Everything I do is a ritual. I follow a prescribed procedure brushing my teeth, shaving, getting dressed, preparing breakfast, writing,.. Nothing is haphazard about the way I live. One day looks a lot like yesterday and tomorrow. I don’t wonder where I am or what’s next ever. I have developed my own rituals that carry me through my life. To follow someone else’s rituals, doing it the way they do it or tell me to do it would not be right. And to submit to someone else’s idea of what should be a ritual for me to submit to is also not on the table. Where does the community take over for the individual, know better than the individual, tell the individual what to do when, where and how?
What, when, where and how constitute essential knowing and are the grounding foundation for living aligned with the Tao, in accord with the Tao, and that is an individual act of knowing that cannot be taken over by the corporate body. Martin Palmer interprets the Tao Te Ching’s “The Tao that can be told/said/explained is not the eternal Tao,” to say, “The path that can be discerned as a path is not a reliable path.” Leaving the individual to fall back on their own sense of what is called for and what needs to be done about it. This connects with Jesus’ saying, “The spirit is like the wind that blows where it will,” which I take to mean “Not even the spirit knows what it will do next, and certainly not what it will do after that!” We wait and see, wait to see, not knowing what we will do next, and it certainly cannot be spelled out in some liturgy or order of service. Spontaneously doing what needs to be done is of the moment, not imposed on the moment as a hoop to jump through.
The rites and rituals that carried ancient peoples through their day/month/year would not fit our world or our life. But we have those that work for us, reading the newspaper, or streaming it, getting on the subway, etc carries us through our day/month/year. And we each have to approach The Mystery in our own way. Artificial rituals designed by someone else won’t deliver us to the Source. Worship cannot be called to order. It is a spontaneous response of the seeker to the sought, the moved to the mover, the known to the knower. Beyond corporate control.