Meditation is the most important small ritual that an individual can undertake. We, therefore, want to consider it a primary ritual in our journey toward individual actualization. Meditation is the practice of techniques such as controlled breathing, mindfulness, or focusing on a particular object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness.26 Individuals practice meditation to develop mental clarity and emotional calmness that extends beyond their moments of practice. The practice of meditation is a vital component of individual actualization and only requires a small but consistent commitment of focus and energy. It is a state of being where we enhance our awareness of our role as observers within an informational universe. Through consistent meditation, the individual expands their humanity by dissolving boundaries between ego and the moment, elevating themselves to more enlightened states of engagement with others and the universe.
Meditation is often associated with the concept of inner and outer peace. Committing to meditation as a small ritual will change the individual’s perception of the external universe. Meditation empowers us to assume our rightful role as an observer within the totality of the moment. We do not seek mastery in our meditative practice and do not concern ourselves with goals or milestones. Mastery is, by definition, a relational concept. The master is a master because the majority of others cannot replicate their powers.
Meditation is an independent and isolated endeavor. We cannot measure it outside of doing, and it offers no reward or recognition beyond direct engagement. There is no end game with meditation, no techniques beyond the most basic worth spreading. It is a daily engagement where the individual actively aligns themselves with the single truth through the direction of focus and energy toward quiet being. Committing to the small ritual of meditation will provide many benefits beyond your practice. Improved focus, energy, clarity, and a stoic detachment from the world are just some of the enhancements the practice may add to your time experience.
Meditation is simple, requires no equipment or purchases of any kind, and can be started today. My personal journey with meditation started a little more than eight years ago and, with the exception of a span of moments directly after the birth of my daughter, has been a daily practice. There is a tremendous amount of content surrounding meditation available to anyone seeking it. I have read none of it. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading, but the only process necessary to practice meditation is to find a place to sit and focus on your breath. The most common posture to meditate in is a cross-legged seat, keeping the back straight and natural. Be mindful of your posture. If you’re like me, you may begin to hunch or slouch as you become transfixed in your practice. Readjust yourself as necessary to ensure you are not constricting your internal organs. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up or down, whatever your individual preference. I would recommend a pillow or pad to sit on, allowing your crossed legs to hang slightly from the elevation. If you suffer from pain or cannot sit freely on the floor, a chair with a straight back is an acceptable substitute. Close your eyes and begin to take deep, slow breaths. Focus your attention and energy on your inhales and exhales, taking moments to pause in between. Repeat this process indefinitely until you have completed your session. A successful meditation session can be as little as ten minutes. My experience is that anything beyond fifty minutes becomes challenging because my legs and feet go numb from sitting in the same position for so long. Experiment and find what works best for you.
During your practice, you may find yourself caught in thought. It creeps up on you. One moment, you are in a state of deep relaxation melting into the wholeness of the moment. Another, imagining a possible future or reflecting on an inaccessible past. As you continue to develop your small ritual, you will notice that your distractions lessen in frequency but never completely dissipate. Eventually you will develop the ability to dissociate from your body, where your being and experience extend to the totality of your immediate present. You may feel that your body is not there. When you hear a bird outside your window, you understand that bird to be part of you in the most absolute sense. You gain a high awareness of being as the totality of the moment, as governed by the single truth.
When I first started, I would find myself frustrated with how frequently my meditation was interrupted by thought. Don’t waste your energy and focus on the misalignment of expectations as I did. Instead, reset and refocus on your breathing. The experience of meditation is like that of life. Constant distraction is completely out of your control. The thoughts just come to be. You don’t even realize your focus is broken, until you do. In that moment, the individual is acutely aware of their source of power: choice. Meditation is the active practice of coming to awareness of the immediate present and redirecting attention toward specific intention. It aligns us with the single truth and provides insight on the nature of being—insights like the loss of expectation, which may be applied to circumstances far beyond meditation. When the individual commits to meditation as a small ritual, they learn to expect nothing from the practice. Over time, the individual begins to apply their lack of expectation to the external universe.
Losing our expectations of the moment is the practice of observing the immediate present unattached. The idea that an outcome can be positive or negative is always related to individual expectations. We confuse the power of leveraging vision to fuel imagination and express creativity with the desire to accurately predict future moments. That we have expectations or classifications for happenings is a setup for failure and disappointment. It is not wrong to have preference, but it is wasted energy to focus on outcomes unaligned with our expectations. Instead, we learn to embrace the divinity of the moment by working toward specific objectives while disassociating personal value from the outcomes, positive or negative. Detachment is a state of being that we develop over time, one strongly reinforced by our practice of meditation. It helps us embrace the idea that although individuals control the direction of their focus and energy, they do not dictate the full scope of outcomes.
Consider the demoralizing work environment—management acting aggressively in approach and punitive in practice, creating an anxiety-inducing environment that attempts to leverage stress as a motivator. The practice of meditation supports an egoless approach to work. We recognize that our professional outcomes are in no way, shape, or form reflective of our individual values and divinity. When the individual dedicates focus and energy to the best of their ability and fails to achieve the results desired, the experience only serves to expand their humanity. The same may be said for well-supported critique, professional or personal. Feedback is nothing more than information exchange, comparing the expectations of one against the outcomes of another. Approach the moment with an intentional but stoic embrace. Do not object to anything; acknowledge your receipt of it. Be there, unafraid, unashamed, and unharmed. We become more by accepting past moments that were out of alignment with the vision of the universe we are creating, but we are not bound to the past any more than we are to an unknown future. Our embrace of criticism is not an obligation to act upon it; sometimes the perspective of others is incorrect or irrelevant. Be unafraid to reject those who might attempt to diminish you for their own empowerment. They have yet to acknowledge the single truth. Every individual will have changing hierarchies of priority throughout their experience in relation to their circumstance. Although we should approach all moments as opportunities to learn and expand ourselves, the individual retains the power of choice and redirection. With that said, never underestimate the value you provide through the wholeness of your being. You are worth more to the organization than the organization is worth to you. Make the best effort to adopt their methods and consider sharing alternative forms of organization in alignment with your present expertise or desired direction. Do not tolerate intentional dehumanization.
The practice of decoupling self-worth from circumstance is a long journey. We inhabit biological bodies that operate through a wide range of chemical and physical mechanisms. Feelings and thoughts come to us more often than we conjure them. Sometimes our bodies react to these experiences. We want to embrace emotion as an integral part of our observing experience while being able to dictate when we immerse ourselves in it. Meditation supports our ability to be observant of, but ultimately detached from, the intensity of our emotions in moments of stress. Meditation is a practice of connecting ourselves to what we know to be real: the immediate present. It helps free us from preconceptions of what should be in favor of embracing what is.
Meditation as a small ritual reinforces our personal understanding of the interweaving of our internal and external universes. With enough focus and energy, everyone can apply aspects of the meditative state to the immediate present. It could be argued that an aspect of mastery exists in meditation through the form of maintaining an immersion in active awareness. What historical religions would label a Buddha or Christ; individuals connected to the source. Visionary states are certainly possible within our experience, and we will explore them in a later section; however, they should not be prioritized as a milestone or measurement of success. The transcendent experiences that prolonged meditative practice can provide the individual are emergent; they are not something to be achieved. We undertake meditation as a small ritual for no purpose but to align our individual time experience with the single truth. Together our practice of meditation binds the self-actualizer to others. It is a core small ritual easily accessible to all that support our embrace of the single truth and the relational universe.