I rise at 4 a.m. as do many monks in their cells around the world. I am grateful for another day to bring pleasure to God and to serve others with resources for their spiritual journeys.

I repeat a phrase from my Christian youth, "Rise, shine, give God Glory," as I make my way to the bathroom. The soothing darkness vanishes as I turn on the light. I pray that during this day, I may use my time and my talents to create as much light as I can through my words and deeds.

I sit down in a chair as I recite a gatha by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn: "Twenty-four hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at beings with eyes of compassion."

I slip into my slacks, close the belt, and put on my socks, shoes, and shirt. As I stand before the mirror I touch my head, shoulders, chest, stomach, groin, thighs, calves, and feet. As I do so, I pray: "May the loving touch of God heal my body, mind, and soul, sending me peace, love and happiness as I walk in the Spirit." I feel energized and refreshed by this daily body practice.

I walk to the end of our loft to feed our five cats. Two of them lead the way; the others emerge from their sleeping spaces to join us. This daily ritual is my first act of kindness toward others; I pray it will be just the first of many such kindnesses to come this day. The cats are so grateful that their purring sounds like a creative piece of improvised music.

While they eat, I prepare my breakfast of cereal topped with blueberries and flax. I bless all those who make it possible for me to enjoy such a healthy breakfast. As I take my morning meds, I thank the scientists who created these pills that help keep me going.

As I turn on my computer I ask God for the discipline and the wisdom to make the best use of this marvelous machine today. Sipping my first glass of water for the morning, I savor the pleasant feeling of the cold liquid streaming down my throat. Like the Native Americans do, I give thanks to the water for making its way to me and to my dry mouth.

My early morning routines complete, I realize how grateful I am to all the teachers from different traditions who model for me an everyday spirituality that singles out the body as an avenue of encounter and connection with the Great Spirit.

Next Post: My Teeth: Floss and Pray