How many of you dabbled with meditation and then quit? Even if you were getting benefits? I don’t judge – it’s easy to fall out of positive habits. Whether it’s eating right, exercising, reading or delving into pleasant states of trance, life can distract you from your intentions.
This is why, if you’re new to meditation, I recommend creating a meditation ritual.
Habits and rituals are similar creatures. Maybe a habit is showering and getting dressed each morning, whereas a ritual is more complex. If you ignore the surface flourishes, they both boil down to the same process. You perform predictable actions to get predictable results.
Your morning habits guarantee that you’re dressed and smelling fresh when you leave. Your meditation rituals ensure that you easily enter a trance.
This is why most meditation coaches recommend that you set aside some space in your home. Only use this to meditate. Make it nice and comfortable. If you like mantras, think of a mantra. If you like music, choose some appropriate background tracks. This all becomes part of your ritual. Your inner mind sees that you’re in your comfortable nook, listening to the right music and thinking the right thoughts, so it must be time to meditate.
It’s great if you’re starting out. I still recommend it even for more advanced meditators. But, if you truly want to take your inner skills to the next level, you should break your rituals. Meditate at strange times and places. Focus inwards while listening to loud noises or silence. Enter a trance using different mantras or none at all.
You know the benefits of meditation. It’s one of the best things you can do, whether you want to improve your mood, resilience, physical health or enjoyment. Having a ritual is great because it makes you more likely to gain these benefits. Breaking the ritual helps you apply them to every part of your life.
If you can only meditate while in your designated spot… well, that’s better than never doing it. Even better, though, is being able to enter that state at will. Anytime, anywhere. If work becomes stressful, you want to mindfully relax without having to leave your desk. If you are on a cruise ship halfway round the world, you want to still be able to enter a trance.
Meditation rituals are excellent springboards. They can become shackles, though. To truly integrate this practice into your life, learn how to create meditative states under any conditions.