Audio version read by Rev. Steven Lane Taylor, B.Msc.
Since the beginning of recorded time, various religious and spiritual groups have engaged in rituals. To many, rituals form some sort of bridge between themselves and the Divine, or God. From very simple people living meagerly in huts to the so-called captains of industry at the top of skyscrapers, very few people are immune from finding themselves engaged in some form of religious ritual. In many religions, rituals take up a great deal of the followers’ time.
To the vast majority of souls occupying this earth plane of existence, some sort of ritual is practiced in accord with the general theology espoused. The question should be asked—if so much time is taken in the practice of rituals, are they of any real value? Is there anything to be gained from rituals, or are they just part of pomp and circumstance to impress the masses?
From a mystical point of view, rituals are performed as an outer spiritual practice simply because a person does not know about stepping into the inner spiritual communion of spirit.
It seems that most larger religious bodies rely on rituals. Rituals are easier for people to engage in, and they help those in charge to manipulate or hold in check large masses of followers. To put it another way, the more advanced any spirituality may be, the fewer the followers or the need for rituals.
Rituals, mystically speaking, are used till they are no longer of any consequence for the sake of one’s spirituality. In fact, at a certain point of spiritual awakening rituals become an interference to higher spiritual awakening.
Why go through the ritualistic motions when non-motion or silence opens the door of consciousness to Universal Mind or Spirit or Presence—to God? To a person who has achieved mystical awareness of Universal God Presence, rituals are at a level of sandbox spirituality. But why, if rituals are at such a childish level of spirituality, are they allowed to continue? What is their purpose or value?
Rituals do have a role in one’s life until such time as a soul reunites in consciousness with Spirit. Like any religion that God or Universal Presence allows to exist, its purpose is for some collective entity or group of people to be reminded of Universal Presence at their very basic level of understanding. The symbolism of rituals causes them to feel that they are doing something spiritual. In fact, they are—on the simplest of consciousness levels—acknowledging that God exists. Even souls on a basic level of spirituality are stimulated from within to acknowledge outwardly what their souls already know inwardly. Ritualistic religions offer such very young souls the opportunity to acknowledge that a Higher Presence—or God—created them. This doing something or being in motion satisfies the personal ego, and, in a sense, gives the soul some relief from the false personal sense of identity.
Rituals seem to fill the void of illusionary time that never really was. When one awakens spiritually to the Ultimate Truth, one realizes that the void that never really was has, in Reality, always been filled with the Eternal. The further one awakens spiritually, the less doing, and the more being.
It should be pointed out that there are rituals for good, which are to acknowledge God, but there are also, unfortunately, rituals for the not-so-good. Carried to an extreme, some rituals can be described as evil.
Those who engage in rituals to bring about control for personal gain at the expense of others, or for power over others, or to cause torment or destruction of others, are at the height of self-delusion. Why? Because they believe that their false personal ego is their true identity. They practice rituals to call upon the illusionary power that caters to those clinging to the false ego identity. They are caught up in what can only be described as vain, self-absorbed, egotism. They seek power from the illusionary power of rituals, for there is no power within the false sense of personal ego identity. The leaders of such groups play on the vulnerability of souls who are lost in the illusionary mazes of false ego identities. In such an atmosphere, rituals dominate—which should speak volumes about rituals: the more rituals dominate in any group, the further away they are from the Universal One-Life of God. The only thing that is accomplished from rituals without good intent is to dredge up primitive archetypal energies from the past and let them create remembrances of an even greater divide from the One-Life Presence of God.
Rituals are based on repetition. Repeat something often enough and it becomes a ritual. Finding that one is tiring of any ritual is a hint that the ritual has run its course of value in one’s life. The Christ Mind that was in Jesus said, “Use not vain repetitions . . . for they shall not be heard.”
Again, rituals are repetitions. They fill a space that never really needed to be filled in the first place. They speak of a Higher Presence symbolically, but don’t reveal that Presence—not till a person is exhausted or bored by repetition. At that point the time has come when doing or repeating is over, and God’s Presence reveals itself.
My guidance is this: Ritualize, if you want, till the personal ego is no more—and God IS.
Dr. Paul Leon Masters
Text taken from Dr. Paul Leon Masters’ Book, “Mystical Insights: Knowing the Unknown,” Pgs. 94-97. Copyright © 2016 by the International Metaphysical Ministry.
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Intro and ending music © “Night Radiance” by Maxim Kornyshev