"Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monks wake up every morning, at approximately 4 a.m. while the stars are still out and the world appears to be peacefully sleeping.
Although this might sound shockingly early to some, it is widely believed that people who regularly practice meditation require far less sleep than the average eight hours.
The monks wash and refresh before settling down to think in depth about their motivation, which is known as bodhicitta. This is the setting for an authentic open heart and mind and the hope that all sentient beings will one day be free from suffering.
Usually, the monks then spend approximately one to three hours focusing on deep breathing while meditating. They pay particular attention to chanting mantras as our voice carries very powerful vibrations that are essential for the manifestation of mantras. They also focus on the motivation they have set the intention for, which is to practice compassion, loving-kindness and to remind themselves to use their thoughts, words and actions to benefit others.
Not many of us will have time to dedicate hours to meditation, although even if our practice is only 10-30 minutes we will find we are better are able to remain in the present moment throughout the rest of the day.
To prepare for meditation we can place.................