Rituals and the ways of life
Most of us ascribe great significance to rituals in our daily life. That is because we believe in them and that we get a great sense of satisfaction and happiness.
Rituals help one share one’s mind and feelings with one’s family members or a group of people. It could be, for instance, eating dinner together or meeting in a temple and do the daily rituals together. Such gatherings enable one to share one’s hearty feelings and come closer.
Similarly, when people light up ‘diyas’, they all go to a higher level of spirituality and share reverence which makes their mind and heart dance with joy and excitement. That is why Christian Baldwin said, “Ritual is the way you carry the presence of the sacred. Ritual is the spark that must not go out.”
So, one can say rituals are a way to make one remain happy and satisfied, come what may. The most important point about rituals is that they constantly remind us of our inner self – who we are and what are we here for? Have we been doing any worthwhile or have we been merely wasting our time all these years? In other words, rituals help one in stocktaking of one’s life and make it richer in experience and positive thoughts.
In one’s daily life, one has to necessarily go through difficult times of great misfortunes and sorrows. The death of a near and dear one, for instance, could make some of us collapse. One who believes in rituals of daily activities is able to overcome such hard times because one realises the importance of understanding the impermanence of life and one gets the strength and the courage to face life as it is.
Life is far from being a bed of roses. One has to take the thorns that prick one into one’s stride and make the best use of the worst situation. At times, an ugly and difficult situation can easily be converted into a situation to herald the beginning of good times. The other day, I read somewhere that famous Canadian actor Lisa Ray, who had suffered from cancer but got cured, said that life tuned much better after the trauma as she became fully aware of the true meaning of life, and learnt how to face and overcome its vicissitudes.
Rituals help one realise what Tagore realised, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”