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Ah, meditation. A wondrous, beautiful, and sometimes mysterious event that often causes confusion and anxiety in individuals (when it should do the opposite)! If you have ever wondered what meditation is, what the benefits of meditation are, and how to start your own meditation ritual (that you can stick to and lose the anxiety not gain it) – you are in the right place.
First, let me start with my own journey. Mediation seemed like an allusive, mysterious thing for many years. I loved yoga, long walks, and revered in my solo time but the moment I tried to SIT STILL and not think…all I could do was think!
Chances are if you are reading this, you’ve felt somewhat the same. Here’s the good news. You are not alone. And more importantly (spoiler ahead), you aren’t doing it wrong!
My meditation evolution came in an epiphany when watching a meditation series on the Science of Spirituality. Turns out, I wasn’t doing it wrong. In fact, the other difference between my (sitting uncomfortably and fidgeting nonstop) meditation and the peaceful ones on TV (ok besides the fakeness of TV), is forgiveness. But if you want to know more about that, check out Meditation 101! If you want to know how to turn your fidgety meditation into a daily routine so you can become a better meditator – read on!
Why Do I Need a Meditation Ritual?
In short, you need a mediation ritual simply because rituals form strong habits, and habitually meditating is the only way to get better at the act of meditating. At first glance meditating seems simple enough: sitting quietly, closing your eyes for a period of time. Then comes the moment of clearing your mind. Meditation is a skill. A skill that few are great at, and needs to be practiced daily to get better at.
And while building habits and routines and rituals are essentially the same things, the truth is – words matter. Habits feel hard, routines feel boring, and rituals seem fun and fun equals easy! This matters with meditating because the last thing you want is your meditation practice to feel like work. You want it to be fun, and enticing, and something you look forward to each day.
What does a Meditation Ritual Look Like?
It looks exactly how you want it to look. It’s important to understand that meditation is a very personal and intimate experience. While you can certainly do group meditations (and that is very much a common thing to do), the individual experience is ALWAYS personal. This is a spiritual matter between your mind, your soul, and your body. No one else can know or understand what that feels like for you, and likewise, you can never understand what it feels like for someone else.
And that is freaking awesome!
So when you create a meditation ritual for yourself, you’re simply creating a routine that includes meditation into your daily schedule, no matter what type of meditation you are doing. But you’re making it fun, something peaceful, a joyful experience that you are looking forward to each day. If you don’t feel any of that – it’s time to reevaluate your meditation ritual!
How do I Create a Meditation Ritual
The first thing you want to do is create a mediation space. If you can’t designate a room (or corner) then try keeping your ritual items in a box or bag that can be easily moved around, or similarly, keep these types of items in each room you may find yourself meditating in.
For the full mediation experience you want to stimulate the five basic senses, for example:
- SMELL: Think candles, incense, oil burners, burning sage, or even just fresh flowers. Scents such as lavender for calming, sage for cleansing, and peppermint for focus are good scents to start with!
- TOUCH: A soft pillow or blanket to sit on, or meditation beads are great for stimulating touch.
- SOUND: Meditation gongs, chimes, singing bowls, water fountain, sounds of nature, or simply mediation music on your phone!
- SIGHT: When possible, sitting outside is the best option. A big window to enjoy nature from inside works just as well, as does nature photography, inspired artwork, crystals, and plants.
- TASTE: Tea is the perfect taste – especially with the array of flavors available. Lotus is a traditional meditation choice, but go wild! Peppermint is great for focus, Saffron for a spiritually uplifting experience, and Green Tea provides a great pick-me-up for the morning! For those who don’t enjoy tea, ice water and water with lemon are great alternatives.
Once you have chosen your space start by considering the elements you want a ritual around. Consider the following questions:
- What is a convenient time you can do your meditation each day? Will it be right when you wake up? Before you go to bed? Go with the flow and whenever you can find the time? Will you drop everything and do it as soon as an alarm goes off?
- How much time can you allow for the full ritual (from lighting candles to putting things away after, etc.)?
- What elements to represent the senses do you want to incorporate?
- What additional elements do you want to add to your meditation ritual?
Additional ritual elements could be some of the following (not an exhaustive list):
- Hand or Face Massage
- Divination Session
- Yoga session (short or long)
- Sage your space
- Self-care such as a facial mask or a foot soak (check out more self-care ideas here!)
- Read a chapter from a book
- Breathing Techniques
When choosing elements to add to your meditation ritual, consider things that you find peace and solace in. Things that bring you happiness and serenity. Anything that brings you stress should be eliminated, or figure out a way it may bring you less stress.
Now put it together. Want to see a sample Meditation Ritual as a jumping-off point? Grab this printable with 3 samples ranging from 10 minutes to an hour + a super easy worksheet to walk you through creating your own!