Ritual is about joining vision and practicality, heaven and earth, samsara and nirvana. When things are properly understood, one’s whole life is like a ritual or a ceremony. Then all the gestures of life are mudra and all the sounds of life are mantra- sacredness is everywhere. Ritual, when it’s heartfelt, is like a time capsule. It’s as if thousands of years ago somebody had a clear, unobstructed view of magic, power, and sacredness, and realized that is he wen out each morning and greeted the sun in a very stylized way, perhaps by doing a special chant and making offerings and perhaps by bowing, that it connected him to that richness. So thousands of years later, people are still doing it and connecting with exactly the same feeling. Genuine, heartfelt ritual helps us reconnect with power and vision as well as with the sadness and pain of the human condition.
even the simple communing around my birdfeeder can be a pilgrimage…
inquiry for today~ what ritual finds you settling into a simple moment?
Consider the lilles of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lillies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.