For me rituals and spirituality go hand in hand, both support each other and offer a true path to personal freedom and happiness.
Rituals are simply conscious acts that you may chose to do regularly, be it daily, weekly or even annually. They can be spiritual in nature or simple acts that can enrich your day. Yoga, meditation, prayer, pilgrimages, music, poetry and even cooking can be considered a ritual if performed with heart and meaning.
Spirituality for me is an expression of sacredness which helps me to connect with my truth and the greater universal forces of which we are all part of. It can be a powerful way to support the search for meaning and purpose in life.
Spiritual rituals can create divineness and grace in what some would consider the mundane everyday. They can become somewhat symbolic in helping us connect to our higher consciousness, mother nature and/or our creator. It is a true act of the heart and is known as bhakti.
Our ancient ancestors have used rituals for centuries. They have gathered in ritualistic circles to communicate and connect with the divine and each other through singing, dance, storytelling and prayer. They chant, they retreat, they do asanas, they embody the earth and its cycles, and they meditate.
Meditation has become one of the main rituals serving me in bountiful ways each day. It provides a space to surround myself in pure awareness and love. Free from the continued tapping of thoughts about the past or the future, things which are actually non-existent.
Worrying about the future or the past is simply limiting your potential for a positive reality in the given moment. If we can learn to starve our thoughts of energy, we can start to quieten the mind and the blurred projections we send into reality about not only ourselves but others and situations.
We can escape the suffering created by the tornado of thoughts whirling around most human minds. Minds full of stories, fantasies, doubts, fears and judgments, all of which are vibrating at a very low frequency causing blockages and tension in the body. Quieting the mind of these thoughts naturally clears the way for high vibrational emotional states such as joy, hope and love.
Meditation and a holistic yogic life aims to balance our gunas (qualities) so they are attuned to your own personal truth, your life purpose or personal dharma. Why do we need to follow our dharma? To free ourselves from a tense, agitated and unhappy inner world… to access the happiness and contentment that is within us all. To exist more fully in sattva (beingness).
Meditation and most rituals for that matter require a few things. Firstly, to mindfully seperate yourself from the routine like daily energy that surrounds you. This can be done through breathing, chanting or a prayer like greeting or expression of gratitude. Secondly, you need an anchor to ensure you stay present. Anchors can be the breathe, a guided journey, a candle, the job/task at hand or a statue for instance of your guru. Thirdly, simply close your practice in a meaningful way. As mediation is a solo effort my teacher, Swami Pujan suggests journaling as a good way to monitor your progress.
Meditation can help you develop self awareness, better concentration, internal peace, good health and knowledge of our oneness with all. Through meditation, in particular group meditation we can reach a critical mass of higher consciousness and a knowing that we are all one.
Do you have rituals which enrich your life or rituals that don’t serve you well?
Do they feed you love or feed agitation and cravings?
Your rituals may be simple daily acts to honour the creator or your god. They may pay respect for and provide offerings to seasonal cycles to deepen your connection with nature. They may be rituals to support a group, couple or individual through birth, death and marriage or simply be the ways in which you celebrate traditional festivals with family and friends.
Daily cleansing rituals are also a big part of my self-care practices. These include the food I choose to eat, the products I choose to use and the techniques I use to restore and clean my body. Plus, rather than simply going through the motions and rushing through the daily “chores,” you can transform these things into ritualistic acts of self love or gratitude, and then the once mundane will start to bring you more happiness. As my yogi guru Luke says, “do chores with love and presence.”
Whatever your rituals, perform them with meaning and gratitude for the amazingness of life. This I can guarantee will do nothing but sweeten your existence and awaken your ability to see the oneness surrounding you!
~ THE AWAKENING ~
Her suffering is my suffering.
Her happiness is my happiness.
My suffering is her.
My happiness is her.
We are one, we always were one.
The world, including humanity and nature are one.
We disappear in this oneness to nothing… we are nothing, but pure awareness.
This is the biggest gift of all.
HELLO BLISS 4 WEEK MEDITATION BLOCK
Coming in 2017 ~ Avoca Beach
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Image Source: Artist unknown. Sourced from pinterest.