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  • Written by  Ian Ives
  • // Saturday, 20 October 2012 07:52
Ian Ives

Tips for waking up in the morning - part 3

Just in case you are not a fan of a clear and determined intention to practice right after getting up or you don't feel like morning meditation is something to look forward to, maybe this one works ...

3. Waking up and inspiring your mind

This last tip relates to what you do when you actually get out of bed. If you are like me, then you may have had the experience of continuing to sleep while on the meditation cushion. You may have managed to get onto the cushion, but you can’t really say that you’ve woken up. Needless to say, this kind of meditation doesn’t do very much to transform your mind. Here it can help to be skilful in choosing what you do first thing when you get out of bed. For some people, just sitting down to meditate wakes them up, but for others perhaps it takes a hot shower, a short walk out in the cool and fresh morning air or just a little bit of stretching.  What can also help is to begin by doing whatever inspires you the most: maybe there is a particular prayer, or a short teaching, or even a piece of music that always seems to lift up your mind. Whatever it may be, use it. This can really help your meditation practice get off to a more wakeful start.

One short anecdote in conclusion: I generally do my practice in front of a shrine with all sorts of sacred images and inspiring photos. ON the shrine I have a set of Tibetan offering bowls that you are supposed to fill up with clean water each morning as an offering. A few months ago I got fed with my consistent habit of not doing this, and decided that from that day on I would make offerings to the shrine before doing anything else in the morning.  Having tried this now for about a month, I’ve noticed something quite peculiar. When I wake up, I may well feel very groggy, tired and at the point of convincing myself to roll back up in the covers, but after getting out of bed, fetching some water, filling the bowls and lighting a stick of incense I find that strangely my mind is clear and awake. Of course the traditional teachings speak about the importance of doing activities such this to accumulate ‘merit’, which is like a positive force resulting from good actions that help support our practice and development of wisdom. I read somewhere that offering is one of the greatest sources of merit, and then I saw that the 10th century master Atisha had written in one of his teachings that merit is the cause of a clear and wakeful mind. Perhaps there’s something to it, I thought. It so often seems to be the case that these traditional rituals are really not for anyone else’s benefit other than our own.

I hope you found at least a shred of something helpful in these posts. Good luck waking up!