The importance of Rituals in meditation practice


If asked there are many who would claim that we live in a modernised society, built on science and logic. They may be surprised to find out that actually, we are a population whose daily movements are often products of rituals. We are not just referring to those of us who follow a specific religion and will be familiar with certain rituals and practices – so where else would you find rituals in today’s Western society? Although it may not be evident to us, it is safe to assume that even the non-religious among us practise rituals every single day. And what’s more, rituals can be used to improve our meditation routines. But before we delve into this topic, let’s provide a brief overview of what we mean when we talk about β€˜rituals’.

The history of rituals

Rituals have been used throughout history to mark moments of great significance, and although the actual identification of which moments are worth marking and which are not is relative to the specific temporal and geographic placement of the society in question, it is a consistent trait of all cultures and groups that they will form rituals. If the term rituals is feeling a bit alien to you, try to think in terms of traditions, or ceremonies. 

Across history, rituals have often been part of religious practices, ways to bond as a social group, opportunities to fulfil a spiritual need, ways of marking momentous occasions, or all of the above. They can often be found surrounding moments of transition, or as a way of expressing a belief that something is vitally important or sacred. Some examples that might spring to the forefront of your mind upon hearing the word β€˜ritual’ could be ritual sacrifices of animals in Ancient Egyptian times or even humans in Aztec societies. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that this is an extremely outdated view of what a ritual must entail. Thankfully our rituals no longer involve the same kind of gruesome features; in a more modern context, your mind may actually have been drawn to the practice of a morning or evening ritual, like a bath before bed or a morning cup of tea or coffee.

Our brains and rituals

It is clear that no matter where you look across human history, you will always be able to find a group of people conducting some form of ritualistic act. Rituals behave as a sort of social cement, binding us all together under common interpretations of the world around us. 

The question still remains – why as human beings we are drawn, time and time again to the formation of rituals in our societies?

Rituals are for all intents and purposes, habits. When we repeat actions, words or thoughts they become learned behaviours and our brains begin to expect them. Consider the act of zipping up your coat. This is an action that you have repeated so many times in your life that you don’t even have to think about it. When something becomes a habit, we get a sense of satisfaction upon completing it – this is due to a release of dopamine in our brains. Therefore, our brains, which are pre-disposed to order exist in expectation of the completion of certain habitual actions, and we get a boost of dopamine when this need is fulfilled. 

This fact provides us with a guide on how to create happiness using rituals. Of course, these must be rituals that serve us in a positive way. For example, we cannot form a habit of scrolling on our phones so that this becomes our evening ritual and expect to find joy in the completion of this task every night. This is why meditation is a great source of opportunities to create daily rituals that will both provide us with a release of dopamine when they are completed, but also a general increase in our well-being.

Rituals and meditation

It is really important to bring rituals into your meditation routine; not only do rituals give you the opportunity to create habits but they are also unique in their ability to ground you in a specific moment. So how can we create rituals in our meditation routines? If you already have a meditation routine then there are a few things you can add to it, or if you have the intention to start meditating then here are some tips to keep in mind while you curate your routine.

Dedicate a space to meditation

When you come to participate in your formal practice, it is always a good idea to have some consistency in where you practise. This space will then become sacred to your practice. As well as choosing a space to dedicate to meditation, you can also furnish that space in a specific way before you practise. For instance, light some candles, burn incense, or play music to make your space feel like it was made for meditation. 

Meditation clothes

This one may sound a little far-fetched, but having clothes that you dedicate to meditation can be a great help in putting you in the right frame of mind to practise. If you know that a certain top is dedicated to wearing during your meditation sessions then even the act of changing out of your work clothes and into your specific meditation clothes can be considered a ritual.

Have mindful breaks

A ritual that you can practise regularly throughout the day is a mindful break. Set an alarm on your phone at regular intervals, this could be at five minutes to the hour and take some time to reflect on your breathing, how your mind feels and try to realign yourself with the current moment.

Meditate at set times

As well as meditating in set places, it is also useful to meditate at set times. Your brain will come to expect this routine and gain a sense of fulfilment when it is completed. Select a time that will always be available to you, maybe before eating breakfast, or before you go to bed.

Rewards

Finally, you can reward yourself whenever you complete a meditation session. This could be with a cup of tea, an episode of your favourite TV show, or any other act of self-care. By doing this you will not only be setting up a ritual surrounding your meditation practice, but you will also be taking advantage of your brains understanding of rewards.

These are only a few general tips, there are many other things you can do to make your meditation ritual personal and unique to you. I encourage you to try to incorporate at least one ritual into your routine and notice the sense of satisfaction and clarity this brings you. Rituals play on our brains love of routine and structure, so utilise this to establish a lasting relationship with meditation and to create moments in your day when you can feel great about fulfilling a need by participating in a ritual.

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We find ourselves in our own world a lot of the time & lost in thought, even when talking to our loved ones, friends and colleagues. πŸ’­

Mindful communication involves applying the principles of mindfulness to the way we communicate with each other, labelling our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to enhance our awareness. 

By being mindful about how we interact with others, we can become more empathetic, compassionate, and honest. πŸ’—

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/mindful-communication/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #dailycalm #mindfulcommunication #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation We find ourselves in our own world a lot of the time & lost in thought, even when talking to our loved ones, friends and colleagues. πŸ’­

Mindful communication involves applying the principles of mindfulness to the way we communicate with each other, labelling our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to enhance our awareness. 

By being mindful about how we interact with others, we can become more empathetic, compassionate, and honest. πŸ’—

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/mindful-communication/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #dailycalm #mindfulcommunication #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation
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If you want to be happy, practice compassion. πŸ€—

#quote #quoteoftheday #quotestoliveby #motivation #inspiration #inspirationquotes #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 😊

If you want to be happy, practice compassion. πŸ€—

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One of the first steps you need to take in order to begin enjoying the simple pleasures in life is to slow down. 😊

Take a moment to stop what you are doing. 🚫

1️⃣ Draw your attention to your breath (this will ground you in the current moment).

