THE POWER OF RITUAL

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

I have been in the process of purging the contents of my home for the past couple of years or more. This process of periodic re-assessing my belongings has become a ritual, wherein I ask myself: ‘Do I keep physical symbols of the way it was; fearing that I may never achieve more; that the occasions I recall were the epitome of possibilities in my life? Or, do I graciously discard the things that were yesterday’s manna and simply embrace the idea that life is always unfolding into its greater yet to be? Otherwise, I keep unpacking and re-packing the same mementos over and over again, filling my mind to capacity, leaving no room to accept the newness of life. 

Time and time again I find myself at the crossroads of decision: what to keep, what to give away, and what to toss.

~ ~ ~~

This process has caused me to reflect on what the important things are in my life. I realize that which I once considered accomplishments were simply the logical and necessary stepping stones that caused me to be where I am today. After all, life is always moving, one step at a time, according to the direction I point. I always accomplish that for which my heart says “yes.”

Years ago, I was taught the “dos and the don’ts” of life through the ritual of repeating phrases and scriptures, without an explanation of the deeper or inner meaning of the practices, or at least I do not recall there being any. However, when I reached a point that this ritual no longer served me, I sought out the “whys and the how comes.” Much to my soul’s delight, there were teachers waiting for me to arrive at that point in the road, ready to teach me spiritual practices like meditation, visioning, and spiritual mind treatment.

All this acquainted me with the soul of my being.

~ ~ ~ ~

I began to think about mandalas.

Mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit. It’s a pattern or design that depicts the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers. The artist, Saudamini Madra, says: “It’s all about finding peace in the symmetry of the design and of the universe.”  

Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhist Monks spend hours each day for days, painstakingly and skillfully creating these beautiful images in sand. When they are finally finished, they destroy their great work. This ritual is a reminder of the impermanence of life.

~ ~ ~ ~

Through the ritual of purging, I reach that a-ha moment where I perceive greater meaning of my process.  I begin to see that the “letting go” and the “holding on” is a way of reconciling what was, what is, and what will be according to the symmetry of the design my thoughts and actions create. I find peace as I create a new design for living. 

I practice mindfulness as I continue my chore. The ritual is one that reminds me that, when I am self-emptied, I become God-filled. I let The Divine flow through my ideas of wholeness which are permanent in the midst of impermanence.   


This Week’s Affirmation

“I have peace within by letting go of what no longer serves me to make room for the good to manifest.”
By Mary Jane LaBonte, RScP

1 thought on “THE POWER OF RITUAL

  1. Dear Reverend Mary, I hold you in prayer as you let go of what no longer serves, not an easy task, I know. You have been such a great steward of that which the Universe has provided for you that I know that the Divine has something even more wonderful in store. Keep those boxes moving. The new hands that receive them will immediately feel the love that was poured into and over their gifts. Light & Love, Delia Chaney

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