What if your entire day were lived in ritual consciousness, in sacred space?
Do you think it’s possible?
It’s easy to think of ritual as a discrete segment of time, as something that happens in a special setting, like a workshop. Or only when a group gets together. Or only when a special need is present, such as healing for oneself or another. The need is spoken, the ritual happens, and it’s over.
Ritual does happen in these ways. But how often, then, do we get home from the workshop, or end the ritual, clean up, and…forget? How often do we think that we must draw a sharp dividing line between those experiences in our lives that are ritual and those that are not?
I believe ritual consciousness can pervade everyday life, and I don’t think it has to be hard. Yes, ritual demands a certain degree of focus and consciousness. We can’t sleepwalk through our lives when we have decided to create and maintain intention for them. This can be an uncomfortable waking when we realize just how many habits we have that urge us to remain asleep, to lie down just one more time even when we know our true creative lives, what we’ve always wanted, are calling to us, waiting for us. Yet, ritual can carry us through.
Are you thinking you couldn’t possibly stay awake that long? Are you thinking that not every action has to be that meaningful, that sometimes you’d just like to let things go and not invest them with so much?
I think of it this way. I’ve had experiences with group rituals, some lasting for hours. During the course of these rituals, my energy waxes and wanes. Sometimes I am right there in the driving force of it, helping the wheels to turn, maintaining the action. At other times I step back a bit and rest, look around and feel and reflect while others take their turn generating the momentum. Sometimes I have to use the bathroom. Sometimes I have to eat. I’m still in ritual space through all of this. Although my level of attention goes through natural cycles of alertness and fatigue, what has been set into motion at the beginning of the ritual (the group intention) continues regardless.
This can happen, too, in individual ritual. What takes place in ritual space is by its nature sacred and meaningful. It is intention set into motion, intention entered in dialogue with the great powers of life, the powers that make things happen, that are always making things happen. Beginning your day by entering into ritual space and naming an intention for that day sets up your entire day to be within this motion. Even if you need to rest, even if you need to move and shift from one activity or setting to another, know that the ritual is carrying forward.
What does this look like?
Perhaps your intention for one or more days is to live within a consciousness of abundance. You’d like to be aware of all the ways in which you are fully supported by life, and you’d like to allow that support to be more present to you, to feel it more strongly. In the beginning of your day, holding that intention in mind, you light a candle and spend 5-10 minutes writing in a gratitude journal. Then, because you have to go to work, you blow out the candle, but as you do so you imagine that the light shifts from the candle to inside of you, so that you will carry it with you.
At work, you go about your usual tasks, but every so often you remember that the candle flame, the light and energy of your intention, is still inside you. (Maybe, in order to assist this remembrance, you set an alarm to go off every hour. Or maybe you bring a picture of a candle to work with you and set it on your desk.) You notice that you feel calmer than usual, that everything is appearing in a softer, more relaxed focus. Your coworker makes some copies for you without being asked. You notice that your lunch tastes better (and you remember to, before eating, thank all the people and all the forces of nature that brought your food to you). You find a five dollar bill in the parking lot as you are leaving for the day.
At home, you continue to hold your intention, embodied in the symbol of the candle flame. Perhaps you relight your candle from this morning and spend some time sitting in front of it and reflecting on your day. What did you notice that you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t been holding your intention? How have you felt held by the ritual space you set up in the beginning of the day?
You can continue to hold the intention and the ritual space through the night, or you can decide to let this particular intention go for now. Imagine its light dissolving back into the universe from which it came, remixing with all that is.
I encourage you to try holding an entire day in ritual consciousness. Experiment with ways to do this. You can use a very simple symbol, such as the candle flame, or you can create an entire constellation of objects and actions. You can do one or more mini-rituals within the larger ritual of your day, allowing yourself to deepen particular aspects of the day’s theme. Perhaps other ritual actions will suggest themselves to you spontaneously.
Allow yourself to play; allow yourself to be moved. Trust the motion of your intention. Trust the sacred space. Integrate ritual into your life so that it comes to feel natural, so that it rises up in you alongside every moment of your consciousness.