Glowing Flower
Focusing on one task at a time brings it into focus, clearing away the clutter that normally surrounds us. Photo by Rachel Andrews

One reason why rituals have been connected and used by religions throughout history is because of their effectiveness at focusing power. Taking a predetermined set of steps and using the same instruments each time the ritual is performed streamlines the energy and allows the participants to fit into a groove. This groove acts like a channel for the energy to flow in, making the most of the time and effort put into the ritual. Each time the ritual is performed, it’s effects become stronger. It’s basically the same premise as practice.

What ritual has that practice often lacks is the attention to the whole. Mind, body, spirit, emotions and environment are all part of ritual, where practice can still be effective when it lacks attention to one or more of these areas. You can bring the idea and benefits of ritual into your daily life to facilitate a better connection with your whole being and the work you do. It will also give you more power in what you are trying to accomplish. If you do this, you will be creating a sacred space for your activities.

Social psychologists have found that when people study in the same place and at the same time, they get into the groove much quicker, allowing them to be more productive and retain the information better. Setting up a specific spot for any given task will connect you with that task more quickly than if you were to do it in random places throughout your house or other environment. The spot for your task essentially acts as a cue to ready your body, mind, emotions, and spirit for the job at hand. This can be helpful for building a meditation practice, writing in a journal, or any other job where you want deep focus.

I have a desk for studying and a desk for my professional work. When I approach either of my desks I can feel the different parts of me engage before I even sit down. My systems are aligning with the task I am about to undertake. This makes it easier to surpass my ego mind and get down to business. It also allows me to slip right into that groove, which makes deep focus possible. I can sit here and pick up where I last left off. I don’t have to spend much time remembering what I did last, because the energy from the previous session of writing is still present in this spot. This is a trick that has been known for centuries, and you can harness it’s power.

To make your ritual spots more powerful, you can use other cues on top of the environmental one. You can use a specific pen, candle, crystal, mug, etc., to strengthen the connection between the task and your physical and energetic body systems. To do this, just simply mark that item as being part of that task. When you write checks to pay your bills, use only the bill paying pen. When you sit down to read at night, use the same tea cup for your beverage. These small things will help you to engage all of your systems so your ego mind is held at bay and you are more effective in your task. You are taking charge of your energy, and your integration with the task you perform will be much deeper.

If you think about a church, temple, or any other place of worship, all of the senses are cued into focus. Incense are burned for smell cues, flowers or altars engage the sight, the same building materials are common across faiths to engage touch (think of the rounded wooden top of a pue), singing or chanting is used to activate your hearing and voice, and the presence of spirits is almost always implied either by artwork or by the leader of worship calling them in. This is no accident. You are asked to leave your distractions at the door so you can be fully present in prayer.

Another benefit of creating sacred spaces for your tasks and using ritual elements to strengthen that space, is the feeling of time vanishing. In the groove, you are so consumed with your task, you become it. Your energy, from the core of the earth to the universal source, is aligned with what you are doing. This flow allows you to draw on energy from your soul memories and from the collective unconscious, as well as the ‘all that is, was, and ever will be’. Have you ever heard of artists not wanting to take credit for their work because they felt it “came through them?” They were in the flow. They were open to receiving the words, images, songs or information because they were in their own sacred space.

These benefits are available to you, too. If you apply these principles to your life, to even one task, the effects will ripple outward and a deeper focus will develop within you. You will strengthen your natural state. Starting with tasks you enjoy is easier in the beginning. Once you have the hang of it, it’s fun to make even mundane activities seem important enough for their own ritual. And often, turning menial jobs into sacred acts is what shifts our focus from lack to abundance.