I spent the early hours of the morning with a Deva.
At first light, before turning on the computer, I turn on Pandora, choosing my Deva Premal radio station. Chant, lilting and lyrical—words whose meaning are unknown to me even in Sanskrit kindle my inner light.
Choosing to spend time with Deva is just one way I might choose to to enter the day more mindfully. "Choose" is the pivotal word here. Mindfully choose. Any of us can do this.
I'm a firm believer that the way we choose to spend our time first thing in the morning sets the tone for our entire day. As we come out of sleep, we are vulnerable, open, receptive. It's the best time of day to honor the wide open spaces within us and fill them with something that is spiritually healthy.
Or not fill them at all, but allow them to remain empty and still.
Research backs this up, by the way.
Studies have shown that people who spend some time in the early morning engaged in a contemplative-type practice are calmer throughout the day.
Most of us are conditioned to hit the pavement running. Hurriedly getting kids off to school or ourselves to work, or beginning to check things off our lengthy To-Do List, can start the cortisol stream—releasing stress hormones—and before we know it we're in full-fledged get-it-done, survival mode. Stress builds.
Starting our day this way tends to make us feel off-balance immediately. When more small stressors are added throughout the day, it doesn't take much to tip the scales and we can easily dive headlong into overwhelm, anxiousness, or any number of wildish emotions.
This is because we have no foundation of inner calm to build our day upon.
If we were to dedicate 5-30 minutes in the morning to stabilizing our body/mind, our days would feel completely different. An early morning spiritual practice of some kind also stimulates the production of oxytocins and other feel good hormones and, truthfully, who wouldn't more of that? I'd much prefer to enter my work day feeling calm inside rather than chaotic.
Choice ... it all comes down to choice.
I believe that one of the kindest, most spiritually healthy things we can do for ourselves, is to begin our day with practices that calm and center us. Suitably centered from 5-30 minutes in the morning, we lay a foundation of ease that can stand up to stressful onslaughts throughout the day.
So this morning I spent time with Deva. Tomorrow it might be His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Hildegard or Peter Kater. It doesn't matter which one I choose, only that I do. The inner peace that is created in the wee hours is the lifeblood of my day. May it be so for you too.
Make a new early morning choice, will you? Invite something into your wee hours that nourishes you—body, mind and spirit.
As Rumi taught, "What nine months of attention does for an embryo, Forty Early Mornings will do for your gradually growing wholeness."
Even if you have to get up 15-minutes early, it's well worth the effort. Your whole and holy self will benefit ... all day long.
Today, I'm announcing my new ASM program: "Advanced Spiritual Mentoring." More honoring of my joy and passion to personally journey with people, one-on-one, as they navigate the ups and downs of daily life. If you're someone who's been "on the path" for a long time, if you find yourself in a time of difficulty, or if you know the value of having consistent contact and support from a "seasoned other," consider Advanced Spiritual Mentoring with me. I'd like to spend quality time with you.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.