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What you don't seem to realize is that everyone has already achieved oneness with the universe(s). You can't help it, even if you choose not to recognize it.

Completely true, but I find it more fulfilling to stop and take the time to recognize it from time to time.

I think magick, ritual, prayer, meditation, etc. etc. etc. all can help one better focus your thoughts and feelings and energies, but I also feel that they are not necessary. Sometimes they can be counter productive. I think oftimes people do not use the rituals, etc. to help them focus their energies, but rather put all their energy into the ritual itself.

I think they are "tools'" to be used. Sometimes when I meditate, I get out my yoga wedge and blocks to help me sit properly. I put on some mellow music and put some relaxing essential oil in the burner. These things help me to chill out and concentrate, so they are tools that help me on my goal to mediate more deeply by acting as a focus. They are not requirements of mediation, and I can meditate without them, however, it takes me less time to get centered when I do these things.

I agree that it becomes counter-productive when mediation becomes about the goal of achieving a certain state of relaxation or holding a position for a certain time or any of the other things that could distract me from mediating.

I see ritual as part mental reminder to be aware and part tool to help me focus. If I were better at focusing, I would need less ritual. OTOH, sometimes rituals are fun in and of themselves.

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