Rituals were routinely used by our ancestors as a way to connect deeper to themselves, find happiness and also to integrate various experiences of their lives to ultimately make them move forward as more whole happy beings. In our technologically driven society we have lost the value of rituals and think of them as some sort of voodoo used by primitive societies. But science is now proving that rituals can actually bring us greater levels of happiness! They don’t have to be wacky rituals using potions, foreign languages and symbols. They can be very simple, perhaps even already part of our daily routine but by drawing our attention onto them and doing them with full awareness we can re-connect to the power they can have on our lives.
So here are a few daily rituals that I have found extremely helpful in deepening my understanding of the world and connecting to myself with a stronger intention.
Yoga, stretching, swimming, walking, running, dancing….whatever it is that works for you, do it and do it everyday. Not only does this keep energy levels high and the body healthy but by connecting to our physical self we can more accurately feel (not just think or realise) that we are in fact not limited to the body. This is why yoga has been used for centuries as a way of preparing for meditation, because by connecting ourselves to the body we can more easily transcend the body. Once we have had that experience of freedom, of being far greater than the limits of the body we can move through life carrying this sense of freedom with us everywhere we go.
Hearing someone talk about transcending the body might seem strange because well, we are quite confined to the body. So if you’re curious about what I mean with this, let’s do a small experiment:
Take a deep breath and feel your belly expanding outward as you do. Feel the space that’s created when you do this. As you exhale relax, sink deeper into your seat. Now as you read this, observe how your body is feeling right now. And ask yourself, who is it that is observing this body? When you feel the limits of your body, of your skin, is there some part of you that can’t be touched? How does that thought make you feel? Can you taste the freedom in it?
After finding freedom in the body, next we seek freedom of mind. And the best way to get that is through stillness and meditation. When we first started meditating the last thing we feel we have is peace of mind because once we get quiet we realise just how busy the mind’s chatter constantly is. But stick with it, once you push through that barrier your mind will sink into a deep stillness and the bounty it will bring to your life is incomparable. There are plenty of meditation tools you can turn to in order to help focus your mind. (If you’d like to learn from us check out the Thursday 7.30pm yoga and meditation with Yasmin at Sanya).
Meditation is a practice and even after meditating for years there are days where finding focus and stillness are very difficult. But once we’ve caught at least a glimpse of the deep well of stillness within us, we can always go back to that place and we can do our best to live our whole lives from that place of peace and contentment.
This is a no brainer. I’m sure anyone reading this has already noticed that they feel calmer and happier in nature. If this is the case, why not prioritise making contact with nature on a daily basis. Ultimately we are nature, we’ve just moved to an urban setting. Our home is nature and the soul feels so much more at rest there.
Some days we are too busy to make the journey out to nature. When that is the case even just lying down and looking up at the clouds drifting through the sky or the stars at night can help remind us of our place in the universe.
For the busier folk you might want to combine your nature with your exercise. Going for a morning swim or evening sunset yoga are both great ways to settle more deeply into yourself and find that space of peace within.
What is the meaning of life? Why are we all here? What is the purpose of my life? Am I happy with how I spend each day? How can I serve others? How can I make this world a better place?
It seem a bit intense to be thinking about these sorts of things on a daily basis but I’ve found that by asking myself these questions every day I’m so much more likely to live each day with a sense of connection and purpose in the world. These questions also help guide my daily choices. They help to build up to the bigger picture that I would like to see my life unfolding towards. Often it is easy for us to get pushed around by life’s circumstances, these questions help us stay on course of what we believe and the values with which we want to live our lives.
It may be helpful to answer these questions in a journal. Writing, rather than simply thinking, helps us process our thoughts and understand what’s coming through more clearly. Doing a bit of daily writing has profoundly impacted my life. It is such a simple practice but one of the most effective.
We are all individuals and only have ourselves to account for. Or at least, that’s what we think. It is easy to think that we are islands in the ocean of life, but even islands are connected to each other through the land that lies under the sea. In the same way we are all connected to each other. Every choice you make for yourself affects the whole web of life, either negatively or positively. When we do something to help others we are subconsciously reminding ourselves of our connection to all of life. We remember that ultimately we are all one. This is why giving to others feels so good; because through giving we receive. Giving is natural.
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, on days when I’m swamped I often don’t find time to carry out some sort of positive action. But at the end of the day I bring to mind every person that I saw or thought about, and I send them love. If we’re looking for results we could look into quantum physics to explain how this impacts the world. Really and truly though there’s really no need for that. It is enough to know is that we contributed to some extra love in the world that day. When we can do more, great, but even this is enough.
You will notice that by helping others you yourself begin to change over time. I promise it is a change you will not regret.