Recent occurrences have made me reflect on how, as traditional people, we are simply not like others. The reason we live a “tradition” and not practice a “religion” is because we eat, breathe, and live this thing. The work we do is not over a pot (although we can work there too) but it is in the everyday, mundane things that make us who we are. Once you walk into tradition, perspective and understanding are forever changed, and I dare say that because of that knowledge we are held to a different standard as well.
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou
Respect for nature: Tradition has taught me some secrets of the forest and about the many spirits that reside there. This is the reason that before I cross the threshold of the woods, my knee hits the ground. It is why before I take anything from the woods, I either leave something or perform a service to the woods in exchange for what I take. My practice has taught me what to leave and how to ensure my offerings are beneficial to all who live in the woods.
Speech: Tradition has taught me the spiritual consequences of cursing and is the reason that when I am trying to do work any swearing is unacceptable. The tongue is closely monitored for myself and others nearby. This knowledge is also the reason that my phone is off or completely put away while I am shopping, gathering supplies, or working. Mindless chatter is replaced by a semi-meditative state where I focus my intent on the outcome I want.
Eating: The teaching I have received from my elders have taught me that nourishing my body is a sacred time as well as a sacred event. While others may be able to stop their meals, eat standing up, or work and eat I am required to observe this sacred event and have to enforce it, even at work. Tradition also affects what I eat on a daily basis as I have food taboos to maintain. I have gotten very comfortable with saying “no” so that I stay compliant with my restrictions.
There are many other rituals that are done on a daily basis for every practitioner of the many various traditions that exist in the world. I started not to do this post because it is so simple, but sometimes this fact makes it the most overlooked way to exercise spiritual power and gain strength. The sacrifices that are made everyday are critical to gaining discipline and spiritual growth.
I’ve been asked before, “How do I integrate my mundane life with my spiritual one?” My response has always been, “How do you not?”