After completing Charles Eisenstein’s book The More Beautiful World, I have spent a lot of time imagining what I could do in my daily life to put some of his ideas and recognitions into practice. The words Rituals and Reunion came to mind as ways to actualize The New Story.I have known the important of ritual for many years and notice how they have for the most part disappeared from Western life.
Being in Bali twice now, I can’t help but see how rituals are a major part of their life there. The consistent daily offerings that are made to the small shrines in every hotel, shop and home each morning are visible to all. The many ceremonies some of which I was so lucky to participate in are more hidden but accessible to anyone. It is so clear that every Balinese person knows how to make the ritual offerings and uses many hours doing this, often in social groups enjoying the process together and bonding in their spiritual commitment to making offerings to the spirits. The purpose of these offerings is often thanksgiving as well as request for blessings and acceptance from the land and the individual spirits. They serve as a connection to all that is and could be considered a form of constant renewal of the unity of all things. There is no separation for the Balinese .
Of course in our western culture, separation is dominate. We forget our total dependence on air, water, sun, earth, food and most of all the Life Force that keeps all things sprouting and growing. We tend to take everything for granted including our own bodies and inner processes. Using ritual can perhaps help us to connect back to each other and all things.
Thinking about this has created a desire in me to honor all things so I have started my own morning ritual where I take a few minutes, outside if possible, to stand with my hands together and thank the different aspects of nature and the universe for my life and for the life of all that is. In this way I try to respect and connect with the trees and the earth, a ritual that has been done through the ages by most indigenous people. Perhaps if we western people were to begin doing this again it would help us to be conscious of our disrespect of the planet which in the end destroys our own sustenance.
Mindfulness is becoming very popular now and is itself a tool for reunion as we try to stay aware of the present, our own feelings and how we relate to each other. To make mindfulness even more potent, I try choosing one task and make a ritual of being mindful throughout the task. Making the bed, doing the dishes or speaking on the phone to a friend becomes a chance for mindfulness. I need to center myself to start off this ritual – guess that is the most important part to try to remember. This creates an inner peace and connection to myself as well as the world. I enjoy especially listening to sounds around me, even turning the banging of construction into chance for focus. Of course the waves of the ocean banging on the shore are a perfect chance to feel the inner light of consciousness become one with all that is. I sense that this is perhaps the real purpose of ritual. To connect up with the whole in the sacred space that is created through Presence.
Years ago after reading this in Course of Miracles, I remember that I worked with seeing the beauty in each person and felt this to be a marvelous centering and connecting ritual. I bring it to mind for myself again now and take it up to enhance my connection with everyone I meet.
When in Bali, I found my heart very open. I think it had to do with the general friendliness of the Balinese. Whenever I walked along the main street in Ubud the taxi drivers hawing their cab would always smile and wave when I said no thank you. And many time while waiting for the hotel shuttle to pick me up in the Museum parking lot where I sat on a shady bench, someone always came along and started a conversation. Smiling and friendly, curious and intelligent, open and sharing was the attitude I found easy at hand.
I thank Bali and its people for all the wisdom and magic it has given me. I take it with me into my daily life. I will return to this special island – no doubt about it! Meanwhile I try to contribute to creating the New Story, with my eyes on reunion and heart on connection. I imagine that Rituals of Reunion can help us to build this Story of collaboration, gifting, and other more technical aspects like Permaculture, new currencies and other suggestions that Charles offers.
Perhaps you can add some of your own ideas to these few thoughts. Please feel free to do so in the comments.
Much love, Mara