So, you’ve decided you want to forge a deeper connection to yourself by creating a spiritual practice. The timing is perfect in our current world climate to explore and cultivate your spiritual development. It will create a true steadiness from within you.
The truth is, you really don’t need much to do so. With a meditation practice, you have everything necessary already within you. By sitting yourself down, wherever you are, closing your eyes, and going within, you can get there. Adopting a mindful meditation technique—whereby you focus on the breath, noticing thoughts as they arise, allowing them just to be, and then bringing your attention back to your breath—is probably one of the simplest meditations out there. Sometimes easier said than done, you say … and that’s why it’s called a meditation “practice,” because it’s something to practice (start with five minutes, friends), but it will get easier over time to inhabit that delicious stillness meditation promises.
That said, it is absolutely helpful to have certain spiritual tools to lean into. They help you create a quiet internal and external environment, prepping you with a container of stillness to step into. There are many modalities and ways to do this. And when you feel the resistance to sitting still—and you will, guaranteed, since it even pops up for seasoned meditators—having tools to help you bypass that resistance can get you “into the zone.” Tools help set the spiritual stage, so to speak.
As you know, rituals have existed in every spiritual and religious tradition from the beginning of time. There’s a reason. They simply help drop you past the chatter of the mind, creating a sacred surrounding through sound, scent, contemplation, and vibration. Ritual elevates the mundane; it demarcates a line between the busy-ness of being of the World, and the stillness of connecting with yourself and higher energies. Spiritual rituals help build that sacred bridge.
Here are some of my favorites:
They provide clear sound tones, promoting focused awareness and a relaxed mindset, naturally guiding you into a meditative state. Each different bowl plays a single note that corresponds to an energy center in your body (a chakra—there are seven). The bowls are easy to play, and they sound glorious. Start with one and build on that. Note: not all bowls are made with quality and integrity. My bowls from Sunreed Instruments are, and they’ll help you pick the one best suited to you, then teach you how to play it. You’re in, you crystal bowl player, you.
Not only are they gorgeous to wear, but these beaded necklaces have a higher function when strung with 108 beads, a sacred number. While your fingers roll over each bead, it helps you keep count of the 108 times you silently recite a mantra such as “Sat Nam” (I am truth) or an uplifting phrase, like “I am whole and complete.” The combination of doing both together keeps the mind and body occupied, while you fall into a quiet space beyond habitual thinking patterns. I have a beautiful one from Mala Collective with howlite stones, which have inherent calming properties. Doing “japa” can help you soothe your restless mind, and you’ll roll right into a meditative headspace after just one round.
They can be fun directive tools that offer guidance, clarity, and a new perspective. It can be a centering ritual by pulling your cards out before you sit to meditate. Ask what you need to know next, then fan the deck out and choose one card that stands out to you, trusting you’ll receive information that you’ll take with you into your meditation for further contemplation. You can find decks of anything you have an interest in: animal totems, crystals, goddesses, angels, and wisdom cards from new thought leaders.
Have a place you can curate over time—one that holds sacred objects, statues, photos, flowers, and candles and feels beautiful and uplifting. It’s the ultimate tool because it combines so many tools all rolled together. I have collected artifacts from my pilgrimages all over the world, with items that remind me of my true spiritual nature, and the power of living life steeped in my connection to my divine. Even when I don’t feel particularly in the mood to do my bowls, cards, meditation, japa, or chanting (because the ego doesn’t want me to sit still and go within), if I simply sit in front of my “altar,” I feel the gravitational pull to turn myself over to something greater. I see proof that it works in what I have assigned auspicious meaning to, in all the objects I have collected.
I recommend you start with a shelf or small table, and fill it with things you already own that uplift and center you—a picture of a beloved, a flower, an ornament that holds a beautiful memory. Then light a candle to create a ritual around you being in this space, evoking love and good vibes all around. You may need this now more than ever: a place of your own. Step away from the news of the world, even if just for a few moments, to a place where you remember that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, and you connect to that light that you have always carried within you.
Ryan Haddon is a certified life and spiritual coach and a certified hypnotherapist. She works with clients all over the world and has a passion for helping them create their best life. She speaks at corporate retreats and hosts workshops. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four kids. You can follow her on Instagram @ryanhaddoncoach and find out more about how she works at www.ryanhaddon.com.