Ritual , for the heart and soul

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Ritual , for the heart and soul

Postby Stryke » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:54 am

Everyone who`s a regular here knows my style , and I dont mean martial art , Im very direct with my beleifs , abrupt perhaps , but mostly ... and I dont know if it comes across as such i`m, passionate .....

I like everything tested and proven ... I scoffed as a beginner after Id learnt not to trip over myself , so much seemed nonsensical , but I loved martial ats anyway , I learn from surrounding a subject , gathering ideas , feelings , testing , then letting it all intuitively fall into place , It`s an emotional kind of science , contradiction ... yes ? , I think it`s the animal in us to grow this way .... anyway to my point .

Im finally getting to a point where I know how I learn , how i react , knowing myself , I find that the logic and the reason aren`t so important anymore , effective still is and always will be , but the spirit craves ritual , a loose flow of acceptance and easing of everyday things .

I`m not sure if any of you will understand , the connection of physical and everyday realitys ....and change , the integration of these things through ritual , the moment to connect the now to the metaphysical , to the spirit , that little thing is your own , that links the two worlds , wether its a thought , an act , a kata ? , the grounding and connecting , of ritual , the key to lock mind body and spirit when it`s needed in this turbulent world ..

hard thing to express but I thought I`d try .

I love to hear any others thoughts on this ?

all the best


Postby Rick Wilson » Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:01 am


Thank you for the excellent post. :D I will provide some comments of my own but another night.

Rick Wilson

Postby Stryke » Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:02 am

Thanks Rick , Is a very hard topic to express on this medium , poeple get the wrong idea from the word ritual , but ritual is sucha huge part of most ways of life , wether we know it or not , especially for the warrior mentality , ritual is a grounding a , refocusing of self , a acceptance of yuor journey and your place , is once again hard to explain .

Look forward to your comments ....


Postby Rick Wilson » Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:29 am

Not sure if I am on track here but I will just start to babble and go from there. :D

Ritual and the spiritual have been connected since humans could conceive of spirituality.

One of my personal connection to spirituality comes from the connection I have made through my adopted daughters to native spirituality.

To take this back before the coming of the Europeans every aspect of native people contained ritual and spirituality. Hunting, preparing food all were done with a connection to spirituality.

Today many of the rituals or ceremonies still remain or have been reclaimed.

While, just as in martial arts, there may be differences in the details, but the underlying beliefs are the same. (Interesting enough there are many similarities even in the disagreements and “types” found in each.)

The first Saturday of each month I head out to the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and into the bush. I act as scapa’ous or helper at a sweat lodge ceremony. There in the quiet of the woods I prepare the fire to heat the rocks. There are prayers and procedures that are to be followed. They must be done with an open heart and good thoughts.

Building this fire is of great comfort to me and the connections that I feel it builds.

Our sweat holder runs the sweat and that too is rich in ritual and, of course, spirituality. But each part of the rituals all have meaning. There are not done without purpose. Each action has a spiritual reason.

There are many other ceremonies I have not taken part in. I have participated in a fasting ceremony. This is a more complex ceremony that encompasses two sweat lodge ceremonies. To summarize, you arrive and go into the bush to build a very small fasting lodge of willow covered in tarps. That afternoon there are pipes to be offered, later a berry ceremony and from that moment on you do not speak (except to helpers), you do not eat, and you do not drink anything. You sleep that night in camp. In the morning there is a special sweat then you leave to your fasting lodge. You remain there for three more nights (four nights in total.) The fourth day you come out to a closing sweat, your first drink of water and another berry ceremony.

There is more to this process and it is very difficult. The full ceremony is actually four fasts over four or more years. I have completed one full ceremony and hope to start my second one perhaps this summer.

In the martial arts I find my rituals in Kata and qigong. There can be great ceremony and learning in a Kata. Done in a certain manner there can be spirituality experienced in Kata. The connection between mind body and spirit can be made.

I have to say that beyond this the world we live in makes it difficult to find the same ritual and spirituality in our everyday actions.

In the modern world this connection is disconnected. Work certainly has little ritual or spirituality for most.

This is perhaps why so many are searching for that missing piece.

While I find spirituality in my martial arts I do not find “religion” or a creedal belief. Each person will come to the dojo with their own religious beliefs. These are the beliefs that can be a part of the spirituality experienced in our practice.

