This morning I am giving a lot of consideration to my “morning ritual.” For years, in a feeble attempt to learn about “adulting” I studied articles pertaining to a morning ritual. Most included coffee, almost all included cooking, and the really good ones included meditation. For years I tried on other people’s morning rituals trying to find one that fit for my lifestyle and failed miserably every time.
You see, I have one major problem, I am not a morning person. I can’t stand them, in fact. My friends will tell you I have strict rules about when I will answer my door or phone (after what hour), my roommates have heard all the whining, and my lovers will tell you that I am a nightmare to wake up with.
I’ve always been more of a night owl and I certainly am not good at rituals to top it off, so I quickly gave up on the idea. I mostly spent my adult mornings crawling out of bed just in time to put some hairspray in my hair and throw clothes on. I have even stopped bothering with makeup just so I could get those last few seconds of sleep.
Until a very strange turn of events. When I met my current boyfriend he entertained my sleep cycle for awhile with a few quips about how it would need to change at some point, being the opposite of me. I never put even an ounce of thought into it, assuming it would just work itself out, even though I can’t give even one example of anything that has ever worked itself out (if you think it did, someone probably worked it out for you [another discussion for another day]). But the strangest thing has happened lately, I have begun to “cycle” with my boyfriend (who is actually at military training…). I’m not sure how it is possible, but I have actually been getting up earlier and earlier every morning.
I do think a lot of it has to do with my healthy diet and exercise routine, but all of this is beside the point.
The biggest point is the discovery I have made in getting up early. There is a completely different world before noon… and I kind of dig it.There is this stunning dewy smell outside that I’ve been venturing out to enjoy on my balcony in my long flannel t-shirt with my cup of coffee. I stand out there while the sun comes up and I just breath.
This is really the point though. Lately I have added meditation to my “morning routine.” I struggled and struggled to even do mornings and mediation, I thought, “Who on earth has time for that?” It turns out that I do. And it is probably the greatest 15 minutes of my entire day. I just walk outside, breath deeply and exhale slowly and only think about the moment I am in, the dewy smell, the jogging mothers, the sweet taste of my organic African Reserve coffee (BuzzBox by the way).
Many people believe, falsely, that mediation is this thing you do in a really uncomfortable yoga pose. A time where you close your eyes and attempt to think about nothing. This is complete and utter nonsense. In fact, if you can do this, I am truly impressed by you and so is a large part of the martial arts community and those people are zen as f*ck. The problem is, those people who espouse this idea, this concrete concept of what mediation is, don’t understand why they are mediating in the first place. They do it for the sake of itself, instead of the actual goal and the goal would interest anyone who enjoys learning and seeing the world from new vantage points.
The goal of mediation is actually to sharpen and hone your senses so that you can see the world around you more clearly in your day to day life. It does this for all the 5 sense as I WATCH the joggers, TASTE my coffee, and SMELL the dew (and of course the other ones). I like to spend my morning shifting between the five senses. Some people would enjoy experiencing one at a time. There is really no wrong way to do it, except to “think about nothing.”
Mediation is not “thinking about nothing.” It is, in fact, the complete opposite. It is an attempt to learn how to think about everything at one time, by learning to truly use each sense to its fullest.
As we hone our senses into something, we learn, not only to enjoy it, but to notice it when we are passing it by. Its like brain training. The brain actually works best in a state called “Flow,” something I will be giving a lecture on in Canada this Fall. Many people believe that in order to perform better, our brain needs to work harder, faster, and we need to open up new parts. But in fact, neuroscience has proven that the more “zen” our brain is, the sharper we are and the better we perform.
So slow down and have a cup of coffee this morning, smell the dew and get high on life. It actually makes you smarter.
I’ll be writing more on this topic, so please, send me questions!