How Do Rituals Help Us?

Rituals are a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals, like play, create “as if” worlds through the imaginative capacity of the mind.

The practice of ritual helps us to live together in a broken world. Ritual is work, endless work. But it is among the most important things we do. 

Ritual and Its Consequences
Adam Seligman, Robert Weller

What Is Qi?

Chinese character for Qi

Energy of Life

Qi (pronounced chē) is the energy that fuels living – it’s the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine.

In Chinese philosophy, we are born with Qi, or prenatal energy, which we get from our mothers, and we receive energy from various outside sources such as the food we eat, our environments, and from rest.

Worldwide Concept

Qi is Chinese — similar words and concepts can be found throughout a wide range of culture and history, including:

  • Prana in Hindu/Sanskrit  
  • Ki in Japanese
  • Pneuma in ancient Greek
  • Lung in Tibetan
  • Mana in Hawaiian
  • Ruah in Hebrew
  • Bioelectricity in contemporary scientific language
  • The Force in the pop cultural language of Star Wars

Cultivating Qi: The Root of Energy, Vitality, and Spirit
David Clippinger

What’s Happening Right Now?

This Moment

Everything is happening right now. There is no other time. Freedom, peace, joy, suffering, sadness, birth, aging, sickness, and death are all found in this moment. In order to understand your life and yourself, you must first come to this understanding.

A Fool’s Guide to Actual Happiness
Mark Van Buren

What Was “In The Beginning”?

In the Beginning

In the beginning was not the word; that much is clear. Not that the universe of the living was ever simple, quite the contrary. It was complex from its inception, four billion years ago. Life sailed forth without words or thoughts, without feelings or rea­sons, devoid of minds or consciousness. And yet living organisms sensed others like them and sensed their environments. By sensing I mean the detection of a “presence”—of another whole organism, of a molecule located on the surface of another organ­ism or of a molecule secreted by another organism. Sensing is not perceiving, and it is not construct­ing a “pattern” based on something else to cre­ate a “representation” of that something else and produce an “image” in mind. On the other hand, sensing is the most elementary variety of cognition.

Feeling and Knowing: Making Minds Conscious
Antonio Damasio

How Can We Transform Our Mind?

Transforming Our Mind

We can transform our mind by thinking on these four topics:

  • Love.
  • Compassion
  • Sympathetic joy.
  • Equanimity.

These attitudes are essential ingredients for our own happiness, peace of mind, and health, as well as for beneficial, satisfying relationships and interactions with others.

Cultivating these thoughts diminishes our habitual attitudes of self-grasping and self-centeredness, which disturb our peace of mind and lead to problems such as hatred for enemies, envy for rivals, and clinging to family and friends.

Awakening the Kind Heart
Kathleen McDonald