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"Turning down the volume on the cognitive control network helps mute the voice of the inner critic".

Rituals and creativity have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for as long as humans have sculpted meaning and beauty from a world we can struggle to interpret. Aztec nobles performed for Xochipilli, God of the arts. The ancient Chinese cast hexagrams invoking the universal creative force. Hindus sang Vedic Sanskrit hymns to Saraswati, Goddess of creativity.

Like creative flow, ritual promotes thought suppression–tuning out the inner critic, dampening brain chatter, centering and focusing the mind, and decreasing anxiety before executing complex tasks. Conscious control, which can stop a flow state, is released via ritual automation.


When the inner critic and mental chatter are quieted, novel ideas are born and random associations collide. Mental effort and control are relinquished to procedural memory, a type of memory that allows skill and expertise to take over.  


Ritual does not have to be complicated. It is a fixed, episodic sequence of actions characterized by repetition and is embedded in a larger system of symbolism and meaning.


Here are some rituals that I find help ground and guide me to flow state in my daily practice.


Further information can be found in the bibliography,

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