2️⃣ Notice your breath entering and leaving your body.

3️⃣ Next, firmly plant your feet on the ground and draw your attention to this sensation.

4️⃣ Keep your attention and awareness directed at the breath or your feet on the ground, any time it moves away draw it back with patience.

5️⃣ Continue on with your day. 

This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your life, you are simply making sure that your awareness is directed at the current moment. πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ

#presentmoment #selfawareness #innerwork #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment #emotionalintelligence #wellbeing #wanderingmind #quietthemind #meditationsoul #livinginthenow  #calmthemind #livemindfully #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #mindfulness One of the first steps you need to take in order to begin enjoying the simple pleasures in life is to slow down. 😊

Take a moment to stop what you are doing. 🚫

1️⃣ Draw your attention to your breath (this will ground you in the current moment).

2️⃣ Notice your breath entering and leaving your body.

3️⃣ Next, firmly plant your feet on the ground and draw your attention to this sensation.

4️⃣ Keep your attention and awareness directed at the breath or your feet on the ground, any time it moves away draw it back with patience.

5️⃣ Continue on with your day. 

This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your life, you are simply making sure that your awareness is directed at the current moment. πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ

#presentmoment #selfawareness #innerwork #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment #emotionalintelligence #wellbeing #wanderingmind #quietthemind #meditationsoul #livinginthenow  #calmthemind #livemindfully #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #mindfulness
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Whether it's sport, writing, drawing or even cleaning, flow states are a great reminder that mindful living doesn't always mean regular deep meditation - mindfulness is everywhere. πŸƒ

Read more ➑️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #mindfulliving Flow states are moments when you are deeply connected & engaged in an activity, and therefore living in the present moment. 🧘

Whether it's sport, writing, drawing or even cleaning, flow states are a great reminder that mindful living doesn't always mean regular deep meditation - mindfulness is everywhere. πŸƒ

Read more ➑️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

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These types of breathwork include the Wim Hof Method, the 5-3-3 technique, and β€˜Breath of Fire’. πŸ”₯

Energising breathwork practice is far more healthy than using caffeine or sugar to liven yourself up. πŸ₯€

So put down that cup of coffee, and give the incredible power of breathwork for energy a go. πŸ’ͺ

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The art of effortless meditation is about stopping the search for "more" and instead focusing on what you already have. Stop worrying or waiting for something greater than what's happening right now. πŸ’—

Wu Wei closely relates to the goal of effortless action. ✨

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

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Doing what's best for others is the same as doing what's best for yourself. ✨

This can be practiced through Tonglen Meditation, which helps cultivate an inner peace of mind by extending compassion towards others. πŸ™

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #tonglenmeditation #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #dailycalm We understand selfishness as lacking consideration for others and being concerned only with personal gain and pleasure, yet doing the things which contribute towards a genuinely happy and meaningful life, can be intelligently selfish. 

Doing what's best for others is the same as doing what's best for yourself. ✨

This can be practiced through Tonglen Meditation, which helps cultivate an inner peace of mind by extending compassion towards others. πŸ™

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #tonglenmeditation #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #dailycalm
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#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #inevitablechange Change is inevitable. It is important to focus on our relationship to change, one of the certain elements of life. πŸ’­

To move with the fluctuation of life, change has to be embraced. We can choose to swim with the tide, or against it. 🧘

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #inevitablechange
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#quoteoftheday #quote #quotestoliveby #mindfulness #meditation #mindfulmeditation #livinginthemoment #quietthemind #mindfulmoment #livinginthenow #selfawareness #inspirationquotes #inspiration #innerpeace There is so much more to life, so much to experience when we simply notice. Don't let life pass you by, be present and be human. πŸ’—

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Slow down and appreciate the small things in life. This can lead to an overall feeling of contentment day-to-day. 

Write down three things you are grateful for every night before bed, and watch your life transform as you train your mind to see the positive in each moment. β˜•οΈ

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It’s important to follow some practical steps when seeking to achieve an intentional life. πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

Start by making more Towards moves, and less Away moves. Towards moves are healthy habits that align with the sort of person we want to be. πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈ

Away moves are ineffective and unhelpful; they hook us to difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviours. πŸ˜”

Consciously implementing intentional living can help reproduce more towards moves. πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

πŸ”΄ mindowl.org/intentional-living

#mindfulness #happiness #inspiration #intentionalliving #lifestyle #wellbeing #selfcare #mindfulmoment #presentmoment #innerwork #learn #practice #calmthemind #peacefulness #groundyourself It’s important to follow some practical steps when seeking to achieve an intentional life. πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

Start by making more Towards moves, and less Away moves. Towards moves are healthy habits that align with the sort of person we want to be. πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈ

Away moves are ineffective and unhelpful; they hook us to difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviours. πŸ˜”

Consciously implementing intentional living can help reproduce more towards moves. πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

πŸ”΄ mindowl.org/intentional-living

#mindfulness #happiness #inspiration #intentionalliving #lifestyle #wellbeing #selfcare #mindfulmoment #presentmoment #innerwork #learn #practice #calmthemind #peacefulness #groundyourself
Tonglen meditation is a type of ancient practice focused on compassion. It is a type of visualisation that enhances feelings of compassion towards others. 😌

The word Tonglen is Tibetan for "sending and taking" which is exactly what this practice aims to do. It allows you to focus on the wellbeing of others, stepping away from the usual self-centred approach of our busy daily lives. πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ

Follow this exercise to cultivate the power of Tonglen Meditation. 

Find out more ➑️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

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