Not sure if this is at all what you were introducing Stryke. I would like to hear more.
Rick Wilson

Postby Deep Sea » Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:20 am

I look at a ritual as something with a beginning and an end. The length of time may be anything from very short, to extending throughout a lifetime. A ritual is a well-defined path accompanied by a non-changing sequence of events.

Work may have little ritual, Rick, but the ritual is what you do from the moment your alarm clock goes off until the second you arrive at your desk at work. And it's often done to exacting clockwork. Put your keys in another spot the night before helps one realize the importance of doing things exactly the same otherwise all hell breaks loose.

THAT, for most people, is a demanding real-time ritual.
Always with an even keel.
-- Allen
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Postby Jackie Olsen » Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:31 pm

Excellent thoughts & ideas all ... For me rituals are what I choose to do to give my life meaning and to connect deeper into the inner essence or the heart/soul/spirit of who I am. It is the form that enables me to live my life as a dance, as a daily ceremony. Rituals help me connect to "all my relations", whether it be mineral, plant, human or ancestral.

I believe that many people, young & old, lose their way in life because rituals have been eliminated that serve as the rock or foundation of our being. Rituals make the unknown, known and bring a sense of communion to those who share them with us.

Rituals are also disciplines, such as meditation, kata, prayer, customer service, or the decorating of the Xmas tree with your children. Rituals have no meaning ... we CHOOSE to give them meaning.
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Postby Stryke » Thu Jan 15, 2004 4:12 am

Thanks all this is very much what i was thinking about , I feel the lack of ritual in modern society is a deffinately a loss , where I`m heading is bringing ritual to things I do , it` becoming a way where I can refocus and reground myself , i find using it almost like an instant triggered kind of meditation thats been reinforced by practice .

I first noticed the ritual elements in kata , when your doing kata for the sake of the kata itself , it can transcend the technique and the intent ....
this of course is only one way to preform a kata .

Ive been expirementing with little thought rituals , acceptance and appreciation , I have a mindset I use when I go to the gym :oops: , I appreciate having given myself the time , I appreciate my health , and accept where I am and the ability to try , It`s an amazing way to start a workout , and can trigger the right feeligs/mindset because of practice/familirisation .

ritual and warrior mentality kind of go hand and hand , familiarity is akin to acceptance , to grounding , to reality , a deffinate must for the martialist .

anyway a little more , a few more thoughts ...

Postby Jackie Olsen » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:39 pm

Aw, Stryke,

No need to blush! What a great way to begin training... Attitude & approach go a long way in triggering the right mindset. Energy flows where the mind goes ...

Definitely ritual/warrior mentality go hand/hand. Look at the awesome focus/preparedness/intent of the warrior dressing to go to battle in the Last Samuarai. We should all put on our gi's & obi's with the same awarness!

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Postby Stryke » Sat Jan 17, 2004 9:29 pm

Thanks all for the replies

Rick , That must be truly an incredible thing to be involved in , your truly lucky , and thank you for sharing , is an exact example of the way rituals were used in so many ways . Im on the same track as you my friend , I find that disconnectedness that is in the modern world , having had moments of connectdness from my training and sharing with others , I guess I`m searching for ways to take that feeling/attitude more into my daily life . Its interesting to see people with such strong spirit and presence having such a hard time with this , I beleive ritual or taking the time to acknowledge the link in or actions may be the key here .

Jackie , have yet to see the movie yet but am looking forward to it , was filmed here in New Zealand , Im seeing how ritual indeed is a great tool for mindset , is interesting stuff .

Is like Allan says ritual is were we look for it , I guess it`s up to us to use it how we wish , is an interesting topic , and Im sure ive got a lot more to learn from it .

thanks all


Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Jan 17, 2004 10:37 pm

Hey Stryke, if you do make it to Canada and our area may be you can time it for a sweat? For me it usually follows a Saturday morning Karate workout so it makes for a great day.

Rick Wilson

Postby Stryke » Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:21 pm

Hey Rick , i applied for my work permit the other day , If i do make it I`m hoping to be around for a year or so :) , just waiting on the papers , and am trying to sort out the financial side of things , and get my courage up for starting all over again in another country , having said that I`m hoping it all comes together , that sounds like and incredible oppurtunity and I`d love it .... just another reason to get over htere with you great folks

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