The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices

The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices

I’m not religious but I’m well aware there are many benefits that come from believing in and practicing religion.

So I’ve often thought about how to take all the “good bits” from religion and turning them into habits any of us, regardless of our belief system, could utilise.

And this great article by Casper ter Kuile covers much of what I’ve pondered…

Casper ter Kuile is the co-host of the award-winning podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School, and co-founder of startup Sacred Design Lab. His work has been featured in the New York TimesBoston GlobeViceThe AtlanticWashington Post and on PBS.

Below, Casper shares 5 key insights from his new book, The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices. Download the Next Big Idea App to enjoy more audio “Book Bites,” plus Ideas of the Day, ad-free podcast episodes, and more.

1. Traditional structures of American religion and community are declining.

To put it simply, more and more people are becoming less and less religious. In survey after survey, we’re seeing that when people are asked what religious identity they have, more and more people are ticking the “none of the above” box. At this point, 40% of millennials say that they’re nothing in particular, and that number is likely to grow for Gen Z.

All of that has a big impact on religious institutions. It’s estimated that 3,500 churches in America close every year. And we’re seeing a direct impact on our experience of loneliness. Loneliness is up. More people are anxious, they feel like they have fewer people to talk to about things that are meaningful in their life, and all of that has a direct impact on our health. Scientists now estimate that loneliness has the same impact on our mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or being clinically obese. So the loss of traditional structures of community and the loss of congregations is having a real impact on our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

2. Spiritual communities are rising up in unexpected places.

While we’re seeing a decline of traditional structures of American religion and community, a new landscape of meaning-making communities is growing. Think of the rise of boutique fitness groups, like SoulCycle or CrossFit—the way in which members get together for drinks on Friday night, or look after one another’s pets if someone goes on a holiday. At CrossFit, there are talent nights and CrossFit games where the faithful gather once a year for a big Olympic-style celebration.

“Loneliness has the same impact on our mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

In our research, we’ve seen more and more secular communities like these fitness groups do things that you would expect to see in a religious congregation—things like raising money for each other, accompanying one another through a cancer diagnosis, and campaigning for better local public housing. Grief and loss groups get together. Online communities form to share the experience of a debilitating illness. And fandom communities use the stories that they love to activate them in the real world around different social justice issues…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE