I’ve been reading threads on some mental health forums about how some of us have unhealthy habits that drain our energy before we even get a start on our day. For instance, we see our phones first thing in the morning to check unread messages or emails, read world news, go through our social feeds, etc. all before we have even left our bed. I know occasionally I’ve found myself doing one or more of these things first thing in the morning while still in bed. While it may be fun to read up on what I missed, I always end up regretting it, because I feel like I’ve wasted my precious attention on something that didn’t warrant it.
Early mornings are more conducive for learning about our inner world, but we don’t think twice about using that time for consuming what’s happening in the outer world. When that happens, it’s hard (but not impossible) to get one’s attention back on track for what follows during the day. This way, we are more likely to act out of impulse (rather than intention), crave dopamine hits throughout our day, get distracted in our work, constantly switch from one thing to the next without giving anything our full attention, and generally find ourselves in a constant reactive mode, which feels good in the moment (not unlike having simple carbs), but only depletes us. It never ceases to amaze me that I feel less than great when I make choices sans intention. Most of all, I feel that way when being rushed, which almost always weakens me. I like to take my time to do things, because anything worth doing is worth doing well, else why even bother?!
Here’s the thing: We need to charge our batteries every morning. We need to spend some time in solitude every day to renew ourselves emotionally. We need to charge our batteries every day just as we charge our phones every day.
We need to spend some time in the morning to charge our batteries. We do physical and mental training by way of exercise and reading books, but we rarely spend the time to take care of our emotional health, which is vastly more important than the others.
We need to give ourselves at least an hour a day to create a relationship with ourselves. It’s only then that our relationship with others can be harmonious. Contrary to what most believe, we don’t have to work on things outside of us to change ourselves for the better, which gives temporary results at best and at worst, makes us feel like we are making meaningful change when we aren’t. The way I see it, it’s all inner work and what happens outside is simply a manifestation of what’s occurred within. It’s only when we love ourselves fully, can we radiate peace, love, and happiness in our every response. Others will naturally feel this and we don’t have to do anything; we can simply be. We need to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with others. Ironically, when we are full of love, we’ll always be happy, and we won’t need others to make us happy.
Anyway, all of this inner change happens when we carve out some time every morning to take care of our mind.
Here are some things I do most mornings to take care of my mind and to build a relationship with myself.
I do meditation, gratitude journaling, morning pages, daily affirmations and visualization, morning prayer, send blessings to others, and spiritual study all before I have had my breakfast. Doing all of these collectively helps me keep myself centered throughout the day. There are days when I miss one or more of these activities, but by and large, I try to do them all every day. These might seem like a lot, but when you get into the habit of doing it, it comes naturally to you.
Doing these things helps us be in a state of love, which helps us see others with love. When our actions are borne out of love, respect, and care for others, then our words and actions/behavior simply reflect that. We don’t have to work on external things. This also puts our focus on giving, not getting. We don’t need anything from anyone because when we give, we receive it first. Doing these things in the morning helps me keep myself stable and detached from people and situations in my life. I’m also reminded that my response doesn’t have to depend on others’ response and that gentleness can only be expected from those who are strong, paraphrasing Leo Roskin. We can keep ourselves stable and in-dependent, despite the chaos in the world today, as those things are outside of us.
We need to spend some time in solitude every morning to charge our batteries. We must take care of our Self, so we can recharge ourselves fully, and help others during the day (if/when we want to). There’s a lot of challenges we are seeing in the world today, not the least of which is recovering from a pandemic, but we must remind ourselves to focus only on our karma because therein lies our destiny.