Genuine, heartfelt ritual helps us reconnect with power and vision as well as with the sadness and pain of the human condition. When the power and vision come together, there’s some sense of doing things properly for their own sake. Making a proper cup of tea means that you thoroughly and completely make that tea because you appreciate the tea and the boiling water and the fact that together they make something that’s nourishing and delicious, that lifts one’s spirit. You don’t do it because you’re worried that someone’s not going to like you if you don’t do it right. Nor do you do it so fast that it’s over before you even realize that you made a cup of tea, let alone that you drank six cups.
So whether it’s smoking a cigarette or drinking a cup of tea or making your bed or washing the dishes—whatever it might be—it’s ritual in the sense of doing it properly, if you can hold the sadness in your heart as well as the vision of the Great Eastern Sun.*
From The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness, pages 78-79.
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*Great Eastern Sun vision means we appreciate ourselves and our world. For more on the Great Eastern Sun, see Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Ani Pema’s root teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.