Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Importance of Ritual

We all have rituals in our lives, even if we don't think of them that way. For example, if you always start out your day by sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of tea, and that is a way you prepare yourself for your day's activities, that is a ritual. If you go for a walk every evening, quietly enjoying the sights and sounds, that is a ritual. If you do meditations, prayers or sing and dance every full moon to help you attune to the cycles of nature's energies, that is a ritual.

When we miss doing these things, we feel out of sync. That is because these regular parts of our lives help keep us oriented in the world. They give us a place to touch base and affirm our intentions. The importance of ritual is that it helps us connect with the world around us while finding some peace within. All rituals have their purpose, and the few simple ones I have named are for perspective. More often when we think of rituals, we think of big events, like weddings, graduations, house blessings, funerals, birthdays and other obvious big choices. But the little things we do all help us keep our bearing too, and give us a way of keeping in touch with the world in a personal way. Because even after the big rituals, comes the time when we settle in and digest the meaning of the big rituals.

The little rituals do the same thing, a little at a time. Some of the things we do we might not even call rituals. Then again, there might be changes in your life that you may feel calls for the creation of a special ritual, and these are becoming more popular too. Think of it. There are no established rituals in our culture for changing careers or divorce or fighting a major illness. Yet these are all things we face. Acknowledging these important passages can be very supportive in our journey.

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