When we perform or participate in rituals and ceremonies, we enter into a state of mind that is different from mundane consciousness. Ranging in significance from bedtime stories to weddings, ceremonies and rituals are acknowledgments that an event or period of time has special meaning. As a result, they can have the effect of drawing us into the moment, inviting us to pay closer attention and tune into the subtle energies that are always present but that often go unrecognized. In addition, as we perform the same actions we have performed before and will perform again, we immerse ourselves in a river of continuity that extends back into the past and forward into the future.
Many of us have distanced ourselves from rituals that may have seemed too constricting or too attached to an organized religion we have chosen not to follow. However, we can reclaim the practices of ceremony and ritual to good effect, imbuing them with our new consciousness, and we do not have to wait for a big event to do it. We can engage in daily practices that include ritual and ceremony, reminding ourselves throughout the day of the sacredness of this life. In fact, if we look closely, we will see that our days are already made up of rituals, from the time we wake up to the time we retire. So we do not need to change anything except our perspective to imbue our day with an air of ceremony.
Most of our daily rituals revolve around nourishing and cleansing, both of which have always been sacred acts. With this in mind, we may pause before each meal, close our eyes, and say a silent thank you to the universe that provides. If we want to get more elaborate, we can light candles or bless our food. Similarly, as we wash ourselves in the morning and evening, we can choose to see the grace in this act of cleansing and purification as we release what has past and prepare ourselves for the new. We can be as simple or as complex as we like, so long as our attitude is one of reverence for this sacred moment in this sacred life.