Ritual and practice - a path to well being
Having a spiritual practice has never been more important than now; with all the uncertainty and fear that we are facing it is so crucial for us to find healthy ways to manage and cope with what’s happening in our lives and the world around us. As well as stress management, a ‘spiritual practice’ can lead us closer to finding and experiencing more joy and happiness. With the extra time on our hands right now, we have the opportunity to explore our inner world more deeply and to create new ways of doing and being that support our mental, emotional and physical well being.
I have a regular ish practice and as I sat in front of my sacred space, (a little area some call an alter), and lit a candle with the intention to simply be with whatever is present, I realised (with kindness and non judgment) that the benefits of this practice are so profound and I really don’t do this enough! I remembered again just how powerful this simple daily act is and how much difference it makes to my wellbeing and my capacity to cope and thrive.
With the soft light of the candle and the subtle background sound of my ever constant breath, I realised that whenever I fully identify with form, (and by that I mean the purely physical manifestation and experience of my life), something seems to go astray - like I lose mySelf in some way. When I’m caught up in my ‘physicalness’, the sometimes all consuming and very convincing reality of my physical world and all it’s limitations and stories, in that moment I have forgotten my endless source of true power. I’ve lost touch with who I really am beneath the mask and the persona and the fabulous storylines and characters that are the theatre of my life. I am navigating life in complete darkness, I’ve turned the volume down so low on my most powerful and profound inner guidance system that I’ve almost forgotten it’s there. Practice helps keep the volume at a level we can always hear! And we all have an ‘early warning system’ in place - we just have to listen to the messages of our body and emotions, the nagging sense of ‘loss’, disconnection and disharmony; when something isn’t quite right we are being called to reconnect, drop into practice. And I also remembered that it’s ok that we get lost - awareness is a full time job and as a human being it’s in our nature to forget.
And that’s why a regular practice is so fundamental to well being. The moment I drop into my practice, when I light my candles, when I whisper my prayers, when I sit with nature, or when I take a moment to just stop and breathe consciously, there I am! I rediscover the force within me, my quiet endless spirit, the ever present state of ease, neutrality, presence and belonging.
And then my needs, wants, fears and questions for the future take a back seat; I become less identified with them and consumed by them. Life is just somehow so much more manageable. This act of meditation, of ritual, of prayer, of intention, of stopping to release and be, these fleeting gaps of presence and awareness in between the chatter of the mind, they bring so much clarity, perspective and inner peace. I personally experience a sense of inner resilience, strength and power that can handle anything. The practice reacquaints me again with who or what I really am and once again I settle into this middle ground of the ‘numinous’ and the ‘human’ being.