I think my love of traditions and rituals is just my control issues in disguise! Let's see if you agree by the time you finish reading this blog.
I remember being probably 9 or 10 years old and sitting on my pink huffy bike in the back driveway of our house. My mother and aunt sitting around our blue wading pool that is filled with tomatoes! My most favorite tradition; which is very much filled with ritual, is making jars of fresh tomato sauce and roasting peppers for the winter. I remember that day, sitting on my bike (which I never really learned how to ride) thinking that all was right with the world because the most important people in my life were all gathered there that day.
Washing the tomatoes, smelling them to make sure they weren't spoiled, cutting them in half......
The process of making sauce and roasting the peppers has to be done exactly right or you risk spoiling the entire batch. That's where the ritual comes in. From boiling the jars and lids to turning the filled jars upside down and covering them with that orange table cloth so that they cool slowly. Each step must be done exactly right.
I love rituals of all kinds. I love watching the priest in church performing mass. Have you ever really watched. Notice how the alter boy brings him the water and bowl so that he can wash his hands. Notice the white towel always draped over the arm of the alter server? Notice how he holds his hands up (resembling a mudra perhaps?) as he prays?
How about the rituals performed by our beloved yoga teacher. Lighting the candles, selecting the music, setting the intention, weaving together a beautiful asana sequence for us.
My sadhana is filled with ritual. Lighting a candle, saying a prayer, doing my practice. Each step must be done exactly right. Of the four major yogic paths, I found myself drawn to the bhakti path (devotional path) mostly because it's filled with rituals. Of course, me being who I am, I need to know the right way to perform these rituals therefore, Raja yoga (scientific path - the 8 steps) is also very important and has rituals of its own.
Are you seeing a pattern here? - I really am a control freak. I never thought of myself as having control issues but looks like I do. The thing is, I don't necessarily need to be the one in control - I just need SOMEONE to be in control.
Of course, the concept of control is just an illusion. Like this blog for example, my intention was to talk about performing some sort of ritual to help release un-expressed emotions that we may be holding on to
that are no longer serving us. Well, I guess that will have to be another blog.
The thing I need to remember is that SOMEONE is always in control. -- God. I think that maybe when I start trusting more I will be able to let go more. We can turn our troubles over to God when they become too much for us to bare. Turning control over to the Divine might feel freeing. Wouldn't it be nice to hand over the reins to someone else for a while so that we could rest our weary minds? I'm going to make a conscious effort to try that.