November 15, 2014

Using Rituals to Create Consciousness.

screenshot_5511Our sons, Nathaniel and Aaron, are surfers.

 A number of years ago, in the heat of their adolescent-surf-passion, we observed the boys engaging in a curious ritual. Before heading to the ocean for a surf session, they’d gather with their buddies, sit in front of the TV and watch a surf DVD.

The sun would be shining.

They’d be in their board shorts, shirtless, staring at the screen. We didn’t get it.

“What’re you doing watching DVDs when you could be out surfing?” we asked, “Why don’t you just go out?”

“We’re getting into shred mode.” Aaron explained without taking his eyes from the TV.

Uhhh –shred mode?

What’s shred mode?

When surfers are performing at their peak, they call it shredding. It’s not just catching a wave. That’s ordinary surfing. Shredding is more. It’s when they’re cutting through the water, turning and twisting the fins of their board, releasing parabolic sprays of white water, flying through the air. That’s shredding.

Shredding is meditation-in-action.

It’s a seamless integration, a fully-experienced-unity of surfer, ocean and the relationship between the two. It’s a radiant embodied state, where stillness and motion, awareness and action, merge into a blissful in-the-moment revelation. It shreds.

Of course, shred mode isn’t reserved for surfers.

The experience of embodied unity, of this blissful in-the-moment revelation is available to all of us. And curiously, the boys little DVD ritual points the way. Here’s how.

There’s science behind this DVD ritual.

It’s based on potent body/mind principle called state dependent learning which suggests that everything you’ve experience or learned is encoded into your neurology.


Shredding is encoded in your neurology, as is stumbling. Confidence is there, as is doubt. The list goes on and on because it includes every mode of consciousness. But, not just as an abstraction—as neurological pattern, an embodied way of being.

Because each mode of consciousness has a corresponding neurological pattern.

When you’re in the confidence mode of consciousness, the corresponding neural network is active. Same for sadness. Joy. Frustration.

But here’s the key to state dependent learning: by intentionally invoking a mode of consciousness, you can activate the corresponding neural pattern. You can intentionally activate and strengthen the neural networks—by choice.

It’s why yogis chant mantras.

It’s why they meditate on loving kindness. It’s why mystics attune to wisdom, and reflect deeply on the sacred teachings. All of them are intentionally invoking modes of consciousness; they’re strengthening the neural networks of awakened presence; they’re increasing their capacity to realize, embody, and express the Wisdom Heart.

They’re performing rituals.

A ritual is a conscious practice entering a mode of consciousness and strengthening the corresponding neural pattern. Chanting, meditating and watching surf DVDs—if engaged with intention and attention—are rituals.

When Nathaniel and Aaron watched those surf videos they were performing a ritual. They were invoking the state of shred mode and thus activating the neurological pattern that supported shredding. Their DVD ritual neurologically primed them to deepen and expand their embodiment of, um, shred.

What mode of consciousness do you want to realize, embody, and express?

There are many beautiful modes of being—peace, wisdom, compassion. Might we make a suggestion?


Gratitude is a beautiful mode of consciousness.

When you’re in gratitude mode, you’re liberated from patterns of self-confinement. Gratitude opens you to receive the, as yet, untapped energies, insights and blessings of life. Gratitude reveals the wisdom that is present in this moment.

Join us for 10-days of gratitude rituals (it’s free).

This ritual is called the Gratitude-a-Palooza.

For 10 days from November 17 to 27, we’ll send you a daily teaching, practice, inspiration for invoking the state of gratitude and strengthening the neural network that will deepen your moment-to-moment experience of gratitude.

It’s kind of like getting into shred mode for life.

Because, when you’re in the state of gratitude, you can surf whatever waves life brings with awareness, grace, and wisdom.


Click here to join the Gratitude-a-Palooza.

Let’s shred, shall we?


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Author: Eric Klein

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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