Think of the rituals we perform every day. There’s the comforting ritual of the morning cup of coffee. The bedtime rituals performed in the hope of getting a good night’s rest. Rituals surrounding family meals, and holiday rituals conducted with our dear ones, family, and friends. Rituals comfort us, guide us, and bring us a sense of meaning and belonging.
Individual rituals can play a powerful role in our journey to wellness. To the degree that you consciously engage in a ritual, you’ll be participating in your own healing. Rituals can promote profound shifts in heart and mind that can, in turn, induce real physical changes that support our bodies as we heal.
I wrote previously of how a ritual offering of gratitude can change our physical and emotional being. A ritual of giving thanks, and of enumerating the many things for which you are grateful, can induce very real positive physical changes.
This is not airy-fairy talk! Studies have verified that positive thoughts and feelings have powerful physical effects.
Researchers at the Institute of Heartmath in Boulder Creek, CA have found that positive, harmonious feelings enhance mental focus, calmness, health, performance, intuition, and the frequency of spiritual feelings. They increase relaxation, alpha-wave output in the brain (associated with a calm, meditative state), and synchronize heart-rhythm patterns, respiratory rhythms, and blood pressure oscillations.
In our family, we have a favorite birthday ritual. We take turns to individually express our gratitude to the person whose birthday it is. In turn, that “birthday person” expresses gratitude for some aspect of themselves.
Blessing food before meals, or blessing your medicine before you take it, can change your health. If we knew how profoundly our food is affected by the simple act of saying a blessing, we would never eat unconsecrated food again!
Japanese scientist Emoto Sensei’s work on frozen water demonstrates the power of this simple truth. Emoto compared the crystalline structure of “blessed” frozen water with the structure of water that had been exposed to curses. The cursed water revealed a highly chaotic, disorganized structure. By contrast, the structure of the blessed water was organized in beautiful patterns.
Kirlian photography has revealed similar shifts in subtle energies that reflect our consciousness. The old saying that “we are what we eat” is literally true. It behooves us to eat food that has had beneficial vibrations infused into it by the act of blessing it.
A ritual of saying positive affirmations offers similar benefits. A favorite morning ritual of mine is to repeat one of the many uplifting affirmations given by Paramhansa Yogananda: “Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do! Behind my every act is God’s infinite power!”
Deep concentration and repetition enhance the power of the affirmation. A weary, out-of-kilter morning can be transformed in a moment!
The act of entering a dedicated meditation space every morning and evening, whether or not you feel you can meditate well, is another extremely beneficial ritual.
Countless studies have documented the physical and emotional benefits of meditation. The daily ritual visits to your meditation space generate harmonious energetic vibrations that gain power each time you meditate. Over time, these vibrational pathways become superhighways.
There are many rituals that can help us rid ourselves of old habits that are no longer serving us. The Hindu fire ceremony, passed down through many centuries, and generally accompanied by the Gayatri and Mahamritunjaya Mantras, is a powerful, spiritually uplifting and cleansing ritual.
Write down those things you wish to be rid of, and cast them into the ritual fire. We recommend this ritual as part of any detoxification protocol, to rid ourselves of mental and emotional toxicities that may be holding us back from healing.
A favorite ritual of mine is the “Namaste” greeting. It means, literally, “I bow to you” or more meaningfully, “I bow to the presence of God in you.” “Nama” means “bow”; “as” means “I”; and, “te” means “you.”
By placing your hands prayerfully over your heart and offering this greeting, you are acknowledging that the innermost nature of the person you are greeting is divine. By doing so, you are also affirming your connectedness. Also, you are raising your consciousness above the physical plane and tapping the healing qualities of Spirit. It’s a wonderful practice at all times, especially in our fractured world, as an affirmation of the oneness of all beings.
Read more about Dr. Connie’s work HERE