Our everyday rituals

Our everyday rituals

All experiences in human life happen in a rhythm. Our life itself unfolds cyclically.

The rhythm of nature is a good example of cycles and their balancing and regulating effect. Days of labour are followed by days of rest, sowing the seeds by harvest, sun by rain. For rural people the sunny days are for haying, the rainy days – for resting. Once the majority of lives were part of the cycles of nature and life was passing in an innate harmony.

Life in the city does not possess that even pace of the natural cycles and is subject to other conventions. Here the individual has the role to set the rules and establish order.

Contemporary life is a sequence of constant movement and change. The periods of transition create tension and insecurity one has to endure and to come out reborn and transformed. He and she find on their own the mechanisms to help them in the passage and to focus the experience.

Rituals are such a mechanism that serves the role to focus the experience and support the transformation of the participant.

While performing a ritual, in that short and sought-after interval, the person enters a secure space.

To open the webpage of an online newspaper takes one back to the Sunday morning, after the visit to the market, when everybody is sitting around the kitchen table or the sofa in the dining room, drinking coffee and reading the news. Going back to the already felt happiness gives hope for a happy future. A usual activity, such as reading the online news in the morning, gets loaded with a deeper meaning and special importance. One of its functions is to give the participant a sense of peace and security.

In previous times and epochs rituals were practiced collectively, the individual participated together with other people in the ritual activity, be it a sacred, experienced through religion ceremonial act or an everyday ritual around the major transitions such as birth or death, and the less dramatic as graduation, marriage, retirement. To the current day they continue to be performed following a commonly accepted ways and ceremony and jointly experienced by a group of people.

The everyday life is though filled with numerous small transitions from one condition to another, which follow at sometimes unbearable speed. In one day between the transition from sleep to work and from work to home, millions of surprises can happen. Good and bad, they contain an enormous potential for the individual to create his own rituals that will help him withstand the winds of change, ease the feeling of the unknown and different and facilitate the passage.

In other occasions one is looking to perform actions to make a positive change to a new, improved condition and create his desired small world.

In these smaller transitions the individual has the most power to create his own rituals and to find his own mechanisms to handle the experience. What is new in our time is the fact that people individually create and practice repeated, filled with symbolic meaning and powerful experience sequence of acts. They are often a modified form of something practiced by other people, learned, read or intuitively attained.

In another type of ritual, successor of the sacred rituals of the past, and as we found practiced today often privately, in one’s own way and form, the participant is looking to connect with the universal force, as he understand it. In that moment the past and the future overflow the present and the man comes out of the confines of the experience here and now. This brief moment works with a sobering force. By connecting to his deepest essence, the individual finds support and becomes aware of the impermanence of his current worries.

Diana Popski

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