Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Times: #1 — Initiation and Rites of Passage

This series of stories explores all aspects of the spiritual journey. A journey that transcends rites, rituals, ceremonies, trinkets for sale, and all of the other elements of formal religious dogma.

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By L. Harrison

Q. What is a spiritual initiation or rite of passage?

Initiation or rite of passage marks entrance or acceptance into a group, society, or personal inner path. Initiation signifies a transformation in which the initiate is ‘reborn’ into a way of speaking, thinking, and acting. Every serious and substantial spiritual journey begins with initiation or rite of passage.

A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites is called an initiate. Some of these events are quite serious and profound while others are no more than exercises in what might be called spiritual materialism. Authentic initiations are generally limited to those few who have a passion and a calling to do inner work that is not accessible to the rest of the community but may ultimately serve the community. Rites of Passage can include many different practices and in some aboriginal cultures are affairs of life and death. There is no specific time frame for a “rite of passage” form of initiation. Many of these involve multiple ceremonies stretching out over an extended period of time. My Shamanic Initiation extended over the course of two days. My Bar Mitzvah took about eight minutes. In some Aboriginal cultures, initiations may take 3–4 months or even longer.

Are rites of passages important in our post-digital society? More than ever, and yet the more modern society is, the less likely that initiation and rites of passage will be taken

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By Cammeray

seriously. Without initiation and rites of passage, society loses much of its reason for being, and that which was once held as sacred is lost. In some tribes, initiation is essential to be a full member, one who participates in core social rituals and ceremonies.

One can say that on a subconscious level, there is a sacred element to the concept of initiation. If we are hard-wired to create a community and to form groups and social networks then we must also have a reason for doing so. The group must also have a reason for existing. This reason is sacred in that without it the community would have no reason to exist. Thus, initiation becomes sacred as it reconnects us to who we are, who we are to become, and where we are in the community. The initiation process also reconnects the community to its own history, origins, and mythology.

By Ersler

Ready, Willing, and Able

There are certain universal elements of initiation/rites of passage that are specifically relevant to the Wisdom Path and your daily Wisdom Practice.

Ritual death or “Dying while Living”, enables you to live life more fully and conquer the fear of real death. This has nothing to do with physical suicide. It is a process for dissolving the ego:

· To reveal the deeper meaning of your existence.

· To accept accountability for your actions and hold yourself to the highest standard.

· To make you aware, transcendentally of whom you are.

· Showing “what is” so you might know “what might be.”

In the Wisdom Path Initiation/Rite of Passage, there is acceptance and commitment to the Seven Pillars of Practice.

1. Meditation

2. Ruthless Introspection

3. Doing what needs to be done

4. Love through Selfless Sacrifice

5. Compassion

6. Empathy

7. Sing, Dance, Laugh, Love, and Be Silent

This commitment is not made to a teacher, master, guru, or group. It is made for yourself. Through and with this commitment, you can experience immediate transformation.

The easiest way of describing the moment when the rite of passage has been completed is readiness, willingness, and the ability to act on an “Intention” that reflects your passion and which is also in alignment with a community vision. This process may not require discipline or willpower. It is simply acting upon an intention. As we speak here of initiation and rites of passion, it is important to keep in mind that no person or group owns the truth. When you are in a state of “Wisdom Mind”, you are connecting on a very deep level to the ideas espoused in Western motivation books and films like The Secret, Field of Dreams, Power of Positive Thinking, and The Law of Attraction. These all reflect the Chinese concept of Wu Wei — the Action that has no Action.

When you are authentically ready, willing, and able to do something, all manner of unforeseen events, circumstances and environmental shifts take place to enable your vision to become a reality. This takes place naturally, spontaneously, and may often take place without discipline or willpower. This all happens through the clarity of intention that you will have when you are in a state of Wisdom Mind.

Author: My name is Lewis Harrison. I am a practical philosopher and independent scholar in the area of Essential Taoism, practical philosophy, Eastern thought, personal improvement, and problem-solving.

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By Pixaby

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I offer advice on the arts, innovation, self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, game theory strategies, and love. LewisCoaches.Medium.com

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