Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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Morning stillness

Published: 29 Nov 2012

In the morning, a mountain lake is calm and tranquil. The water is cold and refreshing. The surface is smooth and glass-like. It reflects the world around it accurately. As the day progresses, the winds start and the sun warms the water, causing ripples and waves.

Photo by Ron Coscorrosa, amazing Landscape Photographer

Our minds should be the same. We should start each day with startling acuity. We must reflect the world around us accurately. As the day progresses, our ability to focus will diminish and we must renew. I always thought I did well in the morning, today I realized I was not.

This morning I started something new. Yesterday I watched an interview with Investor turned Life Coach Jerry Colonna. They spoke about the benefits of simply sitting still; primarily in the morning. Before email, news, Facebook and Twitter just stop and sit still. I wanted to try, even though I thought I started my days well.

I woke up like any other morning. I gathered my myriad of devices that are our modern day teddy bears. The real challenge lay ahead of me. I had a Meditation Timer setup in a browser window. I had to start it without distracting myself. It was right next to my email. If Gandhi could sleep next to naked nubile young girls*, I could click a button without glancing at my email or Twitter feed.

I succeeded.

I sat down, perfectly still. My personal moment of calm started. I would think of nothing except being still. If my mind drifting into any thoughts, I loudly thought STOP. The STOP would echo through my thoughts as I refocused on simply being still. There were many, many echoes.

As the minutes ticked by I didn’t feel anything different. My computer turned off the display, in an effort to conserve electricity. I thought, “This should be nicer in a darker room.” and just as I was telling myself to STOP that thought the chimes indicating my 10 minutes were up.

This was an interesting disconnect. I knew my display turns off after 10 minutes, but my conscious mind was focused on my activity I didn’t use that as a trigger my exercise in stillness was over.

I opened my eyes and slowly regained awareness of the world around me. I stood up to make coffee and now I felt different. I wasn’t one with the world, I was one with consequences of my actions. Everything was clear. How long it stays this way I don’t know. It’s been 4 hours and I’m still feeling the positive effects.

A 10 minute time investment in the morning for this great mental state is a minor cost. The return is staggering. Now I understand this a little more:

I am so busy today, I can’t meditate one hour. I must meditate for two.