresolved issues in your life.  The key is to notice the thoughts but not get caught up in them.  Let the thoughts be background noise and put your attention elsewhere.

One place you can always focus is on your breath.  Simply feel the breath coming and out.  Enjoying that soothing rhythm will bring you deeply into the present.

You can also focus on your heart.  Perhaps put your hands on your chest to help bring attention to your heart.  If your heart is open, just enjoy the beautiful feeling of your own love.    If your heart is closed, gratitude is the simplest way to open it.  Give thanks for this day, for the breath, for whatever you are truly grateful for.

Before you get out of bed, spend at least a couple minutes, immersing yourself in the present moment.  If you notice attention following the mind into future or past, be grateful for the gift of awareness and come back to breath or heart.  

By taking even a couple minutes for this practice, you are setting a powerful tone to for your day.  You are deeply affirming to yourself that your true priority for this day is to be present and enjoy each moment.  You are breaking the hold of your mind/ego.

If at all possible, take some more extended time to deeply connect with your Self before you go to work or get busy doing things.  Doing a sitting meditation of at least 20 minutes is a wonderful practice.  If you don't know how to meditate, you might want to start with a guided meditation CD.  If you resonate with my perspective, try Come Home to Yourself, which combines my words with beautiful music by Anton Mizerak.

 If you have a sedentary job, perhaps you prefer a moving meditation.  This could be going for a walk or run, doing yoga or Qi Gong.  The important thing is to do your best to keep attention in the present, rather than letting the mind take you a wild goose chase.

When you’ve started your day like this, it will be easier to relax and drop into the present when you create gaps in activity (see Stress Management Strategy to learn more about this).   After deeply tasting the sweet nectar of the Now, you’ll remember the taste and want more.  No matter how busy your day is, you’ll  take breaks and fully enjoy them.

Andrew Oser has been offering spiritual life coaching, along with guided retreats on Mount Shasta since 1982.   Through hikes to little-known sacred sites, guided meditations, spiritual life coaching, and time drinking in the silence of the mountain, he helps clients to deeply renew themselves in body, mind, and spirit and receive clear vision for their lives.  For more info, please see www.mountshastaretreat.net

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