Often, the mood that we wake up with has the capacity to set the tone for the day. It can almost act like an unconscious intention: a direction set and followed. Indeed, when I’ve been in ill humour, I’ve often been asked ‘Who put salt in your corn flakes this morning?’ or heard the phrase ‘Someone got out of the wrong side of the bed’. Equally, whenever I’ve had a skip in my step, the mention of the ‘right side of the bed’ has been made.
Rob Nairn explains that familiarity of the mind and its states or moods is one of the four foundations of “knowing what is happening, while it happening, no matter what it is” (i.e. Mindfulness). Moreover, he goes on to state that these moods can set the stage or “form a background” for how we relate with our internal and external environments as we go about our day.
However, the thing about moods is that they change. And they change on their own volition. So, they might feel like they spontaneously arise in response to interactions with family members, co-workers, friends, or perhaps in relation to a message received (either good or bad), or maybe a food we’ve eaten, or an unexpected arrival or a disappointment. But, they also change and alter just as quickly and with just as many variants.
By paying attention to our moods or which side of the bed we’ve gotten up from, we can start to become familiar with our minds and all of the different conditions that affect our actions and reactions to living. This knowledge can then create space around our experience, so that we might begin to respond more skilfully to all that is happening around us.
This week’s challenge is called ‘Which Side of the Bed?’ and asks us to touch in with the mood that we start our day with, and then seeing if we can notice any transformations in our mood as we move about. We might do this within a three-minute breathing space, or during our sitting meditation (if we sit in the morning), or perhaps just simply taking three mindful breaths as we wake and asking ourselves the question ‘What is my mood in this moment?’ and seeing what arises. As we begin to explore our mood, we might like to check in for any feelings of preference or thoughts such as ‘I like this mood and want to stay with this’ or ‘I don’t like this mood, how can I transform it?’ Then, seeing if we can simply let go and allow whatever mood that is present to simply be.
We can then see if we can notice how our mood might affect our actions, reactions and ultimately how we respond to all that we face as our moments unfold before us.
Let us know how you get on!