Undertake a journey
Once upon a time, ships sailing from Mediterranean ports made a ritual offering of flowers to the spirits of the sea. Today we continue to do things and go to places, following certain comforting rituals, such as making a mental list, returning to check that we have closed the door, checking our wallet or purse. A ritual is a set of actions performed with a specific order, which do not have to have a practical purpose. What makes them a ritual is that they are done in sequence. If we start something with a ritual, we feel more comfortable and we get the impression that we control it. If one of our rituals is altered or incomplete we feel uncomfortable.
It is good to have one or a ceremony of our own, a set of signs that indicate to the body and mind that it is time to start or end meditation. It is like warming up the car's engines or stretching before starting the exercises, a way to prepare for action or, where appropriate, for non-action. We can channel our tendency to form habits by creating a very short routine to embark on meditation.
When creating the ritual it is convenient to be guided by common sense, it is obvious that something long and elaborate will be counterproductive. People who think they should sit facing east, who should have a sprig of incense lit, look for certain forms of primitive magic. They try to bribe or coerce the universe to give them something, in this case a wonderful meditation, which they think they have paid for, it would be better if they dedicated their energies to concentrating on their meditation technique.
This also strengthens our resistance. If we do something complicated to start meditating, we will not be able to meditate when circumstances prevent us from performing the ritual. It is not advisable for the ceremony to require specific objects or circumstances in the environment, such as the illumination of a candle, or for us to do something that cannot be done elsewhere. When conceiving a ritual, ask yourself if you can and will want to do it when you are standing in a traffic jam, or sitting in a hospital waiting room, in a busy airport. If the answer to all this is no, think of a more appropriate ritual.
The ritual can be reduced to a few words and a couple of deep breaths. Words can consist of a sentence, or simply say what we want to do, but it is important to use them each time. Then we will associate those words with the fact of plunging into a centered and relaxed state of meditation, and once the sensation takes hold, it becomes a key that opens the door to that state.
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