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A Ritual Life

Stand Up, Reason Out and know life

shrine

Sacred space via Arjuna Vallabha

We are creatures of habit and we unconsciously create many rituals in our lives such as waking time in the morning and retiring time in the evening, watching a particular genera of movie, drinking a particular beverage when we feel thirsty or eating certain types of foods. Some people keep their houses clean because they know it makes them feel good and in contrast some people due to laziness or belief live in squalor although some are forced into that situation by social deprivation.

Many years ago the concept of feng shui spread through the modern world, a system of home design and layout to facilitate harmonious energy flow combined with comforts to please the senses and create spaces that inspire original thinking and clarity of emotion. It is a very common practice in Catholic ourselves to have a small place in the house to sit in contemplation in front of images that of the preferred saints and most often the Virgin Mary.

This idea of having a sacred space with the home is perhaps most prevalent for people who have a clear sense of spiritual practice. They want a clean space with iconography/images that inspire them toward the divine. This allows space for prayer, meditation, physical yoga exercises and other spiritual practices. Because these ideas originated in India there is a great similarity right down to the lighting of a candle although some people prefer just a small electric light.

There is a consensus amongst spiritual practitioners that having such a ritual space in the home is highly advantageous because time spent engaged in a personal ritual within what is ideally a consecrated space helps one to appreciate the nature of reality and deal with the complexities of our current social structure.

"Fools pretend to be followers of this or that spiritual giant, and although they may be without power, endeavour to teach humanity to believe blindly.

Believe what? To believe blindly is to degenerate the human soul. Be an atheist, if you want, but do not believe in anything unquestioningly. Why degrade the soul to the level of animals? You not only hurt yourselves thereby, but you injure society, and make danger for those, that come after you. Stand up and reason out, having no blind faith.

Religion is a question of being and becoming, not of believing. This is religion, and when you have attained to that, you have religion. Before that you are no better than the animals." ~ Swami Vivekananda

The actual rituals as outlined above, meditation, contemplation or other activity performed with deliberation and mindfulness require no particular belief, simply a desire for the spirit to be more clear and refreshed. The time spent engaged in ritual practices is whatever you have time for yet it is best formed as a same time of day and can involve the whole process of action steps.

  1. Be mindful of the time for consistency and shower or bathe before entering the space you have created. Perhaps the old saying that cleanliness is next to godliness is valid here also, but a shower or bath refreshes body and mind so that when you attend your ritual space you are prepared as you would for any special formal occasion although any particular clothing has little relevance although cotton is best depending on your climate.
  2. Light a candle and bring your hands together in front of your chest. As explained in the video, this helps to activate your subtle nervous system and opens a door to a wider sense of perception and is helped by consciously becoming appreciative of life. You can also make offerings of water and flowers and if you use a candle offer up the flame to whatever you perceive to be the divine principle.
  3. Sometimes taking a couple of minutes to be appreciative of life and what you have is enough. But the body of your actual practice depends on what you know and sometimes believe although the ritual may give you you the opportunity to suspend belief to allow your perception to evolve.
  4. When completing your practice, give thanks for all that supports you in life because gratitude when expressed sincerely elevates your soul and eases your troubles.
  5. Maintaining your ritual space simply involves keeping the area clean, tidy and maintaining the sanctity of that space because over time and energy will be generated there that enhances your practices.

As you become accustomed to living your life a little more mindfully, you can make your home and community a sacred space and include those who live there simply by sharing the benefits that you are experiencing. Beyond that you can avail yourself from the masses of inspirational literature, talks and musical arrangements to help facilitate a sense of joy, wonder and greater appreciation.

Ritual spaces are not confined to the home, they can be anywhere in nature or more formalised as in a temple. But wherever, the practice of some simple rituals gives a greater sense of who you are and helps you to determine a more successful life for yourself, family and friends.

Namaste

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