What is Ritual?
The clearest way to understand what a ritual is to do one right now. Grab your smartphone and switch the camera function on, but don’t film. If you haven’t got a phone handy, find a small mirror. Now look into the camera or mirror and smile broadly at yourself. As you smile think of something that makes you feel happy and continue to imagine how that happiness feels, or imagine you’ve been given a beautiful bunch of flowers or a gorgeous box of chocolates, or a gift that means a lot to you. Notice how an action as simple as smiling can be energizing. Notice how it lights up your face.
That’s really what a ritual is in its simplest form. It is an action performed with intention and feeling that boosts your motivation, understanding and wellbeing. Our daily actions shape our lives. Repeat an action long enough and it becomes a habit, but habits lack meaning. To ensure meaningful change our actions need to be filled with personal feeling and meaning. They need to be ritualized. When I asked you to think of something personal in the exercise above, you didn’t know it at the time but you transformed the everyday action of smiling for the camera into a ritual. Creating personal ritual in this way brings the presence of the sacred into your daily life and (as you will discover in the pages that follow) personal ritual that has meaning for you is a potent tool for both spiritual and personal growth.
What did you think about when you smiled? Let me know in the comments below! If you want to learn more about rituals, see my book 21 Rituals to Ignite Your Intuition.