Navigation assistance for the long dark morning routine of the soul
April 12, 2019 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend recordings (and/or podcasts) of devotions or meditations that would be suitable for a morning routine.

Apparently my anxiety likes to hit around 7:30am, when, while attempting to get my executive-dysfunctional self out the door in under an hour, I distract myself from the concerns of the upcoming day by ruminating upon events from my childhood, interpersonal relationships, current events, moral questions, and similar things. Once I'm fully awake, I'm fine-- I can break out of negative thinking cycles pretty well. But I continually have difficulty doing so first thing in the morning, and it usually adds up to an hour to the grind of getting ready because I'll be sitting there too worked up over, say, migrant labor conditions to put on my second sock. I don't check the news or social media in the morning anymore, which has definitely helped but not fixed the problem. Attempting to read something doesn't do much for my current needs; I've tried it and I just end up late because I'm still reading. But I think a devotional series or guided meditations that I can listen to as I get ready would be effective, since it would take me out of my own head just enough to keep moving. I've never listened to anything of the sort as a recording before, although I have positive experiences with the same in-person during retreats and classes. So, any recommendations?

Preferably, no: yelling super-energized aggressive tone or content, inspirational-aspirational success-oriented message, loud music, fundamentalist evangelical jargon, reflecting on the day (unless it's the upcoming day), anything excessively self-oriented.

Preferably, some: calming instrumental music if any, natural speaking voice, slow-to-moderate pace, religious or philosophical content with some meat to it, questions for reflection with silence to reflect, helpful preparation for a contemplative day in which mindfulness and compassion for others is emphasized.
posted by notquitemaryann to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if this is your jam or not, but this is what helps me get out of bed and "set a positive intention" for the day (and also get a little out of my own head...). I used an app called Insight Timer and have this eight minute, very calm meditation about rededicating myself to goodness. Just that I'll try to be a good person, help other people, right wrongs and put in a little effort. At the end of the day, hopefully the world was a little better because I was alive. There's a little poem at the end which speaks to the "great spirit" but it's not otherwise religious. You have to get the app which is free and if this isn't something that works for you, there are a lot of others to try. I literally roll over, turn on the lights and turn this on.
posted by jessamyn at 9:15 AM on April 12, 2019 [7 favorites]

For a while I've had an app on my phone called Insight Timer, which I used to create a timer for my own meditations with some chimes inserted at various points to go along with a written meditation I used. Just two weeks ago, when I had some extra bad life stress going on, did I even pay any attention to their library of meditations, of which lots are free (there is a premium version of the app with more content). They've got both spoken meditations and music only, and you can search by topic, rating, length.

At first I was only using their sleep meditations, but this week I've been getting up a few minutes early, NOT getting on social media to check the daily hellscape, and sitting by a window as the sun comes up to do one, sometimes two or three, short-ish meditations. I've been browsing the tag "focus" and picking high-rated ones. They tend to be breath and affirmation-focused.

I've been really pleased, it's been a surprisingly good week.

(on preview: Jinx, Jessamyn)
posted by Lyn Never at 9:36 AM on April 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

Open Air is a podcast by American Zen teacher Cheri Huber. People call in to talk with Cheri about what they're seeing in their practice. It's calm and conversational in tone. I listen to it in the morning while getting ready and find it leaves me in a much better headspace than if I were to listen to music or news.

The show is on once a week, on Tuesdays, and the website has the recordings from the 17 years it's been running.
posted by Lexica at 11:10 AM on April 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I often recite this Buddhist sutta. If it speaks to you, there are recordings of it being chanted on YT, though I haven't listened to them and can't recommend a particular one.
posted by kokaku at 3:16 PM on April 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think Tara Brach fits the bill here. She has a great podcast or you can get Archives here:
Tara Brach.

From the About Page:
Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.

Bonus points for soothing voice and lots of meditative type prompts during the episodes.
posted by jopreacher at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2019

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