R Is For Ritual vs Routine
I was involved in a conversation about this just a couple of days ago. It would seems that for a lot of people the boundaries between the meaning of the two are quite blurred, so I hope this post will simplify that for you. When it comes to Mindfulness ritual = good, routine = not so good. Let me explain…
Certain routines help us get through the day, I think it’s particularly true that children thrive in an environment where they know what is expected, when. But the problem with routine is we can go onto autopilot, disengage our brains, and turn off our awareness of what is going on around us.
Routine stops us from making mindful decisions about what we are doing.
If you always sit in the same chair in the lounge, always wash, brush your teeth and hair in the same order in the morning, and always take the same route to and from work, then the chances are your daily routines are prohibitive to you developing a Mindfulness Mindset.
I give some more ideas about this is my eBook, you can grab yourself a free copy here, before moving on to…
A ritual is a set of actions you consciously do in a certain way to enable a desired response.
Ritual can be used to help create a certain mindset or feeling. For instance, when practiced in a group rituals can evoke a sense of belonging, commonality, and tribe.
When practicing Mindfulness alone, many people find rituals helpful to reach a meditative state. Using a certain space (or like me, a meditation stool), lighting candles or burning incense, and listening to a guided meditation to begin, are all rituals you can bring into your mindfulness meditation.
As far as a Mindfulness Mindset in day-to-day life, how about using rituals to mix up your routine – could you choose a different route to work each week? A different chair for everyone at the dining table for each day of the week?…. even start brushing your teeth on a different tooth for each day of the month?
How does that feel?
My guess would be that it’s pretty uncomfortable to begin with – but as you begin taking notice of what you’re doing, and making conscious decisions about how you do that, you will find yourself in a more mindful space.
If you decide to give one of them a go do let me know how you get on.