Sunday, October 12, 2008

Costumes We Wear Every Day

Did you ever notice what happens when we wear special garments? Is it coincidence that priests and ministers in organized religions wear special garments when they come out to lead a ceremony? Is it surprising that even unorganized spiritual leaders like shamans and witches wear special garments when they come out to lead a ceremony?

For many years now, the formal attire for business men has been a suit and tie. Although there many businesses are more casual in their attire, people still frequently dress that way for business events. Think about the judge's robes. When we see that person enter the courtroom, we know that that is the person who will make all the final decisions. We might not be as clear on that if he were simply wearing the same suit and tie as the lawyers, plaintiffs, witnesses and defendants.

We expect to see doctors in white coats and the nurses in scrubs. How often do we see carpet cleaning, landscaping, or moving crews in uniforms. Certainly package delivery company drivers and postal employees. Even those who work in oil change shops, grocery stores and some restaurants wear uniforms.

Why is that? There are times and situations where simply a change of clothes lets everyone present know who is in charge, who is the employee and who is the customer. Visible symbols signal the course of action to be taken, the flow of energy initiated.

The same thing happens outside of church, outside of work. When we are going to a special event, we sometimes wear special clothes. It makes us feel different for an evening to wear a dress or a sport coat or sweater and slacks. Once again, we are initiating a course of action, a flow of energy. There is a different feeling in the air when you are dressed up for a dinner in an elegant restaurant or a symphony concert, and so are most of the other people.

Contrastingly, there is a different energy in the concert hall or restaurant when everyone is in jeans and tee shirts. Not better or worse, just different.

Even though we may not usually think of it in these terms, the special garments we wear set in motion a flow of energy that may influence our exchanges with people all day. And a suit and tie or dress may be just as much a ritual garment as a robe. So might a tee shirt and jeans.

Every day we are wearing a costume, even if we think we are not. Notice how different you feel according to how you dress. We live in altered states every day, but typically we only feel different when we do something far out of the normal range, like go to a costume party. Actually, every day is a costume party.

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