Rituals with Meaning
If we really think about it, life as we know it is full of rituals that we often take for granted as the norm without ever questioning their meaning in our own lives. Every society has its own "rules" and readily acceptable (and even necessary) rites of passage, but are they truly necessary or are they simply taboos most have accepted as matter of fact and, in a way, untouchable?
Even though I have never been one to follow the status quo or succumb to cookie-cutter expectations, I do understand the feeling of inclusion most people desire, which causes them to want (or think they want) what everyone else has. However, while some rituals are certainly important milestones in people's lives, like graduating from university or getting married, I believe we must all look a bit deeper within and ask ourselves if the societal standards we live by are truly representative of our inner most beliefs and desires.
Over the years I have seen many people follow rules they did not understand, never mind question. And it always made me wonder why people would do things that they don't necessarily want to do but do anyway because other people they know do them too. I know we all want to feel accepted but to me rituals and ceremonies, if they are to have any true meaning, need to....well....have meaning. If something doesn't mean anything to you or you aren't sure of its symbolism in your own life, then how can it truly benefit you?
So whether we are partaking in religious or spiritual rituals or participating in ceremonial rites of passage, we need to understand the meaning behind what we are doing for ourselves, or else we risk infusing it all with empty words and actions that have no true advantage. The universe responds to feeling, so we must include feeling into our rituals of choice in order to get the most out of our actions. But in order to feel the power of our chosen rituals we first need to understand our motives and set our intentions to what we actually want to achieve.
To me authenticity is key. Whenever I involve myself in any kind of ritual I first want to understand the meaning it holds for me, because I know that if I understand my motives then I will be better able to gain what I need from that experience. I want to feel the experience, I want to understand it, I want to infuse it with energy, and I want it to represent who I am at my core. And if I don't get it, then I just don't do it.
I feel that if everyone was more authentic with their actions and choices then we would all be happier for it. We cannot spend so much time and energy following rules and rituals with which we simply do not resonate. Just imagine if you spent that time actually doing the things that you loved and that made sense to you, rather than following a prescribed formula you are told, often from childhood, that you are supposed to want and that you are supposed to do.
So perhaps next time you are pressured to partake in a ritual that you do not understand or that does resonate with the person that you are, take a minute and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" If you do, you will find so much more clarity, free time, and energy to do the things that actually have real meaning in your life (for you).