Grounding. Meaning-making. Fostering connection. Healing. Support. Rituals, from simple to elaborate, are beneficial to us in many ways. In social and spiritual contexts, rituals have been part of the human experience for as long as we know. For me, ritual practices are one of the best tools to help me bypass my intellectual figure-it-out-and-fix-it mind. These practices help me to create a safe container to experience the fullness of life as it is, without being overwhelmed by it. At the end of a visit to the wild ashram of my yoga lineage, I commented to a friend that it was going to take a while for me to process and make sense of my experience there. Her response remains one of my most impactful teachings: "do you have to?" The idea that I could experience something powerful and meaningful without first accomplishing the work of understanding it was revolutionary. Matthew Sanford, another of my yoga teachers, encapsulates this lesson well by quoting Prashant Iyengar:
What is happening might be more profound than you know. Cultivate the happening.
I believe one of the most transformative aspects of ritual practices is our allowing it to work while letting go of the desire to know how it is working. In this way, ritual allows us to again bypass the obstacles of our mind in order to access deeper healing. It is my intention with these ritual and energy-focused practices to cultivate the happening.