Ritual as Practice - Ritual as Liberation
adjective rit·u·al \ˈri-chə-wəl, -chəl; ˈrich-wəl\
Simple Definition of ritual
- : done as part of a ceremony or ritual
- : always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time
We often look at ritual as something we do over and over that takes discipline. But that assigns a negative connotation to it, because we often see discipline as something negative, like it's a punishment.
It takes discipline to get up in the morning when we want to stay in bed.
It takes discipline to not eat the bag of cookies.
It takes discipline to do our practice.
But ritual is far from being something negative. In fact, it is something that can lead us to liberation. Think of that. Who wouldn't want to feel liberated?
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”
― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Ritual at first might just seem redundant: “I'm doing this again, like I did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, etc.” But the beauty is, as you persevere, a transformation takes place. Ritual is like a locked door that you try to open everyday, and everyday, you manage to turn the door handle just a little bit, until one time it turns all the way and the door opens.
What is on the other side of that door? Liberation.
Liberation in various forms.
One form is that your ritual is now a habit. It flows easier, it moves easier.
Your ritual is now also something you look forward to.
Your ritual is now a part of you and you are a part of it.
Your ritual expands you mind, your body, your spirit, and most importantly, your awareness.
This expansion liberates you. It allows new ideas, new information, new visions to come in. Your creativity shifts and becomes the process that removes the door completely, leaving just the portal.
Repetition is what allows something brand new to occur. Repetition, like the lapping of ripples against a rock, gently shifts the ground on which we tread, and so alters our relationship to the things we experience.
—Anne C. Klein, "Revisiting Ritual"
So keep up with your practice. And when you feel like turning away, feel like abandoning it, don't. This is when the door is ready to open, so stay with it.
Chop Wood / Carry Water /Play Gongs™