Artwork by Sam Brown.
I have been thinking intently about ceremony, what ceremony means, and why ceremony is the key to living a joyful life.
Since reading Christina Sell’s blog piece On Faith – http://www.livethelightofyoga.com/on-living-the-light-of-yoga.html, and more particularly, the phrase Sell mentions in the piece, “to engage in the process of practice”, my thoughts on what ceremony is and the importance of ceremony in our life really crystallized.
So, let’s begin with what ceremony technically is. Ceremony defined is a formal religious or sacred observance; a solemn rite. The etymology of ceremony stems from the Medieval Latin term ‘ceremonia’ meaning “holiness, sacredness, awe, reverent rite, sacred ceremony.”
The terms that most resonate with me when I think about what ceremony means to me are reverent rite and solemn rite. These terms for me mean anything we engage in in the process of life on or off the yoga mat that constitutes an earnest ritual. That process is what I call life ceremony.
When we in engage in the process of practice, we are creating and participating in life ceremony. The term ‘practice’ in this context is yoga practice in all its manifestations. Think of all the mindfulness techniques and tools in our toolbox, and that’s what I mean by practice. So, the term practice is anything from the physical asana, to the personal practice of spiritual concepts of acceptance and letting go, to staying present in our work, to managing or regulating our emotional arousal, to our prayer/meditation, to our slow-down-fully-present-do-nothing-reboot-regenerate-recreate time and everything in-between.
Life ceremony is anything we engage with conscious awareness in the practice and ascribe spiritual meaning to it. Life ceremony is the soil from which we grow spiritually. The more we feed it nutrient rich food and honor the needs and desires of the whole being, the more that the whole being will grow vibrantly – emotionally, physical, intellectually, and spiritually.
With life ceremony we create and begin to learn and know depth perception meaning. Life ceremony is sacred. In the sacred we dig and we reach into our spiritual terrain. Life ceremony is a way we create an environment that fosters our primal needs and desires of love and connection. In life ceremony we experience sacred spirit.
We can have small every day ceremonies and scattered rituals from season to season. Life ceremony is intent, environment, and commitment combined. When we engage in ceremony, we change the vibrational frequency of our essence. We change our energy patterns and biological structures in a way that connects us to the divine reality that is already present.
Engaging in life ceremony dispels toxins and sheds cultural constructs that break us down into unidentifiable spiritual pieces. Life ceremony is any process where we download, reflect, regenerate, and peel back walls to connect to divine presence.
We seek ceremony for sacred meaning because it is missing in our daily lives. Yet, life ceremony is anytime we engage in the process of practice. The practice is the individual and collective effort at open-hearted connection to divine presence manifested in a myriad of soultastic ways.
We don’t consciously think of it this way because it’s not in our conscious awareness due to the toxic waste that can collect in our minds and bodies, particularly the heart. It is in life ceremony that we chip away at the corrosion.
Though it’s natural to want to see results and have goals, and those things are important to seek, the ultimate immersion in knowing, recognizing, and living in depth perception meaning or sacred spirit is in the process. We only know the process when we stay fully engaged, and when we are fully engaged in the process, we are in life ceremony. In life ceremony, we feed our essence the richest nutrients and super foods known to man.
I trust we will all stay engaged in our open-hearted process of practice, and when we find more ways to stay engaged in the process of practice we develop our depth perception meaning a little more and add a few more layers of meaning to our acts of and in life ceremony.
In life ceremony we hold the key to joy and when we unlock the door, the many light and dark folds and the richest colors, and most adventurous terrains are waiting for our recognition.
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea