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Spiritual Tool Series - Incense - Ritual Tool #2

Updated on October 4, 2012

Finding the right spiritual tools for your personal and spiritual empowerment practices

In my book, Finding Home Breaking Free from Limits, I talk about the benefits of having a toolbox full of spiritual tools available to fit every human need. Just like building a house, a good foundation that is crafted with the right tools, will provide sturdy support. I believe that discouragement can be the biggest enemy to those seeking a spiritual and personally empowering path. One antidote to overcome discouragement is having an immediate response when we begin to doubt our progress. Spiritual tools can provide that response. Having a toolbox full of spiritual tools is an excellent way to forge ahead to experience a life of unlimited divine blessings.

This article is part of a series that I have been writing for Hubpages. The series is intended to share a toolbox full of spiritual tools. What works well for one person, may not be another's cup of tea. The spiritual tool must resonate with you, meaning it must be something that you feel would benefit you and work well for your mindset and personal habits. Please feel free to read the introduction on spiritual tools that I have already written within the other article series by clicking on any of the links inside of this article. Within this introduction, I share the benefits of using spiritual tools to pursue a powerful and enlightening spiritual path.

In this particular article, I am introducing another ritual as a spiritual tool. The first article in the series for the spiritual tool of ritual, talked about the inspiring ways that ritual has been used for centuries in religious and ceremonial events. Rituals can be extremely private and personal, or by way of collective consciousness, be euphorically inspiring. While we are working toward a deeper and richer spiritual life and focusing our lives in the direction of personal and spiritual wellness, rituals can be tremendously useful. I invite you to read the introduction of using ritual as a spiritual tool in your spiritual journey, by clicking on the link above in this paragraph.


Ritual #2 - Using Incense


The use of incense has been part of ancient cultural and religious ceremony and rituals for centuries. It is an effective psychological trigger to pull the mind into a specific state of consciousness. Incense is primarily used as a ritual to enhance and facilitate deep spiritual cleansing or purification, (very prevalent in Native American culture), as well as spiritual transformation and prayer. Incense may be burned to produce an offering (which could be a prayer, a small symbolic token, or healing thoughts), to God or to the world. Ameeta Mehra of the Gnostic Center of India, says, “When I light an incense stick and offer it to God, I symbolize my aspiration to burn with that fire and fragrance. I am, in effect, offering my Self to the Divine." Burning incense creates an atmosphere of healing and spiritual power to establish an environment for spiritual connection and/or sacred self-practices.

Everyone knows the powerful influence certain scents can have on people. Scents like baking bread or cookies, pine or cedar, floral scents, or fresh and calming scents, such as eucalyptus, citrus, fruity scents, consistently trigger pleasing and emotionally stimulating responses from most people. There is a reason the candle and scent markets do very well, and that is because these smells and scents make us feel good. They literally can raise our dopamine and serotonin levels significantly, especially when combined with other stimulus, such as touch or soft music. Likewise, incense will establish a specific state, once incorporated as part of a daily ritual that will quickly and energetically place you in a state of mind to accomplish your spiritual practices.

Burning incense creates an essence and a mood that help to create very powerful and effective spiritual experiences. Incense, by their unique and heavy scent, connects us to a deeply mystical and earthy ambiance. When used as a part of a daily or regular ritual ceremony, the use of incense powerfully cues a connection with whatever your intentions are within your spiritual practice, whether it be to accompany you during your prayer or meditation, or while you relax reading a book or in the bath.

Look for creative ways to incorporate incense into your existing spiritual practices as a way to add another effective tool into your spiritual toolbox. Enhancing your existing practices with incense burning can give your practice new and expanded meaning. I like to remind those that are using spiritual tools to gain an expanded and more awakened consciousness to the Divine, to remember that tools are not instant access to awakening; they help point us to the way, by enriching our practices and our experiences to open up the heart and the soul.

Below are a couple of additional ideas to incorporate the ritual of incense burning into your spiritual toolbox:

Cleansing and purifying: Add the burning of incense to a morning or evening ritual to specifically focus on purifying or cleansing the mind, body and spirit. You can even perform a small incense ceremony using burning incense in a cup to walk around a room to cleanse the energy and vibrations in the room to restore peace. Performing metaphorical and symbolic cleaning and purifying rituals using incense is a centuries old practice and you may also find it to be very powerful and effective to help reach specific spiritual goals, such as renewal, peace, clarity, and releasing of negative energy.

Offering: Using a small ceremony of burning incense, along with deep quiet and stillness, to connect with a higher divine energy can be very moving and inspiring. You can offer prayers to others, offer love and gratitude to God, offer yourself to the Divine, or just bask in Universal Good, which when accompanied by burning incense can enhance these sacred experiences.

Relaxation and Stress Relief: Add incense to your existing relaxation practices, such as meditation, yoga, bubble baths or listening to soft music. This added sense stimulation adds a richness and completeness to some of these activities. If you ever find yourself in super stressed out mode, as much as you will be tempted to embrace the turmoil, begin to shift your consciousness to peace right away by lighting incense. The smell will immediately trigger a peaceful response. Add some of your other favorite peace makers to this exercise, such as candles, soft music, or fuzzy sweat pants.

Creating an Atmosphere: I love to spend an evening at home, doing whatever, surrounded in a peaceful atmosphere enhanced with candles and incense in the home. Using incense amplifies a peaceful, yet vibrant atmosphere in the home. Try it!


Nice to Meet You!

Joleen (Bridges) Halloran is the author of Finding Home - Breaking Free from Limits. This book represents over 10 years of research and inspiration in the topics of personal and spiritual empowerment and provides readers with a pathway to overcome limits and discover authentic divine qualities in their lives and to live a life of unlimited freedom. .

Beyond Joleen's professional life, she is an avid reader and researcher of books related to her special passion, which is metaphysical and spirituality topics. You can find out more about Joleen's book at her books website, www.breakingfreefromlimits.com. Additional articles of a spiritual and inspirational nature can be found at the book's website as well.

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      Joleen 5 years ago from Lee's Summit

      Thanks Marei! I agree. I recently added incense to what I like to call my "evening quiet time" and my boyfriend loved the smell. Sometimes now he asks me to burn some incense when we sit down to watch TV. Love the "voodoo" comment from the kids. My kids think I'm a little woowoo as well, but mark my words, they'll be running to us when they need spiritual support - lol! Then we'll see who's woowoo or "voodoo" in your case.

    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I enjoyed this. It reinforces the need for ritual. When I left the church, I began to put together my own rituals because I missed that part of worship. Mine often involve candles, rocks in a bowl of water, bits of grass, earth, a wild turkey feather, etc. I think ritual is important. My children call it my "voodoo," but it grounds me and the very act of putting it together is an act of worship. Thank you for the hub. I have used incense in the past. I think whatever makes us feel more focused and spiritual is what our ritual should be. Voted up.

      marsei