Wisdom

How to Design Your Dream Life and Activate Your Highest Potential, One Ritual at a Time


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Ritual dynamics is a pragmatic modality for building a lifestyle in alignment with the principles of right relation. It is a psycho-spiritual technology—an intricate interweaving of art, science, psychology, mindfulness, and spiritual practice.

Image: This is your brain on ritual dynamics. Original painting by Michael Garfield.

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Mastery is almost universally appealing.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like the idea of having an aesthetically perfect body, exhibiting perfect mental and spiritual poise, manifesting financial prosperity, or being a virtuoso pianist.

I’m ineluctably drawn to the archetype of the psycho-spiritually sculpted Jedi entrained to the resonance pattern of a higher-order self-organizing principle, inwardly carried onward toward the goal of co-creating a noospheric, planetary culture.

Perhaps you share my inclinations.

Regardless of what outward form self-mastery takes, one thing’s for sure: it isn’t just a personal pursuit. The more masterfully you are able to live, the greater asset you become to the planetary mind—and the more capable you become of positively influencing the world.

Personal and planetary activation are intimately intertwined.

Here’s the issue, though: an exceedingly small number of individuals actually undertake the work that gaining mastery requires.

Many would attribute this inaction to a lack of ambition, but I like to view things more optimistically. I believe that there are two primary reasons that people don’t walk the path to mastery: they either assume that herculean efforts and inborn talents are required, or they simply don’t know where to begin.

Sure, any kind of mastery involves some degree of difficulty…but these limiting beliefs are much bigger barriers to mastery than the difficulty itself. Try to replace them with this empowering belief: There is a process by which any intention can be actualized, and every process begins with a single action.  

This statement intimates the practice paradigm to which all mastery can be traced. I like to call it ritual dynamics.

The science of personal mastery

Ritual dynamics is a pragmatic modality for building a lifestyle in alignment with the principles of right relation. It is a psycho-spiritual technology—an intricate interweaving of art, science, psychology, mindfulness, and spiritual practice.

It is a language composed of intentions and actions, a grammatical system for the recalibration and programming of the body-mind. It is a way to un-conceal your core frequency, connect to your highest intuition, and live a healthier, happier, more masterful life.

Let’s start with the basics.

A ritual is an intentionally patterned action that is carried out in recurring fashion in order to achieve a specified end. I prefer this word over habit, which I think can refer to any repeated action—whether that action is intentional, unconscious, or pathological.

If the word “ritual” brings up associations with magical ceremonies and esoteric incantations, great…that’s exactly what I was going for. Remember: in a previous article, I defined magic as “the codified ability to manifest a desire by willfully manipulating the higher-order, archetypal structures governing a certain context or set of variables.”

Put most simply, magic is the ability to achieve a desired outcome through personal will…and the paradigm of ritual dynamics is the correlated discipline by which this feat can be accomplished.

These definitions above should reveal that ritual dynamics can be applied to much more than learning the piano or getting six-pack abs (those of you who have followed my articles for any length of time know that I have a penchant for esotericism). It is an unlimited design process, of which you are the creator and guide.

Ritual dynamics is not only a means through which worldly goals can be achieved; it is also the underlying syntax of spiritual practice and the compass of your evolutionary progression.

In order to optimize one’s leverage on the path to mastery, rituals must be synergistically combined to form a ritual systemwhich may be defined as the qualitative complex of all rituals that are unified by the same intention.

You will almost always have multiple ritual systems operating in your life: one that qualitatively describes the totality of your rituals (which are unified by the general intention of “living the life I want to live” or something like that) and others that qualitatively describe a set of rituals designed for an express purpose (e.g. Hatha yoga, strength training, and cardio work, which are unified by the specific intention to be physically fit).

Designing your ritual system

The process of ritual design has two main aspects: the strategy required to configure a ritual system that is perfect for you, and the momentum required to maintain the system’s integrity.

A ritual system must be strategically planned in accordance with both your intentions and your specific inclinations. If you want to improve your cardiovascular health but have a bum knee, swimming is probably a better option than running. If you want to improve your subtle awareness but have a karmic history of negative experiences involving hypnosis or mind control, you should be careful with modalities that induce strong trance states.

Keep in mind that this is not a process of applying brute force. The goal is to make immersion in your ritual system as natural and effortless as possible through the creation of synergy. This practice is like a psychodynamic form of synergetics, to borrow from Buckminster Fuller’s nomenclature.

Ritual dynamics is an applied alchemy of intention and action, which weaves the physical body-mind together with the energetic architecture of thought, emotion, and will.

In order to maintain momentum within your strategically created ritual system (i.e. not falling off the wagon), you can employ a principle called ritual cascadethe idea that positive rituals beget more positive rituals; they tend to create a positive cascade.

For example, if you’re trying to eat more healthily, doing so for the first meal of the day will help set the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re trying to deepen your meditation practice (or start one), precede your session with mantra, energetic clearing, or activities that alternate between activating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (like yoga)—you’ll fall into dhyana (Sanskrit for “deep meditation”) much more easily.

Dhyana is the entranceway into Samadhi, which could also be called that-state-where-real-magic-is-always-possible. But that’s jumping ahead….mastery takes place one small action at a time.

Like neural networks, karmic grooves, and canyons carved by rainwater, a resonance pattern slowly will emerge out of your repeated ritual systems. It will grow in intensity, acting as a driving beat that keeps you in time with your highest intentions.

And the bliss that you feel when resonating with this frequency will deepen, as well.

Over time, you’ll learn what strengthens your desired resonance patterns, and what weakens them—what helps you entrain more deeply to these higher patterns, and what takes you further from them. Anything that falls on the helpful side of this fence could be called a bio-resonant entrainment tool.

Bio-resonant entrainment tools come in many forms: nutrient-dense foods, supplements, nutriceuticals, entheogens, plant medicines, psychedelics, essential oils, books, spirit-tech like crystals, orgonite, and ORME’s, mantra, or any form of systematic spiritual practice, just to name a few.

And let’s not forget things like long hugs and the smell after the rain…those totally qualify too.

Find the tools that work for you, weave them into a ritual system that makes your soul sing, and dedicate yourself to creating resonance patterns that will set you and your planet free.

Don’t mistake ritual design for mindless routine

Make no mistake: ritual dynamics is not about building a personal prison of boring, linear action steps. An ideal ritual system is trans-logical; it requires surrender and intuition, as well as the ability to find a balance between discipline and flow.

So keep it creative.

Creativity is inherently disruptive. It stems from the principles of emergence and spontaneity, and as such has little to do with structured process. It is an irrational departure from prescribed action—a departure that will keep your ritual system full of life and immediacy.

The goal is to entrain the body-mind system to self-organizing principles…not to turn yourself into a machine.

You’ll know you’re on the right track during moments when being in right relation is intuitive and effortless. When you feel your actions being compelled by a sense of shame-and-guilt-motivated duty or obligation, beware.

When guilt and shame start to rear their ugly heads, it’s time for some creative disruption. Rediscover your flow through pattern interruption and spontaneous reprogramming.

This doesn’t mean that you should break all your positive rituals and go buck wild. Instead, alter your core ritual system subtly, switch the order in which you perform ritual actions, or allow yourself a small reprieve from one of your rituals.

For example: I endeavor to start out every day with a cold shower and a meditation session (in that order). On days when I find myself dreading my icy morning ritual (usually in the middle of winter), I often descend into a kind of moral quandary—I become mired in the battle between “I want” and “I should.”

To break this unhelpful pattern, I alter my ritual system in a way that balances positive reinforcement and discipline. Here’s some examples…

Subtly altering the ritual system: I’ll add something momentarily enjoyable to the ritual system, like reading a book and relaxing for thirty minutes before taking a cold shower. Or, I’ll substitute the shower for something that has a similar effect, like taking a brisk morning walk (assuming that it’s cold outside).

Switching the order of the ritual system: I’ll simply meditate before taking a cold shower, in order to achieve creative disruption by mixing things up a bit.

Offering a reprieve: I’ll give myself the day off from my cold shower ritual, but I’ll promise to return to the ritual after a specified length of time. My internal dialogue usually sounds something like this: “Why am I being so hard on myself? I take a cold shower every morning. I can take a nice, warm shower today, and I can do so guilt-free, because I promise to return to my cold shower ritual tomorrow morning.”

So are you still with me?

Just remember these three aspects of ritual dynamics…

1. Set intentions that align with your core frequency.

2. Design ritual systems that make these intentions real.

3. Create resonance patterns that cement these actualized intentions.

What daily rituals have changed your life for the better? What rituals would you like to start integrating into your life? What do you think about all this ritual dynamics mumbo-jumbo? Please share your comments and questions below.


Author

Ryan Greendyk

Ryan Greendyk is a conscious internet entrepreneur, writer, kundalini yoga teacher, psychonaut, and sacred space creator. He's pretty fond of tea ceremonies, entheogens, bass-beat wizardry and techno-shamanism, superfoods, gifting, fire spinning, alternative healing modalities, spontaneous outbursts of love, and spending quality time with God and friends. In a nutshell, he's dedicated to delivering others to their highest selves through the creation and promotion of communities, cultures, products, and programs built upon creativity, intentional play, and spiritual self-mastery. He is the Founder of Lightlab and the Producer of Lightlab Events.

  • Charles Johnston

    Well said Ryan! Thank you for shedding light on this subject. Showing some of the pitfalls was also helpful. And reading this helps me align myself more acuretely. Reading this strengthened my knowledge and I find it gives me a better understanding of my personal ritual style approach and process. Bravo!

  • Andrew Stocker

    I definitely find myself lacking the larger discipline and routine that I feel like I’ve been called to enact more. I easily go to the creative flow space but I look forward to bringing more ritual and intention to my life with daily practice. Thanks Brother

  • Aaron Johnston

    Love this! I would love to hear more examples of rituals that you have incorporated into your daily flow. Personally, I find that my daily rituals have a foundational aspect of being in service, whether to my relationship with spirit, the collective, or specific commitments and devotions in my life. My workouts, meditations, meals, and entertainment time are all in service to my holistic health and create the capacity to act in alignment with my greater sense of service and purpose. I would love to go a bit deeper into creating more unconventional, challenging, and exciting rituals to enliven the daily routine. Thanks for the inspiration…

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