We are told that the many religious rituals are just that – Rituals!
However in our preparation for HPT (Highly Precious Time) of meditation or to follow the service of our chosen faith, it brings us to that point in which I say: ‘Familiarity brings contentment’.
The familiar and family prayers and actions may be Divinely inspired, but are essentially man made rituals that remind us of the reasons for our presence and our participation in a familiar ritual. They are designed to bring with them an element of peace within our all too often monkey chatter filled minds, to remind us of our spiritual practice and why we are there.
Let’s face it, if it were different every time we would not know where we are and to share in common prayer, when two or three are gathered together, is all the more effective if we are on the same wavelength, the same familiar path of spiritual practice when all actions and prayers are known and familiar.
You might ask: ‘How and why were these rituals and festivals developed?’
Well if you read and understand the above you can perhaps see why, but why particular actions with which you may be familiar? You may have to go back further than the teachings of the established religions of today to find the beginnings of firstly the position of the place you call church, mosque, synagogue or temple and secondly the sometimes strange actions demanded by the leaders of a chosen faith or indeed odd chants or prayers.
The placing of your place of worship has probably not changed for centuries, before even the birth of the prophet that your faith now follows. In the days of the ancients who were more in tune with the energies of the Earth and were familiar with those places of power that emanated from deep within the earth itself, they chose those spots to erect a place of connection to the Earth energy and often also aligned to the movements of the sun, moon and stars.
Their hoped for followers from the earliest times gathered at those places and what better place to build a temple and encourage the masses to attend than in a place of power, maybe unfelt now but at least geo-familiar?
As to the actions involved in the rituals themselves, the sages of old whose visions were not questioned like they would be by today’s sceptical public interpreted their seeing as best they could to foster the feeling of awe and subservience in their congregation in the presence of a higher power, only to be experienced when they entered the temple.
In fact there were places, inner sanctums that were never to be entered by the people, only by the priests, again to engender that feeling of awe, respect and subservience not of the higher power but of the priest, bishop or pope himself who was the only one able to withstand the power in that divine sanctuary. So they said!
Festivals originated to celebrate such things as the times of bounty, of harvest and thanksgiving, but then of course there is the birthday of the new prophet and what better dates to chose than ones that were again familiar to the previously pagan people? Many of the religious dates that change with each New Year are now dependant on the phases of the moon! How pagan is that?
So you can perhaps see that although the original intention may have been to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, nature’s bounty or someone’s birthday many who profess a certain faith may have forgotten the reasons, and certainly since the news displays evil in all its forms each day, we must wonder whether we are in fact losing the ultimate battle.
In fact we could easily do without our news media for in truth that ultimate battle, we must remember, takes place within each one of us on a daily basis.
Many believe in the existence of a devil by various names such as Satan. I do not, for I believe in that internal battle where evil can easily exist or not according to the will of the wearer of that consciousness.
If your intention is for good, I believe in original goodness, then the battle is won for now. However we must stay alert to the possibility of the insidious intrusion of evil in its many forms that can intrude into our otherwise peaceful and peacefully intent mind.
The feelings of awe that we experience in some places of worship are in fact equally available to us in our daily pursuit of our purpose on Earth. They are not special to the place, except by continued and repeated prayer by the many which may be felt by a sensitive when entering such a place of worship. But essentially that same feeling is there for us all to sense, feel and enjoy in our daily HPT. That Highly Precious Time that leads us to the point of mergence with the Divine, whether sitting in the stillness or walking on the wild side.
Enjoy your chosen ritual, it is important for you to continue and practice to connect with whatever, however, and whoever you view as Divine in the constant battle for good in your life.
With Peace and Love, David & Eugene
You wrote about sharing a common prayer … the other day I sat at a dying friend’s bedside, she asked me to pray with her … I do not pray, and she knows that … so together we stumbled through the lord’s prayer … I believe she died in peace … and even though I miserably failed because of the prayer request … I am at peace as well … I never taught my kids to pray or to believe that they were born in sin and need redemption by some being … They grew up to be good people … Maybe I did it all wrong … I don’t think so … because peace of the heart is the most important component in ones life, right? Please advise … Love, cat PS: I love your precious writings, David.
Dear Cat, There is no right or wrong way to pray. words of comfort to one who is about to let go which come from the heart are all that is needed. You are a beautiful soul and i am sure you were of great comfort to your friend. With thanks and Love, David