My Experience with Ceremony
About the time I was discovering fears and false beliefs that I was living by I was also reading Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. I decided to create a ceremony and see if this would help let them go. I had no idea what would work and what wouldn’t but I was willing to try new things. Previously I was unaware that I had unnecessary fears so I hadn’t needed to let them go before. Not having any experience I decided to try a ceremony and see what happened.
I had taken a couple weeks to investigate what my fears were and to write down the beliefs that were behind them. One of the fears was about taking time off before I took another job. I wanted an extended vacation. However, within ten seconds of thinking about a long vacation my mind would kick in with reasons that I shouldn’t. I took time during these weeks to write down and analyze all the reasons and see what was behind them and if they were valid. This kind of analytical work helped clarify what the beliefs were and that I would be fine, or at least better off without them. Intellectually I had made the decision but my mind still had the fears, thoughts, and beliefs. That is what the ceremony helped address.
The ceremony I made was a commitment to letting go of fears, and specifically the beliefs related to these fears. I didn’t notice anything change at the time of my ceremony. It was just a calm peaceful day devoted to a release. No thunder or lightening when off in my head. There were no beams of sunlight or rainbows to mark the occasion. But the next day I was driving in my car headed home when I noticed the internal dialog in my mind had changed. Before I would think about taking some time off, but fearful thoughts would arise about money, gaps in my resume, or that others would think I was a bum. We’ll that day while driving I started thinking about what a great trip I had and how nice it would be to extend my time. Then there was only quiet. There was a quiet peaceful space where the fearful thoughts used to be. It was the absence of those fearful thoughts that was tangible evidence for the power of one’s intent in the use of ceremony. I had experienced changing my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions through ceremony. I had to explore more and I did.
Ceremony Doesn’t Have To Make Sense
There are things that aren’t logical and that is okay. It doesn’t make sense that a ceremony that I did would change the pattern of thoughts in my head. Or at least it didn’t at the time. Since then I have studied and experienced a lot more and it makes sense to me know. I studied and worked as an engineer because I wanted to know how things worked in the world. What I learned from engineering didn’t tell me how my mind, or emotions worked. Logical answers didn’t tell me why I sometimes had negative thoughts, judgmental reactions, or why my mind dreamed at night. None of the logical things I learned explained human behavior or emotions. Love and fear drive so much human behavior and what goes on in the world but neither one of them is logical. After working as an engineer I still wanted to understand how things in the world worked and since love and fear was behind so much of what was going on in the world I studied love, fear, and the belief systems behind each. I discovered that you can change the emotions of fear into love. And, to be balanced, fear can also corrupt love and turn it into something destructive.
When you understand how love and fear work in your mind you will understand your self much better. When you learn how to transform the fear you have and create peace, quiet, and love, you will become wise. Understanding emotions, beliefs, and the processes for changing them don’t see logical, or at least with logical according to what we learned in school. These patterns of thought and emotions in your mind don’t operate by forces we are familiar with like gravity and physics so they seem weird, illogical, and confusing. However, these realms can be explored, understood to have their own dynamics, changed, and mastered.
In the beginning ceremony and ritual were weird, and wrought with superstition because I didn’t understand them. Just like all things seem a bit weird until we understand them. Even our own emotional reactions are weird, and strange things that we fear, until we explore and understand them.
By just using the analytical part of my mind I didn’t understand ritual and ceremony, the value it could have enriching my life, and the speed at which it could affect change. Of course I didn’t understand love, fear, emotions, or how my mind worked either at that time. As we grow and mature we grow and understand things beyond a simple model that logic allows. That’s good because the physicist, philosophers, and engineers, have as much right to understand illogical nature of unconditional love as the musicians, poets, and sages.
If you join me on one of my retreats you will learn more about ritual and ceremony as we incorporate them into our activities. Why do we use ritual and ceremony in these retreat events? Because they work really well to make changes in our patterned thinking, beliefs, and emotional patterns. At the end of one of those retreats you still might not understand how they work, but hopefully you will understanding that ceremony does work to help change what goes on in your mind.2