The Power of Rituals
Rituals go back as far as the birth of mankind. Ever since humans have started gathering around a fire, they have come up with some form of rituals. Many have survived until today. What is the power they hold and what is it that attracts humans to rituals?
Dances around the fire. Fairy-tales, myths and legends. Painting on the walls of caves. Huge stone age altars that nobody these days understands what they were used for. Songs and dances that survived for centuries. Superstitions. Specific ceremonies to mark birth, adulthood, marriage and death, ceremonies that are found in every traditional cultures all over the world. In short, rituals.
What are they?
There’s a part of our brain, the amygdala, that we share with reptiles. It’s here that fight or flight instincts live, the quick response to environment stimuli. Life is on autopilot and we don’t think. We only react.
Then there’s another part of the brain, one that we share with all mammals, the limbic brain. Here we feel emotions - sadness, love, hate - we have memories, we form habits and make decisions. Just as a dog would do when it decides whether it should eat a bone now or later.
And then there’s another part of the brain, the neocortex, the human brain. The place where abstract thought, imagination and consciousness resides. It’s the brain that makes us human.
So, when faced with a new reality, we have a choice of which brain we respond from. We can react from the reptilian brain with fight or flight, we can use with our limbic brain, our emotions, habits and memories. Or we can go to the brain that makes us truly human – the neocortex - and formulate our response with thoughtfulness, imagination and consciousness. This is the type of brain that understands and works with rituals.
But rituals are much more than a way to access our human brain, they hold the gateway to the soul. Our soul talks to us in images and sounds. Our intuition uses symbols. Our higher self reveals its messages only when we listen. And in order to listen we need to rise our energy to the same vibration. We do this though rituals. Rituals are how we talk to these higher consciousness parts of us. Rituals are the bridge.
And when we step into rituals, we step into the mythic. We go outside our immediate reality and into timelessness. We understand events form a higher point of view. Our view of good and bad changes and our response adapts accordingly.
And when we fully tap into the power of ritual we find that making changes flows gracefully and peacefully, because we do not use force to mentally make change happen but we surrender to a greater power, the power that resides within our souls.
Rituals have this power to bring us back to our true selves. They show us the way in a symbolic way, a way our neocortex can process. They provide us with a gateway to access higher states of consciousness and give us access to our higher self.
Rituals are what truly makes us human.