Waking up early is a rare good habit people have nowadays when they spend all their nights surfing their mobile or watching TV for no good reason. I think it is utmost important to inculcate this habit as a spiritual aspirant so that we have a different and a better life than other people. I am writing this article from my experience from being a 7 am riser to 4 30 riser.
Also, I would like to mention this, from my experience. 6 hours of sleep is enough to refresh the body and mind. And there nothing worse than sleeping during the day out of habit, it is just a waste of human life.
I used to wake up at 7 and be ready by 8, but since I started waking up 4 30, by 7 I am already done with my reading, sweeping, wiping the floor and listened half an hour of spiritual lectures, while the old me had just got up. So comparatively, I have done enough for my soul, that the rest of the day can be spent in completing temple business and other spiritual activities, and for a householder, he can continue on his job etc.
Waking up early is a lifestyle we need to choose and inculcate!
One thing is clear for both the persons, a householder or saint, both have to take out time for themselves and their liberation out their own life, and waking up early and doing some spiritual activity regularly is the only option that will help them.
The Benefits of Waking Up early:
- Mental fitness
One very significant benefit of waking up early is reduced stress level. When you rise early, it eliminates the need to rush in the morning. You can then start your day on an optimistic note and such positivity often stays with you throughout the day.
- Better sleep quality
Early risers often go to bed early. Getting up early is not something that should be followed irregularly but it needs to be established as a routine in your life. This translates into better sleep quality as your body’s internal clock adapts to your new sleep routine.
- Bigger scores
A research conducted by Texas University has identified that students who were early risers scored better grades than those who were late to rise. Their GPAs were higher than the latter. One can link it to an enhanced productivity and quality of sleep.
- Brighter world
Getting up early instils you with positivity. A research has suggested that people who got up early were happier, not just for a short duration but overall in life.
Some inspiring people who wake up early:
1. Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The 55-year-old CEO is known to be the first one to enter the office and the last to leave – a fact he takes pride in. Those who work with him are habitual of receiving emails from him at 4.30 in the morning.
2. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
For someone who is responsible for waking up an entire generation with aromatic coffee, the day has to start early. The Starbucks CEO is said to start work at the office by 6 a.m. Some of us are not even midway through our sleep by that time.
3. Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey
The CEO of Twitter and Square, 38-year-old Jack Dorsey, has worked hard his way up. He has literally burnt the midnight oil to look after his two companies. In an interview, he mentioned he devoted 8 to 10 hours to Twitter and another 8 to 10 to Square every day. It is anybody’s guess he was left with little time (around 5 hours) for sleep.
4. Disney CEO Bob Iger
The Disney’s head has confessed to waking up at 4.30 a.m. and utilizing the morning time to exercise, read newspapers, listen to music, and check his emails. Life’s no fairytale, not even for the creators of fairytales.
5. Former US President George W Bush
Despite the (in)famous foot-in-mouth syndrome, Former President George Bush was a stickler for discipline. He would begin office as early as 6.45 a.m. Apparently, the habit ran in the family; his father, HW Bush, woke at 4 a.m. and was in office by 6 a.m… The day ended at 2 a.m. usually.
6. Narendra Modi
The 63-year-old Indian prime minister is known to be a workaholic. It is believed he hardly sleeps for more than 3-4 hours in a day. When you have a country to run, sleep is a trivial concern.
7. Shah Rukh Khan
King Khan of Bollywood is known to sleep for a mere 4 hours. So habitual is he of the short nap that now he cannot sleep for more than 4 hours, despite which the man is never low on energy.
8. Richard Branson
The Virgin Atlantic tycoon is a surprise entry in this list. Given his flamboyant lifestyle, one would think he would start his day well afternoon. But the successful businessman gets up as early as 5.45 a.m. even when he is lounging at his jazzy private island. Keeping a balanced head on your shoulders in the face of success and fame is something not everybody can do.
9. Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi
The much celebrated Pepsi CEO, who is often ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women, is a light sleeper. She gets up at 4.30 a.m. and is not exactly an early sleeper either.
10. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior
They say women are better managers. Warrior proves it with her highly efficient work schedule. She gets up at 4.30 a.m., works out, checks emails, reads the news, and readies her son for school, before heading out for office. Success doesn’t come cheap.
How to Become an Early Riser?
- Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
- Allow yourself to sleep earlier. You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed. If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
- Put your alarm clock far from your bed. If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.
- Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day.
- Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.
- Have a good reason. Set something to do early in the morning that’s important. This reason will motivate you to get up. The best reason to wake up early is mention ahead in the Spiritual perspective below.
- Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.I like to listen to kirtans or spiritual lectures in the morning, so I do that along with sweeping and wiping the temple. I also like reading and researching scriptures, so I do that in the morning and prepare my articles in the morning!
- Take advantage of all that extra time. Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump-start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on preparing my kids’ lunches, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my MIT), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.
The spiritual perspective :
There is an important spiritual reason to wake up early. The reason is that early morning is a good time to meditate. The mind is usually free of thoughts. And the atmosphere is also silent during the early morning. It allows us to concentrate on our meditation.
The Brahma muhurat is pious and pure and it gives the spiritual aspirant to concentrate more. Moreover, it is practical to be done with your spiritual practices before the day has begun. As we rarely have time to practice spirituality during the day when we are surrounded our worldly responsibilities.
There is another reason why waking up early helps us spiritually. We tend to sleep early at night, we have that conscious feeling of waking up early in the back of our mind so we will not fool around on internet or TV or for any other reason at night. This stops us so many unwanted activities spiritually like Useless chitchatting, unwanted binge-watching etc.
The time that we get in the morning should be used for spiritual purposes like meditation, listening to lectures or to go the temple early for seva, reading scriptures or singing kirtans etc. This is the most important reason to wake up early. If we look at the lives of above mentioned “successful people” in their material field, they have achieved because they did something extraordinary to reach where they are.
We, as spiritual aspirants, is our duty to wake early and get done with our daily chores and indulge in spiritual activities before the day has begun so that we get habituated in our younger days, and we can continue this habit in our retirement days. The reason to inculcate spirituality in our daily routine is that we do not know when we are going to die, if we inculcate spirituality in our routine, we will be nourishing our soul, our fundamental self which is most important than any other thing, along with completing the other secondary responsibilities of our body, family and friends.
We need to have a purpose of waking up early, and what better purpose can it be other than Bhakti and realizing God?
Lord Swaminarayan on waking up early:
प्रत्यहं तु प्रबोद्धव्यं पूर्वमेवोदयाद्रवेः ।
विधाय कृष्णस्मरणं कार्यः शौचविधिस्ततः ॥ Shikshapatri 49
All my followers shall wake up early in the morning before sunrise; meditate Lord Krishna for a while; attend to the call of nature and brush the teeth sitting in a clean place, take bath with clean water; put on two washed clean clothes.
प्रणम्य राधाकृष्णस्य लेख्यार्चां तत आदरात् ।
शक्त्या जपित्वा तन्मन्त्रं कर्तव्यं व्यावहारिकम् ॥Shikshapatri 54
Then all males or females shall offer mental worship to Shree Krishna. They shall bow down with devotion before the idol or the picture of Radha – Krishna; and chant the Krishna Mantra as far as their time allows. Then they may go to attend
to their secular duties.
Lord Swaminarayan in his Shikshapatri shlokas 49 to 54 mentions the daily rituals of his devotees. And He begins by asking his devotees to wake up before sunrise, remember God and then go for your daily activities.
He suggested a few things which naturally incline to divinity and God. He promoted the personal worship of Go with each member of the house having his own personal pooja and therefore a personal relationship with God.
It all comes down to having a reason to wake up early, and I feel that self-liberation should be the biggest motivation for waking up early. I understand that a daily pooja ritual might not be possible for everyone, but I think waking up early and doing some exercise and read some spiritual scriptures and listening to spiritual lectures and gaining knowledge about the fundamental self and God is the ultimate reason to wake up early, with the bonus of our material life becoming better.
- Importance of women waking up early
Slowly and steadily, it has become a rarity that the female in the home who get up early. The Vedic lifestyle suggests that women should wake up early. The reason for that is, that women have a responsibility of taking care of the whole home. She is known as the homemaker. If they wake up early and engage in devotion, the atmosphere of the house becomes divine and such divinity is inculcated in children naturally.
As it is you spend your life for others, what about your soul? By the time anyone wakes up, you have got time for yourself and your soul. My grandma used to wake up early and prepare breakfast for everyone after she was done with her pooja. Singing Kirtans in morning is an amazing way of devotion in morning, it makes the home divine.