Sunday, November 7, 2010

Early Morning Meditation

Peter's pony

An Indian friend of mine is interested in Zen Buddhism. He knows about meditation and other practices in India and tells me some ideas the Indians have about meditation. The other day we were talking about good times during the day to do zazen (zen meditation). He told me the Indians consider early morning to be the most auspicious time to do meditation. I don’t know if “most auspicious” means “best” in this case, but I think it probably does, or at least it means “very good”. Of course it’s nice to do meditation any time during the day, but the yogis in India seem to have noticed that there’s something particularly good about meditation in the early morning. My friend said they’ve even narrowed the most auspicious time down to between 4 am and 6 am.

That actually made sense to me. I’ve worked some jobs in the past where I used to have to get up around those times to go to work. Even though it was hard to get up that early (and it still is), I noticed there was something about going to work at that time that felt alright in some way. So recently I’ve been getting up earlier than usual to give early morning meditation a try and see if it feels any different. My impression so far is that it's a bit different alright. The zazen itself doesn’t feel too different when I'm doing it, although there’s a lot less noise about. I do notice, though, that I feel more active afterwards than I usually do, and the rest of the morning has a slightly different feel to it too. That’s so far anyway.

One thing I’m not sure about though is whether the “auspicious” time is between 4 am and 6 am for everyone all over the world, or whether it depends on where you live. My guess is that in most countries around daybreak might be an “auspicious” time  for meditation. But I might be wrong about that so I’m going to stick with the “between 4 am and 6 am” meditation for a while and see how it goes.

By the way, when I was back in Ireland during the summer we did a 3-day meditation retreat at a small center that’s right on the coast. We did some early morning meditation there. After the meditation we had time to walk down to the shoreline and look across the bay to the Clare hills. It was all calm and quiet. I grew up in that area, but never really noticed how nice it can be in the early morning there, in summer anyways.

So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t mind getting up a little early in the morning, then try a bit of early morning meditation some time. See if you notice a difference. 


  1. Hi Peter,

    Hope you're all well.

    I certainly feel that there is something about waking up early and sitting zazen before breakfast... but maybe that's just because it's so alien to me!

    The early morning outdoor kinhin was nice too in Galway. When I was up at the sesshin in Benburb Priory we did kinhin in the open air as the sun came up (it was winter time). The chill in the air was really invigorating, and it was nice to witness the world waking up so directly.

    Regards to all,


  2. Hi Peter,

    The time period (4 to 6 AM) is considered as the Brahma Muhurat(or the time of God in Sanskrit). It has been an established belief in Indian yogic tradition that any spiritul activity done in Brahma Muhurat brings faster and effective result than in any other period. What you experienced is just a testimony of the same.

  3. Hi Harry,

    That was a great spot for the outdoor kinhin. It was my first time to do it outside like that. Really enjoyed walking around there.

    Hope ye're all well,


  4. Hi Eklavya,

    Thanks for letting me know about the Brahma Muhurat. Interesting to know the yogic tradition considers it the time of God. Definitely something nice about that time of day.

    Best regards,

  5. Hi Peter,

    lovely post, thank you. Sometimes I woke up early to sit zazen and after that I'll go back to sleep. It's fun! When I was around 10 years old little kid, I enjoyed a lot of waking up early just to notice that I can still sleep many hours. Garfield did that so I gave it a try and man, it was fun. It's still fun!

    All the best, my friend.


  6. Hi Markus,

    That's a great story about waking up just to notice how much time you can still sleep for. I know there's a Buddhist message in there somewhere!

    All the best,


  7. Perhaps this has something to do with the natural human circadian rhythms?

  8. Hi Leoboiko,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I'd say it must have.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.