Bloggers all around the world reference their bullet-proof methods to set up mind and body for a productive day. From simple daily or morning rituals to some articulated habits settlement (Jari Roomer) those enumerate a variety of techniques or activities that help focus and program an effective workday.
The business world guru Tim Ferris calls this the “5 morning rituals that help me win the day” and combines quotes from a range of remarkable people and most widely spread practices…
You first start making your bed following the recommendation of the Admiral William McRaven to feel some pride, then you Meditate or do some mindfulness practices with the guidance of Ferris’s book “Tools of Titans”, possibly you would also accomplish the “5-10 reps of something” (e.g. push-ups), without forgetting to prepare a “Titanium Tea” (why not…I do love Pu’erh..) and finish this by journaling and answering to questions/goals of the day. Ferris is very detailed and meticulous about describing his rituals, you almost want to reproduce literally the same scheme!
But how do things really work? These coaches all recognize that people barely achieve doing two or three out of those thousand activities. And does all this really help you achieve your “own” goals? We sometimes want to copy others behavior so badly we even ignore why we’re doing it all… You certainly may argue that these recipes are all customizable depending on people’s needs, and yet, the profound character of those rituals is still somewhat “standardized”. (Check my latest article dealing with the danger of “standardization” for the professional and personal life here).
On the contrary, while digging into the most universal methods (on goalcast or here), one realizes those are too abstract or too simplistic to really make difference for a specific situation. What’s more, everybody is so utterly focused on the “morning” or the “day” itself that they almost privilege more the rhythm and steps rather than the sense of those rituals….
It seems obvious that you should wake up early shall you want to have a productive day. It also appears of common sense to make some exercise, to meditate or to read. But none of those activities will make any difference if you are not getting the proper meaning of each and the reasons why you are getting yourself motivated to do those!
Put simply, many people lack some serious and deep context to understand why would they need to practice a ritual to be successful. Hereafter will follow some explanations that will help to decompose the myths behind the rituals on the one hand and to refill those with much sense on the other hand. You will be then given a proper methodology and real secret tips that will help you to genuinely make difference in all situations and for all life purposes.
Decomposing the myths
The first myth about morning or daily rituals is that they are supposed to work for everyone. WRONG. Compare it with the Placebo Effect. A placebo treatment always varies depending on a plenty of factors: the therapeutic context, the physician’s personality, the patient’s expectations, the nature of the patient-doctor relationship and finally the form, the cost and complexity of the treatment. Hence, no guarantee the same experience will have the same results for everyone when it comes to auto-suggestion of auto-programing techniques such as daily rituals.
The second myth consists in the notion of the ritual itself. Rituals are a feature of all known human societies (Brown, Donald (1991). Human Universals. United States: McGraw Hill. p. 139). The word Ritual is related to the English “rite” (right way of doing things) and Latin “ritus” meaning “the proven way”, “the correct custom”, and possibly also related to the Sanskrit “rtâ” meaning “visible order”. Some other analogies are possible too, one can relate it to something repetitive, such as a “rotation” (rota), a wheel, a cycle.
However, there is some inconsistency between the “right way or customs of doing things” and “the repetitive cycles”. How can someone be absolutely sure about doing the right thing by repeating the same thing over and over again?
We rather propose a different interpretation of the “ritual”. Opposed to the latin “irrĭtus” (unfixed) and rather apparent to the “reor” (attached, bound), the sense of a ritual, comparable to the meaning of other similar topics as amulets, icons and all ritual related staff – is mainly aimed at BINDING YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS WITH A FIXED OBJECTIVE. Hence, the ritual is nothing but a self-programming to reach specific levels of your subconsciousness. The latter influences your behavior to the point that you literally do “the right things to do” so as to get closer to the objective. Check out documentation on the hypnosis and NLP for that.
The third myth is that rituals are believed to be commonly understandable and accessible things. No single activity is performed uniformly: meditation, morning tea, visualization, relaxation, journaling,… not even the push ups. For example, there is no shared and in-depth vision of what meditation truly is and what it is actually for. Some recon this is made to better focus, some will say it consists in relaxing, some would say it is about mastering your mind, being aware…bla bla bla. Rarely do we see genuine master describing the essence of the meditation and its outcomes.
For all these reasons, and given the extent of our approach to the subject, we would wish to propose a different view on things, a proper methodology. This is called MEDIC and stands for Meditation, Energy, Depth, Intuition, Calm. Yet, we provide with the full description of what every word means and how to better practice on each step.
MEDIC: Meditation – Energy – Depth – Intuition – Calm
Just pick up the first two syllables of this word: “medi” , meaning the “middle”. What’s this about. Buddha tought about the “Middle Way” conducting to the “illumination”. It literally consists in avoiding extremism. You neither focus, nor do you lose yourself. Simply observe. Surprisingly, in the Middle English the word observation has the sense of “respectful adherence to the requirements of rules or ritual”. This is an interesting fact; however, we wish to elevate the sense we are putting in this word. We rather mean here “being the observer”. We are not going to detail the practice of meditation as such (check out further articles on this topic) but we may indicate here some couple of tips.
