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The Art of Creating a Ritual for What Matters Most

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” ~Joseph Campbell

By Leo Babauta

In this world where technology and consumerism have become our religion, we’ve largely lost something magical: the ability to elevate something into the realm of the sacred.

I’m not a fan of Catholic priests, but if you watch them perform the Eucharistic ritual in mass, it feels like a moment of true magic. If you watch a Zen priest performing similar rituals, it feels like a moment that is lifted into sacredness. Yoga practitioners before their altar, Muslims worshipping at mosques, Buddhists at their temples — they all practice this kind of sacred ritual.

What we’ve lost is this idea that there is an element of the divine in the world. I’m an atheist and don’t believe in God, but I believe in the divinity of every living being, every object, every breath. These aren’t just ordinary things to be taken for granted, but ordinary things to be deeply appreciated.

And so I’d like to advocate for the idea of ritual.

We can lift an everyday act into the realm of the divine by turning it into a sacred ritual. What I’ve been trying to practice is the art of turning what matters most in my life into a ritual.

What would it be like if you turned what matters most in your life into a ritual? (Hint: if it’s in your life, it is important, as you’ve chosen to include it in your limited time.)

In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his chapter on the Fourth Agreement (“Always do your best”):

“ I make everything a ritual, and I always do my best. Taking a shower is a ritual for me, and with that action I tell my body how much I love it. I feel and enjoy the water on my body. I do my best to fulfill the needs of my body. I do my best to give to my body and to receive what my body gives to me.”

The ritual of taking a shower, then, becomes an act of appreciating the body you have, taking care of it, and fully loving it. It’s an act of devotion.

What would it be like to bring this art of devotion to everything that matters most in our lives?

The Elements of Ritual

So what would a ritual contain? It’s an art, so you can make it however you like. However, some elements to consider:

These are some elements to consider — you don’t have to include all of them, and there are many others you can pull in from traditional rituals that range from the pagan and Druids to shamanic to Vedic and more.

Rituals to Consider

Any act that you do each day, that’s important to you, can be considered for something to turn into a ritual.

For example, some that I’ve been experimenting with:

I have to confess that I have not perfected the art of creating ritual for all of these things — I’m still learning, still experimenting. I have a lot of growth to do here. But when I do it, I’ve found it absolutely profound.

Elevating What Matters Most to You

What is important to you? If it’s in your life, you must care enough about it that you’ve included it. Our hours are precious and limited, and we can take care to only place the things that matter most into that limited space.

So what you’ve included in your life must matter tremendously. Why not craft a ritual for this thing that matters so much?

If you care about checking social media, messages, email, news, blogs — why not make this act into ritual?

If you care about your relationship with someone, why not create a connection ritual where you fully connect with them?

If you care about reading, why not make a reading ritual?

If you care about your meaningful work, why not create a ritual for practicing with that work?

I invite you to create ritual around the deeper practice of your meaningful work with my latest creation:

The Fearless Purpose Training Package: A System for the Uncertainty of Your Meaningful Work