Morning Gatha

Feb 2, 2014


Yoga thought for the day: Surfing the web, I’ve found oodles of quotes about living in the moment, approaching each day as if it were your last, making the most of every day, and related themes. My absolute favorite of these is this short and eloquent verse:


Waking up 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 (b.1926, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist)

What I like about this gatha, this verse, is that it assumes that a day well spent would assortee Feb 4th 025necessarily include the quality of my interaction with others. The quality of my day is not just about my self, but about others. And not just other people, but “all beings.”

I also like that the thought of the new day first thing upon waking makes me smile – makes me happy. Even if on a particular day there may be things I am not looking forward to, or even possibly dreading, if I can start the day from this place of delight, it’s bound to be a better day than if I cannot. Each day is a gift. But I have to want to believe it, and then I have to believe it, and I have to do that before any negative thoughts have a chance to be the welcome wagon for my day.

I like the word “vow” in this gatha. This word choice gives the verse some weight. I’m not just going to “try” or “aspire.” I vow. I am serious about this. I solemnly pledge.

And finally what I like about this gatha is that each and every morning I have twenty-four brand new hours to take this vow, to make this happen – to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion. Not just occasionally during the day, but “in each moment.”

If I decide that it’s worth it to cultivate this kind of present attention in each moment, this kind of awareness, compassion and kindness, then I must practice.  Through all my thoughts, words and actions, throughout the day.  And with that, it’s time for breakfast!

muffins and marmelade 006

breakfast muffin with triple citrus marmaladechutney and cookies 004

pineapple, orange and cranberry-apple sauce compote

Being Ourselves in the Present Moment

Yoga thought for the day: “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”

“One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem. The point is to see it.”

– Pema Chodron, excerpted from The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving Kindness (Shambhala 2010)

Last week I offered some teachings about meditation, and I return to the subject of meditation this week, having come across these passages by Pema Chodron, ordained nun, author and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.  Her incisive and insightful words remind me that my meditation practice, like my asana practice, is my own. It’s not a question of doing it right or doing it wrong. It’s just about doing it – for me and because I want to – every morning.

I also return to the subject of cookies, because . . .  Well, because cookies are so much darn fun. There are so many possibilities, and lately I’ve been on a roll with rolled cookies (made from a stiffer dough that is rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter). Just one little cookie can enliven our tastebuds and put a smile on our face. My cookie practice is also very much my own practice, as I play with different forms and colors, shapes and sizes.