Stressors and stress can cause a man to despair of self-care! Another pitfall is getting caught in the traps set by marketers, “influencers,” “how-to” pundits, and fake guru-s.
Some men turn to a self-help book or a YouTube video hoping for a quick, automatic fix to everything from chronic stress, depression, to beer-belly.
Instead of focusing on Internet rubbish as the mainstay of your life, focus on your patterns and habits that you can transform to your benefit.
All of your habits probably come from what’s easy and effortless; they’re also usually destructive.
To develop good, beneficial habits, you need some guidance and discipline.
Good healthful habits come about in the same way that bad destructive ones do: through repetition and pattern formation, until the practice becomes automatic, a process called “automaticity.”
We are going to start with the basic building block of your life, the 24-hour day. Your day starts with waking up so our routine will start in the morning. You end your day with sleep so we end the routine at bedtime.
In order to attain automaticity or effortlessness, you have to be realistic and practical, and you’ll have to envision a daily routine that is natural for you and doable, no matter who you are or what you do, or where you are.
This article will give you a basic overview of how to create a Warrior Discipline routine that accommodates your nature, nurture, needs and necessities.
1. Warrior Morning
For most men, waking up is shock therapy. He wakes up to noxious voice of a radio announcer or to the harsh noise of an alarm.
Waking up becomes a fight-or-flight reaction when it should be a peaceful response.
He then turns to his smartphone to see what he’s missed in the world of sensation news or social media.
S3 follows, and then the stressor of getting to work “on time.” Add a significant other with his own needs and the scenario becomes orders of magnitude more complicated.
Morning should not be a stressor and greeting a new day should not be an ordeal. Not wanting to get up is an indicator of depression.
In that first hour of new life, you need to greet it as a cherished gift. In that first hour you need to breath, relax, and flow into the plan.
Wake up early. Rushing to get 15 things done in the first hour of the day sets you up for a day full of stress.
If you are in the habit of hitting snooze for an additional useless five minutes more in bed, you are avoiding the day! Think Why? you are doing that.
So wake up early and you can relax, take your time, and feel good about the day.
Besides, if you get into the habit of starting early, no one else is up and you have all that time to yourself.
Get in the habit of responding to the day rather than reacting to it.
You have your start and end points now: In order to rise early, you should go to bed early. Aim to be in bed and asleep by 10 p.m.
Greet the Sun: Suryanamaskar (सूर्यनमस्कार) and greet the day in motion. You live in an ocean of motion, a vibrating universe. Synchronize. Get up, breathe, stretch, meditate, S3, breakfast.
Physical exercise or a structured, focused 30-minute workout early has many benefits: it’s a powerful start to the day and floods the body with endorphins, you become more focused, aware, and peaceful. Work in 30 minutes of strength training after meditation.
2. Self-reflection & Meditation
What better time than early morning to focus the heart-mind, set your mindfulness attitude.
Early morning is ideal because there are fewer distractions. The health benefits of self-reflection and meditation are well-established; it makes no sense not to have some type of mindfulness practice. Start with 5 minutes and increase the time gradually.
3. Prioritize and focus
You may think you are prioritizing and focusing but you are deceiving yourself. Why? Because once you say, “I don’t have time…” in response to self-care, you are not prioritized or focused. The best time to prioritize for focus is in the early morning. Ask yourself a couple of questions like:
- “Where am I?” (Location)
- “Where do I want to go?” (Destination)
- “How do I want to get there?” (Itinerary)
- “Why do I want to do that? (Purpose/Meaning)
- “Now, where am I?”
- “How did I get here?”
That’s your so-called ‘bullet journal,’ and it will be the basis for your long-form journal.
Add your quick notes, habits you’re monitoring, meaningful quotes, perceptions and thoughts, and ideas and visions.
Write these down on a daily basis and use the morning to review, re-vision, and revise short-term and long-term goals.
Don’t go overboard and fall into the trap of overthinking and overorganizing; remember, flow is important but even a river needs a course.
Experiment and develop your own system, but I do strongly recommend writing things down; you’ll remember them, the mental work becomes tangible, and you’ll have something to refer to later. But it shouldn’t become a crutch.
4. Become a tāntric Stoic
There are a great many parallels in the teaching of homoerotic yogic Tantra (तन्त्र), Sanātanadharma (सनातनधर्म), and Western stoicism. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman stoic emperor (think: Serenity Prayer), could easily have been a homoerotic yogic Tantrika (तान्त्रिक), since his doctrines emphasized virtue, being in the present moment, equipoise, and equinamity.
“He who is the same to foe and friend, honor and dishonor, who is the same in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, and is without attachment, who holds blame and praise equal, silent, content with anything, without a home, of firm thought and full of devotion, to me, that man is dear to me”.
A Warrior Discipline early morning routine as practiced in our Tāntric disciplines, reflects the Graeco-Roman Stoics’ emphasis on the importance a of the early morning routine for establishing mental clarity and equanimity.
Marcus Aurelius had his own tāntric morning routine: he mentally prepared himself for his day with a clear mental state by introspection and practicing “contemptuous expressions,” what we call in homoerotic yogic Tantra (तन्त्र) svādhyāyā (स्वाध्याय) and viveka (विवेक)! He reminded himself to strip everything of its illusory appearance regardless of how alluring it may be and discern the reality beneath.
5. Give your day a theme
Reflect and meditate on that theme throughout the day; make it the day’s center.
Your theme may take the form of an intention or an affirmation, or it may be a theme from your morning meditation.