Genuine meditation consists in an ability to “be the inner observer of your own self”, i.e. to dissociate your “Self” (ego) from your “Existence” (the fact of being here). By looking silently in the “Middle” of your self you are going to distinguish the movements of your thoughts from the silent presence of something deep in you. Thoughts will come and pass away, emotions too, and yet someone is still “here” to observe them. Give a try, be that observer and see what happens… Go down as deep as possible and uncover the truth that matters for you and that will impact you.
Contrary to all the recommendations regarding the preference of the morning time we rather suggest you do it in a more peaceful moment, most often in the night when both your ego and energy have calmed down after a long day of work and are more adapted to experience the silence.
There is a huge difference between a night meditation and the morning one. In the night you are in the dark and you are preparing to shut down after another cycle of events you experienced during the day. Hence, your fears, regrets, thoughts… they all “come to light” of your consciousness, just like before a death. That is where the best opportunity lies. Seize that chance to go deep down in your personality’s world to remark its illusionary nature. Notice that at that moment of a fatigue noting matters more than you being in your bed to get some nice warm sleep… Stop your “self” in that very vulnerable situation and cast a light to your “Presence”. (see “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle).
Now that you have managed to meditate in the night, the logical outcome should be a sufficient amount of paradoxical psychic energy coming to you in the morning. To ground that you must canalize your flow of “Chi” (energy) through a series of exercises. In this field the best recommendation is : choose among the most intuitive and pleasant exercises. As energy knows what it likes most, you simply must trust your body’s appeals (of course mind some “reserves” on this term, we’re not savages 😊 ).
To further enhance energy level we recommend practicing yoga lockdowns such as Bandhis, exercises such as Agnisara Dhauti, asanas (Headstand), etc. Chi Qong or Tai Chi is also a great way of canalizing energy. In fact, you should rather care for canalizing it than for getting it. Trust the universe and nature to provide you with it and care for managing it wisely. After all, you have been given a life which is already a big amount of energy, so be confident that you will get some more on the way to help you accomplish your duties.
Therefore, learn to circulate your energy in the body rather than to get it in.
The secrets of Olympic champion’s success are simple: use all the means at your disposal to win. For some athletes even a millisecond can make a difference. Likewise, do not hesitate to go deep into the topic of the Ritual and to create your own one that would deeply matter to you. In fact, creating a customized ritual on your own will make a huge difference compared to standard ones. Put simply this will relate to your deep consciousness and wake up sleeping resources that were until now unavailable to you! Take example from Rafael Nadal with his unprecedented gestures before serving.
Check out for the further articles on our blog to discover the variety of combinations you can make out of different know rituals.
Ready with your customized ritual or rituals? Congrats. Now turn on your intuition development. This is a very tricky field, far from science and any known methodology. In the first instance it consists in relaxing (body, mind, emotions). Secondly, it does not have to be something to practice as an activity. Rather you have to get a habit of feeling intuitively the right thing to do. Deepak Chopra (here ) along with many other people have recommendations on this topic (example: Jack Canfield here).
Pick up everything you can around you to feel the right signs and interpret the messages the universe is sending you. If you do so from the very beginning of your day, you will notice how aware and mindful your behavior becomes over the day.
Believe yourself in The Matrix. You are Neo and you know how to read the symbols around you. Your matrix is all the time configured and edited with different flows of information fluctuating around you. Pay attention to the repetitive things, messages you might here while walking in the street, some coincidences that should not have taken place.
In other words, the key to develop the intuition is the “spontaneity”. Do you believe in the notion of Serendipity? (check out Wikipedia here). If not, the serendipity believes in you 😊. All you must do is to let yourself hear the level of comfort your heart is signaling to you. Being out of your comfort zone for a little time is normal, however remaining in that state is not! This is a very basic approach to the intuition but at least it makes sense to those who are beginners in this area…
Keep calm and have a tea. Preferring calm reactions to the overreactions is key to deliver well in the four previous points discussed here above. Calm etymologically means still, quiet, peaceful. I like the German word “Kaum” for that, meaning “barely”, “hardly”, “scarcely”. Calm reaction is barely a reaction, almost no reaction. Your day is full of everything, insane amount of information, emotions, thoughts, noises, etc. and instead of submerging yourself with more of those things you rather try Laozi’s concept of “Wuwei” meaning “Inaction”, “Inexertion”. Check out “Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism” (Verse 11, tr. Roth, Harold D. (1999), Columbia University Press). Laozi suggest returning to the state of “uncarved wood”.
We are not intended to make a dissertation on the Taoist Mysticism here. However, this is the best reference to practice our fifth arcane about “Calm”-ness.
In Russian, the calm can be both an adverb (and comes from two roots: “sleeping” as in the “bed”) and a noun (sereral meanings: room, rest, peace…). There you go. To the bed! Just like in n°1 advice here above.
Let your “Self” sleep and instead be the observer in order to remain in the calm. Just like in your bed: nothing matters anymore, no single thought or emotion matter more than the fact of being in the bed and getting some warm sleep. Remind yourself this state and you will know how to be calm…