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Beginning the day with spiritual practice

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The ways of the modern world can make it seem difficult do dedicate some quality time in the morning for some type of spiritual practice, like chanting "japa" or the soft repetition of the Hare Krishna mantra on beads, or other types of meditation.

For those of us who lived in a Temple ashram as a single person for a number of years, we developed the habit of rising early for morning worship, devotional singing, japa, engaging in Temple service, and hearing scripture. Never the less, when we married, and had to work in the world, and take care of a family, home, car, and all that goes with those things, it was an adjustment to continue our spiritual practices. So what to speak of those of you who are new to Krishna consciousness or any other spiritual path, who are attending school or college, or who have demanding jobs and family responsibilities. For spiritual practitioners of all varieties, having a balanced life is essential, as is learning to "be in the world, while knowing you are not of it, spiritually", or you are a soul having a human experience.

Still you can learn how those who spent many years in spiritual practice had to do, even without having the training they had. In essence, my "job" at this stage of my life is to share my practical experience of how Krishna consciousness is relevant to living in the so-called modern world, and how you can practice it in your personal world. And if you are another spiritual path some of the same things apply--and you can take what does, while leaving the rest.

When we moved into "the world" (scary music please, but it was difficult) away from the structure of the Temple and ashrama, we really had to understand the "spirit" of our sadhana (rules of Bhakti-yoga), or how to serve the principles we learned so we could at least maintain our Krishna consciousness, and even make advancement (some devotees didn't do that very well). That means that although our practices were now in our home or at our job, we would have to practice, "seeing" or "sensing" or "feeling" or thinking about Krishna's presence in all types of situations and environments, that on the surface seemed to have nothing to do with Krishna or spirituality.

That is actually what Krishna consciousness is all about. The basic principle of KC is to always remember God or Krishna and never forget him. The best way to do that is to love him. So we are on the path of knowing Krishna so we can love him. As the old American songs says, "Getting to know you, is getting to love you."

So back to the idea of starting your day with spiritual practice. Although there are no hard and fast rules for chanting or praying, it is universally experienced and recommended in the scriptures that the early morning hours are most conducive for our spiritual practices. For most people this will be possible with some adjustments to their life---in the spirit of, "Where there is a will there is a way". If something is important to you, you will make the time for it. Our necessity rules our life.

I have a personal saying that "TOMORROW BEGINS TONIGHT".

In others words you can use your alloted waking hours in many ways. If you want to be up early in the morning then you have to go to bed early. I realize that this can be challenging, since as I mentioned--and you know well--the world is not set up to facilitate this. Still it is possible.

Even 30 minutes or an hour spent chanting Hare Krishna, reading Bhagavad-Gita, praying etc. in the morning before the challenges of the day have to be dealt with, can make a huge difference. And if you absolutely can't get up any earlier, then make some time during the day or evening.

Think about what is important to you.

Most of us earn money, and would like more. I think I can safely say that if you knew that by doing a certain activity in the morning or whenever, you could make a lot of money you would most likely figure out a way to do it.

If we can understand that our real identity is a spiritual being and that at present we are spiritually bankrupt, then we will want change that condition. We could compare spiritual practices to a type of currency which nourishes our soul, or puts "money" in our spiritual bank account. Our soul needs spiritual food or spiritual money for nourishment. If we don't receive this type of soul nourishment then we will never feel satisfied however well we attend to our material duties.

Somehow or other take time every day to nourish your soul---ideally in the morning and hopefully throughout the day, but make time for the real you, the soul, and getting closer to our real friend, Go, or the Supreme Father, Mother etc, Shri Radha-Krishna (all relationship in this world have their origin the spiritual world with God as the basis and center).