One thing I have noticed in life, is that the areas I have the most resistance to, are often the places where there is rich treasure for personal growth.
Just a few years ago the very word ‘ritual’ had a powerful aversion for me. You see, I had developed the idea that doing rituals had to look a certain way, and I that I would have to become someone different in order to do them ‘properly’. (In particular dressing in swathes of black velvet and lace, wafting incense, and making strange incantations in a muddy field came to mind).
I was enlightened by the awesome Barbara Carrellas on her fabulous Urban Tantra Training. Through the training I discovered that ritual has nothing to do with concepts or performance; it has everything to do with the intention you bring to the moment.
We perform routines every day – from brushing our teeth in the morning to the special pants we wear in special situations. When we imbue our routines with meaning, and perform them with a specific intention, then they become rituals.
What do you give meaning to in your life?
Many people find themselves feeling disconnected or overwhelmed with the busy-ness of life. The dissolving of many of the old forms (family, church, etc.) has meant that we have lost our anchors and find ourselves lost at sea. Without connection to community, season and the celebration of shared experience, life can blur into an amalgamous mass where there is less differentiation between our days.
Rituals are those anchors that mark the moments of life. They connect us to the deeper patterns and purpose of existence.
Rituals do not need to be complex. They can be simple steps that generate greater awareness in the every day. Here are a few simple rituals for every day personal practise…
Give thanks before eating
The practise of saying “Grace” is rather out-dated, but why not get ahead of the curve and reintroduce at your meal times? Saying “Grace” nourishes your soul as well as your belly!
Doug and I like to ‘weave’ a prayer, meaning everyone at the table has the opportunity to contribute their words of gratitude and acknowledgement.
We start with the phrase “Blessings on the food” and then everyone adds their own “Blessings on the…” Often it gets quite comical as people find more and more things to bless. The sacred doesn’t have to be serious!
Take a breath
Before you start anything – and I really mean anything from eating to poo-ing, writing to speaking, and everything else in between – take a breath.
The sacred is simply a breath away and we call our awareness to it when we take a moment to connect back in with the source of life.
Everything begins and ends with the breath.
(Deep gratitude to Avanti for suggesting this practise to me. It has been tremendously helpful.)
Wash it all away
If you take a shower or bath as part of your regular routine, you can imbue it with greater significance than simply removing dirt from your body.
Water is a wonderful element for cleaning ourselves energetically as well as physically. As you wash your body, imagine yourself washing away all the stuff of the day (experiences, thoughts, feelings) that might be clinging to you, and you no longer want. Let them be released in the flow of the water so that your whole being becomes refreshed.
Consecrate your love-making
Whether partnered or solo sexual experience, inviting divinity into your love-making, brings it to a whole new dimension.
The Tantric ritual of ‘Namaste’, brings awareness to the God/Goddess/Beingness within each of us. Namaste – “I honour the Divine in you”. Namaste is a bow offered as a gesture of honouring.
Sit face to face (if you are doing this alone you can look yourself in a mirror) and gaze into the other’s eyes for a few moments.
As you breathe in, bring your hand together in prayer position in front of your heart. Connect with a feeling of love.
As you breathe out, you both bring your forehead forward to touch the other. Close the eyes and focus awareness in between the brows in the place known as the third eye.
Take a few breaths together in the space and feel the unity between you.
With an in-breath, again you part.
Start your day your way
Morning time, when we first wake up, is a rich time for setting our intentions and even ‘vibration’ for the day. So how do you start your day? What is the first activity you turn your mind to? Is this aligned to how you wish your day to unfold? Do you start the day your way or do the demands of others (whether physically or virtually) take over?
Over the years I have done many different practises of meditation and exercise in the morning. Sometimes I get stuck on the question of “What’s the right thing for me to be doing at this time?” “Is it yoga, or shaking, or silent meditation? Or should I be writing those ‘Morning Pages’ I hear so much about? Or checking my emails?” And so on, and so on…
Just recently I have come to the realisation that what you do is way less important than having an intention, showing up to do it, and doing it consistently! It’s the commitment and dedication to your own personal practise, your own unique daily ritual, that really makes the difference.
Currently my ritual is to read a lesson from “A Course in Miracles” whilst drinking my morning coffee. Then chanting the Gayatri Mantra 108 times. The intention I hold for this practise is deeper connection to the Divine. For me it feels like when I show up in that intention, it offers a clear and strong message to Life. And Life can show up to meet me.
What is it that you most desire to experience in your life? How can you call this in through your daily routines? What is one simple thing you could do to create a truly blessed existence?