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A ritual is an activity that eases a person into a focused mindset.
In Zen monasteries, even activities like bathing and eating are ritualized and given the complete attention of practitioners. This encourages a mindful approach to tasks. Rituals can be as simple as taking a walk at a particular time of day, baking bread, or cleaning your space.
A ritual may seem overly simplistic or devoid of meaning to outsiders.
Artists are inseparable from their creative output. For example, writer Ingrid Rojas Contreras always wears a distinct “muted blue ultramarine” shaded garment when working, as picturing the colour helps her concentrate and enter “a somnambulistic trance.” Likewise, the novelist Toni Morrison would wake at 5 am, make coffee, and watch the sunrise.
Routine implies a rigid sense of structure, with time management and prioritized productivity.
A ritual might resemble an everyday routine. But instead of limiting yourself to a defined ideal, you focus on the specifics of the process. For example, rituals can be an artistic process, a meditation, a communal celebration, or a simple act of observation.
Whether it's a daily or celebratory ritual, experimenting can help to find a ritual that feels good to you.
The intent is key. Ensure to have some context for the ritual or an idea of why you're doing it. What is important is the mindset that you bring to the practice.
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