Tips to Become an Early Riser
One of my grandfather’s favorite quotes was, “The heights of great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upwards in the night.” Well at least toiling upwards in the early morning would be a good start for some of us :-). So how is this to be done? How is one to wake up early and thus make full use of that most beautiful time of the day? The answer does not lie in taping an alarm clock to your head, or in using electric shocks, or in hiring a drill sergeant as a personal trainer – the answer is simpler than that – the answer is to figure out what you are most passionate about in life. Those great men above, I am certain, had one thing in common. They all had a burning passion for something in life. That is the key. The secret to not only becoming an early riser, but also for living a fulfilling life. That passion, that love, will give you the energy to spring out of bed at the break of dawn so you can give yourself to that which you love most.
Here is a simple experiment that you can do to validate the above argument. Think about what you really enjoy doing and plan to do that early in the morning. Here are a few simple examples of such an experiment. If you really love a particular TV show and have a DVR (or VCR), tape that show instead of watching it when you normally do. Now wait for a day when you don’t have to rush off to work and plan to watch that show on that day early in the morning. See what happens. You may be surprised at the energy available to you to get out of bed that morning. When there is something that needs to be done, observe carefully within yourself and you will notice that the energy is there at that time for you to do it. Try to never delay or procrastinate the necessary response to a requirement of life in a given moment (this is actually a very interesting topic in and of itself but I will leave that for another article). Here are a few more examples. If you are an avid gamer, lets say playing World of Warcraft. Well, stop right before you level up or before you get your reward for a completed quest and see how quickly you get out of bed the next day and run to the computer. Or leave the book you are reading at an interesting juncture and observe your ability to wake up the next day early to continue. I think the point has been made. Getting up and out of bed early has to do with your enthusiasm for starting the next day.
One problem that comes up of course is that many people do not know what their true passion is and so are not living an inspired life. The article Stop the Madness of Self-Discipline goes into this more but here I will paste one portion of that post which presents the following questions to ask yourself to help you figure out what you love to do. Here are those 6 questions….
- What is it that you like to do for its own sake, without any concern for reward or compliment? Do you like the joy of building things? Do you like to just create music? Do you like to teach? Do you like the challenge of watching your thoughts in action?
- If you won the lottery, I mean the really, really big one how would you like to spend the rest of your life?
- If you were informed you are about to die shortly, what would you regret most as not having spent your time doing?
- No matter where on Earth you are. In a rich, first world country, in the bush lands of Australia or high up in a Himalayan village what do you see yourself doing regardless of location?
- What activity do you always find yourself coming back to throughout your life?
- What activity can you just not see yourself doing without?
Hopefully these questions will start to reveal to you your real interests in life. Once that happens, and you start to live according to your passions, trying to wake up early will be a non-issue.
There is another problem that sometimes comes up with regard to becoming an early riser and that has to do with health and energy. Having good physical, emotional and mental health will go a long way in helping you, not only sleep better, but also in providing the necessary energy to kick-start the day bright and early. If you find yourself lacking energy and feeling depleted there is no better cure for that than exercise and Yoga. Here is a nice beginner Kundalini Yoga Kriya (set) that covers many aspects of your being and will help build your energy and health. The kriya is actually called Morning Wakeup Series and ironically should be done in the morning when you wake up. This Kundalini Kriya, in a short time with regular practice, will help you overcome any energy issues that were hampering you from getting up early.
One last item that I think is worth touching upon while I am on this topic is the motivation for those who practice meditation, kundalini, chakra yoga, pranayama or other spiritual work to wake up early. Here is a list of reasons why it is advantageous to practice sadhana in the early morning if possible…
- Early morning is called brahmamuhurta in Sanskrit. It literally means “The Divine Time.” This is the time of the day when the spiritual energy on our lovely planet is at its highest.
- The air at this time is fresh and contains the greatest amount of prana (cosmic life force).
- The mind is also fresh and unburdened with the worries of everyday life. This will help in the practice of concentration and meditation.
- This is the time of day when you are least likely to be distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- The stomach is empty, which is necessary before practicing many of the Yoga asanas and pranayamas.
Other articles that also touch upon this topic are Silent Mind Meditation Program: Practical Hints and Tips: Chapter 18 and How to Meditate by Yourself (Zazen Practice).
It is said that one of the things that we human beings waste our lives doing is sleeping (too much). So let that not be the case for you. Search inwards, experiment, figure out what you love to do in life and then muster up the courage to go after it. There is a story of a Yogi high up in the Himalayan mountains and what he does early every morning is get up, stand and applaud. He is applauding creation for the wonder of a new dawn, for the beauty of the sunrise and for the opportunity each new day provides. Let us join him bright and early tomorrow morning.