This month’s theme at The BeZine is about rituals for peace, healing and unity. Throughout the years, I have taken part in rites for each and all of those things (within the Christian, Wiccan and Buddhist faiths), but this month I wanted to share something simple and personal that might feel a little more accessible to anyone.
Historically, the Zen tradition is overflowing with rituals to bring inner and outer peace, healing and unity. Between being mindful of each breath, each action (or inaction) to sharing a mantra with a gathering of others, or creating and destroying sand mandalas to affirm the impermanent nature of the universe, there are many rites with many purposes.
Finding your own ritual and personalizing it is one of the most important steps to making it work for you, so that you’ll continue doing it. For example, many people meditate after waking, but I have incorporated my shower and coffee into mine. I personalized it for what works best for me.
I have a ritual every morning, where I wake up, shower and then meditate with my coffee for around 20 minutes. As I shower, I am mindful and grateful for the clean, hot water that I can enjoy, knowing that so many others in the world do not have such luxury. I am mindful not to waste more water than I absolutely need, because I try to stay aware of my ecological impact upon the planet.
I prepare my coffee, again being grateful that I can. I pay attention to the liquid as I add it, the pouring of it into the cup and enjoying the scent from the steam. Paying attention to the tiniest of details can give one a better appreciation of everything about life, and indeed, make it a much richer experience. It can bring you peace, and when you pay attention to how you fit with everything else around you, it can also grant a feeling of unity with the world. Pay attention to the world as it wakes up around you, with you; the heat and light of the rising sun, the songs of birds, the occasional barking dog, the scent of flowers, dew-laden grass and morning fog.
While sipping the coffee, appreciating the warmth of the cup in my hands, I quietly give thanks for another day stretching before me to fill with purpose. Being grateful for each day is a wonderful way to find peace and happiness. How you begin your day sets the tone for what follows and is an important cornerstone to staying centered. If you don’t like what happened yesterday, then realize that today is a brand new chance to start all over again. While you meditate (or simply sit in silence with your coffee or tea, quieting your mind) remind yourself that you are lucky and blessed to have another chance to live your best life. Today simply is. What you do with it, if it’s going to be a good day, is up to you. 🙂
© 2016, essay and photograph, Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved