Have you ever heard the advice “Never go to bed angry”? I love that bit of wisdom. Not only does it bolster relationships, it helps to soothe a busy mind from ruminating on things not worth ruminating about. But you never hear advice about waking up angry.

I had that problem this morning. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

Recently I decided to get back into a habit of meditating every morning, so I set myself a goal to do at least 10 minutes every day for 50 days without breaking the chain. Today was day 32, and it was the first time that I had trouble with it.

Devoid of any grogginess, my head popped off the pillow with immediate clarity and single-minded anger. It was like I had just stormed off after an argument, still fuming with things left unsaid, still formulating the perfect debate. But, I didn’t leave an argument. I didn’t even have one the night before. Maybe I dreamed it.

That’s not to say I dreamed up the source of my anger. The problem is very real, but unimportant. It’s as impermanent as every other problem. I’m more worried about my response to it. For other problems, I try to change the things I can and accept the things I can’t. With the latter, I can only change my response. But how do I attempt to change the reaction of my sleeping subconscious?

Sure, 31 days of practicing meditation isn’t much. In time, I’m hopeful that I can quiet my mind after one of these incidents. More practice will allow me to view the source of my anger with acceptance instead of aversion. But that’s only reactive. For prescriptive change, I can try to be aware of potential triggers. More data will certainly help. I might learn that it correlates with worse sleep. Or maybe it’s a weekday only thing and that should warn me about my attitude at work. Or maybe I just haven’t been active enough.

Either way, the change will come in time. For now I simply have to get through the day, focus on what is truly important and valuable to me, and accept the way things are.