“My experience has taught me that profound and life-changing shifts can happen if one stays open and learns to trust their own higher wisdom.”
For over 30 years, Shanell has been a student of martial arts. Her first revelations about the connection between mind, body and energy came from this training. My journey as a holistic healing practitioner started in 2004 when I left my office job to attend a 13-month training programme in Shamanic Breathwork™ in North Carolina. She left North Carolina in 2007 and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in California. During this time I also discovered a deep passion for the ancient wisdom teachings of yoga and mantra, and in 2010 I became a certified Sivananda Hatha Yoga instructor. Shanell Vaughn holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology from The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University. This article has been re-blogged from her website blog http://www.healingyogini.com/shambhala-blog
REFLECTIONS ON RITUALS
I started the New Year reflecting on the importance of ritual in my life – in particular, my morning spiritual practice. In Yoga, we call this “sadhana”. Over the years, this sadhana has changed, however it still remains a steadfast ally in helping me to stay mindful and centered throughout the day. Lately, it consists of a 30-minute meditation and reading something inspiring before the sun rises. Whether done individually or in community, rituals are an important part of the human experience because they provide occasions for us to grow in the way we understand and relate to ourselves, each other, and our spiritual nature.
Rituals help us to feel connected to something greater than ourselves, to deepen and expand our experience of the ordinary and elevate it to the extraordinary. When performed with sincerity and intention, rituals invite the sacred to enter and permeate every aspect of our lives. A classic ritual such as saying grace at mealtime for example not only transforms the act of eating, a very primal act, into a sacred experience, but it offers us a moment of deeper connection with the people that share the meal with us.
So, beginning your day with a ritual such as meditation, reading spiritual texts, listening to devotional music, journaling, swimming, etc., can raise your consciousness to a level beyond the mundane, and prepare you to face the day from your most peaceful inner core. We bring ourselves into alignment with the divine, whatever that means to you, from the very start of the day. A morning spiritual practice helps us to approach our life with heightened awareness, and the more you do it, the more energy is generated around your particular ritual. It then becomes easier to feel the benefits of your practice.
MAKING RITUALS RELEVANT
The most important element of a daily morning ritual, I feel, is it must be FUN for you! It must be something that when you wake up you look forward to doing it. Next, set your intention as to what your specific goal is (e.g., to be more patient), and perform your ritual with that awareness. Then, try to be consistent in how and where you do it at least until it becomes habitual as this will be helpful to you, but you don’t have to become rigid about this. Performing your ritual at sunrise when the world is still quiet is most conducive to having a deeper experience.
Think also about creating a ‘sacred space’ or even an altar in your home that is dedicated purely to your daily ritual. And finally, keep it simple. Your daily ritual can become very elaborate over time, but I have found that the simplest practice is always best.
Here’s a summary of my tips for creating your morning ritual:
1. Make sure it’s fun
2. Do it with intention and sincerity
3. Consistency in the form and place are helpful
4. At sunrise or just after is the best time
5. Don’t become too rigid with it
6. Keep it simple
If you already have a morning spiritual practice, or find this blog helpful in creating one, please leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Love & sweet blessings,
Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.