I will open here with my awareness that I intend to create a considerably more detailed chapter on this subject. It fascinates me and I honor the importance of this strange (but not exclusively) human behavior.
There is really little difference in Ritual versus Ceremony. In my mind, they are really the same thing. To some, certain rituals can appear as an adorable behavioral tick, an eccentricity, a symptom of diagnosable obsessive-compulsive disorder, a meticulous method of staying organized. It can seem nonsensical or an enviable practice. It can be as simple as the way you brush your teeth and as complicated as being sworn in to testify in court. It can be solely yours and private or it can involve many people like the process and procedure of guarding the grave of the Unknown Soldier.
I am certain that you are already identifying rituals you perform and searching your daily behaviors for more. I can tell you that you will find several. I can assure you that I have my own. Getting ready for performances is when it really shows itself in my little world. I previously wrote about how many pockets I have in my "costuming" when I am in show-mode, and that each of them has an assignment. Because I have so many things to remember, the ritual of preparing is an important one. It also serves to ease me into the proper headspace to go "be that guy" as I privately say to my closest.
In the recent few weeks, I have seen my tiny family perform rituals they may not necessarily recognize as such. Much of it is done for the sake of tradition, and to me, it is beautiful. In the process, they have also identified things that they believe should become "new traditions". How great is that‽
My mind races to capture the thousands-of-thoughts-per-second for a more brief explanation here.
Rituals shouldn't be written off as a silly superstition. They help us stay organized. They help us concentrate. They help us honor ourselves.
In hypnosis and NLP, there is a recognized psychological tool called anchoring. It is a basic way of reaching a deeper (long-term memory) area of the brain by associating two unrelated things with each other. It is very powerful and it is why I have also written about using scent when memorizing a speech. Ritual performs the same purpose and has added benefits.
Over the next few days, pay attention to your rituals. They may be something you were previously unaware of but they are there. If you frequently prepare yourself a cup of tea, watch yourself do it. I will bet that you have a procedure that is invariably the same every time. As you recognize these rituals, you can assign additional meanings to each element of the process and it can become something that benefits you in many additional ways.
If you are curious to hear more from me on this subject, do let me know.
With my love, I will see you in the funny papers!