Using Ritual to Collect the Mind

When you live in a monastery, there’s all these orthodox ways of coming together–with ritual and with chanting.  The purpose of them is to compose the mind and collect the mind.  That’s obviously one of the most difficult things to do.  Our minds are just easily scattered off into worry, or annoyance, or whatever it may be.  Just having to collect your mind on a ritualized choreography is actually very, very helpful.  If you get into it, it also has this devotional quality–a quality of the heart–that actually helps to prepare your mind for meditation.