|Ritual by the Pacific|
On a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Esalen, a group of twenty five wrote down their wishes, hopes, and dreams on a scrap of paper. Then passing a candle and a bag of tobacco each person burned their paper and tossed it and a pinch of tobacco into the sea. The group dispersed and went their separate ways. It sounds banal and quaint to modern, scientific minds. What affect could that possibly have in manifesting something in the ‘real’ world? A lot in my experience. Ritual is an essential aspect of my life. Perhaps it is because I am a recovering Catholic but it works.
Many years ago suffering a painful break-up, I went to Hawaii to assuage my pain. One day on the coast of Kauai, sitting on a lava rock I wrote a letter of good-bye and a prayer of well wishing for her and myself. Burning incense, the letters, and a photo, I wallowed in my tears. When it was over, I was done with it. Upon returning home, the next Sunday at church I met my next girlfriend. Coincidence? I had been trying to end that dysfunctional relationship for months but the ritual made the difference. It was really over and the space was cleared for the new. The slate was wiped clean and a call was sent out into the universe.
A pinch of tobacco, a whole body smudge, a random Tarot card, a prayer written and burned, and honest, open hearted sharing recently culminated in an unexpected career opportunity for an acquaintance. She had shared her concerns about a professional conference in Europe and whether she would be invited to attend. A couple months after the cliff ritual, she was awarded a prestigious position at the conference. Our rational, thinking minds can’t imagine how those arcane actions could have impacted the material world.
Much has been written on the power of attraction, pro and con. The realm of the non-literal elicits high emotion from both rationalists and metaphysicians. Too often the resulting highly opinionated commentary shuts out the value and truth of both positions. Pragmatists may say that praying and wishing for something won’t make it happen. On the other hand there are those who adamantly adhere to metaphysical doctrine of ‘as a man (person) thinketh’ and insist that that is all it takes. Walking the line between the two can take some skill and determination. Staying open to the metaphysical, while grounded in the material can be difficult.
Early on in my writing on these topics a very close friend read one and she declaimed, “I don’t have time for this new age babble.’ Confused and hurt, I responded, “OK, let’s not talk about it.” At that point, I realized there was no space for discussion, just argument. Deliberative and pragmatic by nature, like her I came to esoteric teachings with a skeptic’s mind. “How does it work?” “What is the evidence?” “How do you define god/ spirit?” With low tolerance for the latest fad in my career in education, I was known for asking tough questions from our ivory tower presenters. What is the evidence? Usually, the new ‘reform’ best practices were repackaging of the same stuff I was subjected to fifty years ago. Keeping it real is my motto. And along with the great twentieth century metaphysician, Ernest Holmes, I keep it open at the top. In other words, when something works, makes sense, and is useful I’ll do it.
|Calling the Unconscious|
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