For example, if your morning meditation focused on clear discernment (viveka, विवेक) or compassion (karuṇā, करुणा).
Make that the background against which you enact the day’s events. Write it down on a 3×5 card or on post-it® stickies and refer to it throughout the day.
Regardless of how you remind yourself, ensure that it’s something that will make you feel centered and grounded.
OK. You’ve gotten through the day and it’s late afternoon or evening.
We’ll now focus on the Warrior Discipline Evening Routine. Evening is when you will wind down purposefully and meaningfully.
It doesn’t start with you reaching for the bourbon bottle or the corkscrew. In homoerotic yogic tantra (तन्त्र) we have a specific pattern for bringing the day to a close.
6. Review the day
Reflect on the events of the day, their meaning to you, why you feel they followed their course, how you responded, alternative responses, what went right, what you can do to improve, etc.
What will you want to reflect on in the morning to improve on the day to come. To whom are you grateful; whom do you want to forgive. Use your journal to memorialize your reflections.
There will always be unfinished business at the end of the day. Some of that business can be resolved by simply reviewing the issues and letting them go; other issues may be carried over.
Carry-over issues would include forgiveness and gratitude, and improvements.
There won’t be any urgent or vital business to carry over because you had already ingeniously prioritized the day’s business this morning, right?
Tying up loose ends doesn’t mean dumping on the next day; you’d only be setting yourself up for frustration and confusion.
Procrastination has no place in the Warrior Discipline.
While I advocate the use of checklists of to-do lists, I do not believe they should become a crutch.
At some point you will have developed your organizational pattern or habit and keen discernment and clear thinking that will automatically organize your day.
The most important part of your evening routine is to relax and let go in preparation for a fresh start in the morning.
Most men spend way too much time in the future, neglecting the moment, the Eternal Now.
Toxic conditioning and stereotypical behavior insist that a man find a way to organizing his time in to-do lists, priorities, time management, and projected effectiveness. That’s purest nonsense! An avoidable waste of precious time (= life).
If you are truly ‘organized’ you are in the moment and not somewhere in a dubious future time.
The time you spend writing down everything you have to do in a day, then, organizing it in a sequence and priority eats up enormous time and energy resources! Why is it a vainglorious effort? Because you can’t control the future! One miniscule event can obliterate hours of prior planning.
The only way to be at your best is to be natural, flow with the events, and be in the moment.
I realize that goes counter to everything you’ve ever been taught about how to be ‘successful’ but I’m redefining success for you: Success is realizing your potential in a natural flow, while avoiding stressors that serve only to fill you with self-doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, and stress.
Success is not striving for goals that may be attainable but are so fragile they can evaporate in an instant.
Success is not the five-bedroom, 5 ½ bath 20K square foot villa, nor the $1,000,000 nest egg you fought for only to end up lonely with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and a fancy funeral.
Take the time you’d otherwise be wasting surfing, searching, and watching, and use it for reading and study. Reading and learning exercise the brain and keep it healthy.
You’ll have different perceptions of life and new ways of seeing. You’ll learn about yourself and others.
A good book or a learning project does not mean exposing yourself to blue light on a phone or computer screen nor does it mean absorbing some best-selling pabulum on how-to or someone’s notion of how to improve yourself.
You already have what you need. As the mystic poet Rumi puts it, “What you seek is seeking you.” Let yourself be found.
7. End the day with silence and stillness
End your day with your journal, followed by self-reflection, meditation or a mindfulness session; clear your mind, center your heart, close your eyes, and enter your nidrā (निद्रा) state, your sleeping/dream state once again.
It’s easy to get caught up in tips or hacks from various “influencers” or “gurus”. Some men may even look for the answers in a book and hope that reading it automatically fixes their lives.
Instead of focusing on these hacks, “influencers,”or fake guru-s the quick fixes available to the lethargic mind and spirit as the guides for your life, focus on your own habits.
Your intentional good habits come down to a strong and powerful routine. With strong morning and evening routines, you will build the foundation to kick ass and take names no matter who you are or what you do.
I hope that this article has given you a basic overview of how to create a routine that suites you and your needs and tastes.
8. Sample Daily Schedule
Unless you are a monk, I don’t expect anyone to adhere absolutely to a schedule, I am including it to only to give you an idea of what a structured day might look like.
|Example of a Warrior Discipline Daily Routine|
|05:00||Leap out of bed and start the day (S3)|
|05:15 – 05:30||Meditation|
|5:30 – 05:45||Stretching|
|5:45 – 06:00||Personal Hygiene|
|6:00 – 06:30||Mindful breakfast|
|08:00 – 9:45||Start of workday|
|09:45 – 10:00||Break; Outdoors activity|
|10:00 – 11:00||Check email, messages, etc.|
|11:00 – 11:45||Job activities|
|11:45 – 12:00||Preparation of afternoon activities|
|12:00 – 12:30||Light miday mindful meal|
|12:30 – 13:00||Sitting meditation or walking meditation|
|13:00 – 14:00||Job activities|
|14:00 – 14:15||Break; silence-stillness practice|
|15:00 – 16:45||Job activities|
|16:45 – 17:00||Preparation of job activities for next day|
|18:00 – 19:00||Mindful preparation of and enjoyment of evening meal|
|19:00 – 20:00||Relaxation (film, music, etc.). Avoid intellectual or stimulating activity.|
|20:00 – 21:30||Journalling|
|21:45 – 22:00||Self – reflection/Meditation|