What’s your first thought when you wake up in the morning? You’ve probably heard it said that you can choose to start your day with ‘Good God, morning!’ or ‘Good morning, God.’ It’s certainly true that the way you begin can set the tone for the whole day and once the tone is established it can be very difficult to change.
I invite you to try a wonderful and simple technique to help you start your day in a positive and mindful way. When you wake up recite to yourself, either from memory or from a note by your bed, the following little verse, or gatha, from Thich Nhat Hanh.
Waking this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment,
And to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that, as a young monk, he wrote this down and stuck it to his mosquito net so that it was the first thing he saw when he woke in the morning. It’s a wonderful way to begin the day with a moment of slowing down and setting a good intention.
I have found gathas incredibly useful for focussing my mind when I’m moving through my day and particularly during the more mundane activities of life. After all it’s at these times that we often allow our minds to wander down roads of worry and fear. In trying to live with mindfulness we attempt to prevent this from happening and gathas can be very helpful.
For example, when walking from one meeting to another replace the worries, false frettings and concerns that normally arise with a favourite gatha.
The mind can go in a thousand directions,
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a cool wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.
To focus on a gatha and prevent the monkey mind taking us down the rabbit hole of a thousand imagined and unlikely disasters is to remove a great deal of the worry and stress from the day. Try this simple technique and see what a difference it makes to you.
You can find a gatha for most daily activities in the wonderful ‘Present Moment, Wonderful Moment’ card and book set by Thich Nhat Hanh but you can also have fun making up your own. Good luck watering the seed of mindfulness in your life.
Many blessings and best wishes.
Jacquelyn is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and Reiki Level Two practitioner. Yoga has helped her to overcome paralyzing fears and chronic pain and find her true purpose in life. Her focus is on encouraging those around her to have patience, kindness and compassion for themselves and the courage to stand, fearless, in their own light. Jacquelyn has studied meditation and mindfulness in the Shambhala tradition and with Thich Nhat Hanh. She teaches Gentle Yoga, Chakra Flow Yoga, EMpower Yoga, Beginners Yoga, Power Yoga, Learn to Meditate and a variety of workshops. www.balancedlifeyoga.ca
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