Guide to Making It a Great Day
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD
It is a fact that if you lose an hour in the morning, you will have to spend the rest of the day trying to find it. Besides when it comes to work or getting ready for the day, an extra hour in the morning is generally more desirable than one in the evening. So I prefer to start the day early. But there is another very important overriding reason for starting the day early.
Spiritual Masters through the ages have emphasized that the best time to meditate is between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m. If you wake up during those hours you will find that the atmosphere is more calm and peaceful than at other times during the day. It seems that the hustle and bustle that create disturbances and tension have not yet begun.
There is a reason why we are called human beings. No other creature either mammal or fish is referred to as a being. Dogs, cats, cattle, horses, whales, dolphins etc. are not referred to as dog beings, cat beings, dolphin beings etc. So it is very essential that we focus on who or what it is that we are being. Christ is recorded to have said words to the effect, "Be ye perfect as our Father in Heaven is Perfect." Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta taught, "Be so ere ye do."
You have to first be before you can become. Becoming is the coming of the Being. You can only become who you are. You cannot become who you are not. So it is essential to start the day by focusing on one's being.
To do so, upon waking, before getting out of bed, I thank God for a good night and pray to receive humility and love so that I may conduct myself during the day in keeping with His Will. Why do I pray for humility? The reason is simple. In order to succeed in any given field, one has to abide by three Principles: We need
Once out of bed, to get refreshed, I do some yogic breathing exercises. One can also do some yogic asanas (posture) particularly shirshasana (standing on one's head). The breathing exercises and yogic asanas stimulate the nervous system and one becomes wakeful. This is essential for any spiritual practice such as contemplation, concentration or meditation. The breathing exercises take about a half hour after which I sit for contemplation, concentration and meditation. I do not always achieve a state of meditation.
These spiritual practices are very essential and important because they help us focus on our Beings and become conscious of the basis of the impulses that arise within our individual consciousness and what it is that is disturbing us and motivating us.
As part of the spiritual practice I consciously surrender all that arises within me i.e. what we consider good as well as bad, to the Divine. I also ask for help to perform the daily tasks in a spirit of humility and love.
Why it is important to surrender to the Divine and how to do so is explained in my book, "The Journey of Life Eternal." In brief, we must recognize that we are controlled and molded by whatever it is that we surrender to. If we surrender to alcohol and drugs we will be controlled and molded by them. If we surrender to hate and lies, we will be controlled and molded by hate. If we surrender to love and Truth i.e. the Divine, we will be controlled and molded by the Divine.
After completing the morning spiritual practice it is necessary to focus on the needs of the body. Why? Not just for health reasons which is good enough but for a more important reason. The body is the temple within which your soul lives. So we must treat the body with respect and work to achieve a balance between the Soul, mind and body. So if one has the time, one should do physical exercise in the morning failing which one should definitely do so at some point in the day i.e. during the lunch hour or in the evening before or after dinner.
After the morning routine of breathing exercises and meditation, I make some tea and listen to spiritual music. The music is usually flute or sitar and Hindu chants. I then read a couple of passages from Spiritual Scriptures. These can be scriptures of any religion but what I have readily available are Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Scriptures and Scripts received in states of Spiritual Meditation by Dr. Dinshah K. Mehta. The music and Scriptural passages help me get centered in Spirituality.
I then watch the morning news and start work around 7 a.m.
During the day after I have finished one task and before I begin another, I take a few minutes to surrender the completed task to the Divine and ask help to perform the next task with the basis of love. I repeat this process between tasks. The reason for taking the small prayer or surrender breaks is to replenish my Being with thoughts of Love and the Divine so that whatever I do is influenced positively by the Divine to the extent that I am open to receiving and being a channel of Love. Whatever is in the Spiritual is reflected in the material. To stay alive physically, it is important to constantly breathe. This is a reflection of the truth that in order to be spiritually awakened it is necessary to constantly remain in tune with the Divine at the level at which one is. Because many people do not have the discipline to do this, some religions have got rituals that require followers of the faith to pray several times a day. Thus the Zoroastrians and Muslims are required to stop work and pray five times a day. There are other rituals also that are designed to link the mind with the Divine during the course of the day.
Sometimes during the day, things happen which can cause me to react and get upset. So rather than react, I choose to act. When we react, we are not in control of the situation because we are reacting to an outside stimulus. When we act we are in control. So I make a conscious decision to act and not react. I also consciously choose to not get upset for reasons that may be obvious to some but not to others. Some people choose to get upset and throw tantrums in order to get their way. That is childish. When we get upset, we become tense and/or get a headache and/or cause others to become tense and upset. So nothing really good comes out of getting upset. No matter how bad a situation is, we can only make it worse if we get upset. So I strive to remain calm and not get upset. To remain calm, I become conscious of the Divine or as Jesus is said to have recommended, take my name. This helps my Being and so enables me to become calm and remain focused.
Rather than have two or three large meals a day, I eat just enough to curb my appetite and do not eat when I am not hungry. I generally have a small breakfast around 10 a.m.
Most of my meals consist of some protein, fats, lots of vegetables and carbohydrates in the form of crackers, or a slice of bread or rice. I vary the source of proteins from meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, nuts etc. and also vary the veggies. I generally consume around 2,000 calories a day. Sometimes with friends or at a party, I have wine or beer but generally I avoid alcohol not for any moral reasons but because alcohol lowers the level of our consciousness and thus interferes with meditation. It also makes one sluggish.
The secret to having a good day every day is simple. "Be good yourself. If you are good, you will be good and good will flow through you. Then you are sure to have a good day." If anyone speaks badly of you, live so none will believe it.
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD