5:45 am and I am up as the alarm sings tunes from the king of pop (aka Michael Jackson). I grew up during a time where his music prowess was unprecedented, flawless, and life giving. I decided to stay in bed for another 5–10 minutes and opened the window next to me. The sun comes out earlier in the months of April so it doesn’t seem like I’m up that early, but the beautiful chirping melodies from the many birds accompanied with the silence of the city, is a reminder that I am. After a few minutes of being utterly transfixed and inspired by the new day, I started my daily routine of rituals.
I’ve developed different rituals to cleanse the spirit mind, mental mind, and physical mind daily. My rituals are a routine set of practices that I follow so that I may present the world with the best version of myself.
There are many things that can happen in the course of our day making us lose sight of our true self. When I say true self, I’m referring to our true essence, that which our family members and friends love us for. It rarely happens to me, but if I encounter a person who is rude, it’s difficult to exhibit an emotional response. Deep down in my heart I know that this person, no matter how conflicted with temporary anger, is loved by someone.
At times, external situations can affect our moods/attitudes and this pours into our work and relationships. We are allotted a limited amount of energy so I deem it particularly important to harness this energy appropriately.
There is not a huge emphasis in our society about taking care of the inner-self. It’s probably because it can’t be accurately measured and even if it could, the data would be inconclusive and haphazard. Love, awareness, consciousness, spirituality, and mindfulness speak to all of us differently, as it should. Below are six rituals I do daily. The benefits have paid off in dividends because my field of awareness, creativity, and love continually expands as the universe does.
- Cleanse the spirit — I start the morning with a meditation practice. I have a place in my room where I sit down, cross-legged. I close my eyes and take deep inhales and exhales until my breathing becomes slower. Once this happens, I breathe in and out through my nose. During this time, I focus on my current environment. This may be the things I hear, the smells, the tingles in my body, etc. After a few minutes of total awareness, I meditate on love and gratitude. Silently, I speak to my higher self and say, “No matter what situation occurs, I will bring love into it.” I envision all the things I’m grateful for in my life. I have a list in my notebook handy and I make it a point to recite everything on it. I believe in affirmations and recite everything that I want to accomplish as if it has already happened. Putting your dreams on paper and in present tense is the first step to making them real.
2. Cleanse the mind — After I meditate, I clean my room. Have you ever had a long day at work only to come to a bedroom that wasn’t clean? How did it make you feel? Maybe you felt nothing but after I’ve been making it a practice to be cleaner, it’s satisfying coming to your personal sanctuary with less clutter. The after effect of a clean room is great, but so is the process of cleaning it. Being fully aware and present when you are making your bed, sweeping the floor, or dusting can be an experience in of itself. This can only happen when you forgo memory (past thinking) and the false notion of the future. When you are fully engaged in the process of what you are doing, any experience can elicit a heightened sense of awareness and the cessation of time.
3. Cleanse the body — It’s hard for me to get to the gym everyday because of accessibility reasons. Instead, I will do a quick workout in my apartment or go for a run. 15–20 minutes a day is all it takes to do something for your physical body. I call it cleansing, because exercise cleans out toxins by speeding up your metabolism, helps burn fat, builds stamina, improves your mood, opens up creativity, and increases longevity. Often I will use a mobile app which puts together a series of exercises at high intensity called the 12 Minute Athlete. Highly recommended.
4. Cleanse the body — Even if you don’t take showers in the morning, I am sure that you still clean up somehow. While you take part in these daily rituals, be extremely aware of the water as it touches your fingers and how it splashes on your face. Feel the texture of the bristles as you gently brush your teeth and gums. When you are fully present and aware, any mundane task can become a great pleasurable.
5. Nourish the body — After I get ready, I finally nourish my body with sustenance. For the most part I will usually eat something raw and high in fiber like a green juice smoothie or a banana. I have a recipe for a green smoothie that has been working for me this year called the Rejuvenating Ninja, check it out. The more in-tune with my body I become, the more I realize how little food I need to feel nourished. Bring awareness into the food you eat. In the West, we have lost our connection to food for a long time, but I see a reemergence of sorts taking place. Understand that the food you eat plays a vital role not only for the body, but also the mind and spirit.
6. Nourish the mind — I will nourish my mind by listening to something insightful on YouTube. Sometimes I’ll read a few chapters from a book or listen to one. I refuse to listen to news in the morning. I’ll save current events for later in the day because while it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, it’s not as important as me feeling 100%. Plus, most news is negative and I don’t think it is wise to start your day that way. Below, I have listed a few videos on the subjects of personal development, writing, spirituality, and mindfulness that I have seen in the past. I share these types of videos and insightful articles often for my subscribers. Sign up for my newsletter here so I can share with you other cool stuff I stumble upon.
- Tony Robbins — Why we do what we do
- Seth Godin — You need to build a business for yourself
- Jiddu Krishnamurti — The power of now
Why do all this?
It’s important to be balanced in life. This balance starts in the mind. Our mind can be our biggest ally or biggest enemy. It needs to be trained so it can work efficiently. All the rituals I described are simply tools for attaining higher reasoning, understanding, and truly relishing in the beauty that is life. At times our work, personal issues, and situations can bring us down. It’s important to adopt preventative measures so when these things happen, we have a mechanism to rely on to get us back on track to higher thinking. The rituals I have outlined will help but I implore you to create your own rituals that speak specifically to you. Make sure to stick to them consistently and notice how your mind shifts to more present modes of thinking.
Everything can become meditative
Meditation is not reserved only for the monks residing in the deep and desolate Himalayan mountains, but also for you. It is available all the time. Meditation is simply cultivating awareness of your surroundings. It’s being in a state of attentiveness for all that is around you. The rituals I perform in the morning are all meditative in nature, sometimes transcending to my work life and personal relationships. When the Dalai Lama was asked what is the most important thing in his life, he replied, ““What I am doing now.’”
In the Chan Meditation Hall @ the Buddha Gate Monastery in Lafayette, CA where I spent a few hours every week last year, on the wall, it read the words that still resonate with me today:
“When in action, perfect all actions, when at rest, rest all thoughts.”
Develop some new morning rituals, make them consistent, and see your mind, body and spirit reach new levels of awareness.