If we are going to participate in sacred ceremony it means there are some things we will no longer be doing during our preparation time- which can be weeks or months prior to the Ceremony. Sometimes we fast on certain types of foods, or enter a media ban in which we stop watching all the bad news of the world. Or we might dedicate our time to prayer or creating sacred objects or garments that will be used in the ceremony. Preparing for and participating in sacred ceremony becomes our life. It’s not something we just show up for on a weekend, join in the music and dance, and then go home to watch a movie or return to our jobs.
There are many reasons that people come to a spiritual path- sometimes it’s because their life doesn’t work and they’re seeking a way to feel successful in jobs, relationships, and personal intimacy. Sometimes individuals seek to join a spiritual community because they feel they have a great gift to offer and want to find others to appreciate it. But sometimes people join a spiritual path to help make a difference in the lives of others. It is these people who are willing to learn and practice the true meaning of sacrifice.
An authentic path of spirit gives one the opportunity
to experience awakened intelligence.
In the world, on a regular basis, most of us are engaged in daily entertainment or some form of consumerism. This is because we are trying to avoid thinking about and realizing that illness, old age, change, and death are the realities of existence. Since this idea tend to be depressing and off putting we form our lives around avoidance of these energies, even though, in the end, this never works. Little children, young people, middle aged people, as well as old people go through changes they never anticipated, become ill, and even die. Reality can, and will happen, to everyone. But most people prefer to remain asleep and ignorant of these realities. Awakened intelligence is the ability to live our lives, on a daily basis, as though it were our last chance to love, forgive, listen, share, or be kind to others. Awakened intelligence means creating a life that has meaning regardless of the realities that await us.
Having a life means making a contribution to the welfare of others. To make a contribution to the betterment of the world we are willing to sacrifice: time, money, effort, and ourselves in order to participate in actions that make a difference. This contribution can be the practice of prayer. Prayer is the focused intention of blessing those around us with the good things in life, love, joy, peace, beauty, healing, or grace. We contribute by being kind and thoughtful to our family, friends, and associates. We contribute by forgiving those who speak ill of us, listening with full attention when others are sharing a story that is important to them, and by allowing others to be who they are rather than expecting them to live up to who we would prefer for them to be. We contribute when we notice and comment with appreciation on the gifts that others have shared through words, ideas, or deeds. We contribute when we are willing to share affection with those around us- a smile, a hug, and a kind word, a touch on their shoulder or their hand. In order to live our lives in this way we must be willing to sacrifice focusing on what we think, what we want, and what we expect.