Below is a list of rules to live by that Zen master Soyen Shaku set for himself and lived by each day. We can have our own set of “principles” so when we fault we at least know that we must strive and come back. Monotony is a great tool to tame the mind and a rigorous schedule can put off the mind to the point of boredom. Remember, if you don’t put the mind to rest it will make you run after its demands which are by the way a hundred a minute..
1. In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate
2. Retire at a regular hour
3. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction
4. Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests
5. Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it
6. When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting
7. Do not regret the past. Look to the future
8. Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child
9. Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep
10. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes
Here is a beautiful explanation of the idea by Om Swami from a Zen Meditation camp I had attended in the Himalayas.