I have a rant to get out of my system.
As a life coach most of my clients are Black South Africans, many of whom consider themselves Christian. Sometimes I recommend rituals and ceremonies as a personal development mechanism.
This is when the freaking out commences.
For some reason I say “ritual” they hear “witchcraft, devil and things that go bump in the night”. However our history as Africans is rich with rituals. And if you are an African that has been delivered from these pagan ways, remember – pretty much ALL religions have rituals.
Here are two very popular Christian rituals:
Baptism – this is where a person, usually an infant has “holy” water poured on their crown by an old man in robes and oils rubbed on their third-eye. Sometimes their entire body is submerged in water. Hhhhmmmm. Hocus-pocus much?
If that is not woo-woo enough for you let’s look at the Eucharist (Holy Communion).
Here said old man in robes does a magic trick which we all pretend turns water into the blood of Christ and bread into the body of Christ. As if that is not creepy enough, the congregation then lines up to consume said flesh and blood.
There is a reason rituals and ceremonies are prominent across cultures and religions. They are powerful.
You are controlled by your mind; but not your rational, conscious mind. It is your subconscious mind that calls the shots, and this part of you speaks a symbolic language. That is why dreams are fantastical and resistant to rationality.
Rituals provide this symbolism.
I came across a really nice definition of a ritual.
A ritual creates sacred space with focused intent. That’s all there is to it. Intention is the most important ingredient in bringing about change, in signaling to the universe that you mean for something to change. Preparing for a ritual – collecting all the ingredients and tools you are going to use, getting yourself ready, picking the time, place, date… Conducting the ritual – all this strengthens your intent far more than a mere declaration, such as “I want to increase my self-worth”
And like I said, your thoughts create your reality, but those are the thoughts lodged in your subconscious mind. That is the part of you that needs to know that things are changing. If your subconscious does not get the memo, nothing changes. Just look at all your discarded resolutions. This is because it does not speak English, isiZulu or Setswana. Its language is symbolic (remember the Eucharist?)
So next time I recommend a ritual…at least wait 3 beats before you freak out and rebuke me under your breath.