So often I am asked what is the best ceremony or ritual to do for a specific situation, the best root, herb, or plant to use for X, the best person to go to for a card reading, the best astrologer, the best business coach, the best book on a specific subject…and the list goes on.
It makes sense to want the best. In fact, when I see my clients and students asking for what or who is best in their given field it makes me happy. I know that what is underneath the desire for the best is a yearning for what has the capacity to truly deepen knowledge, inspire and speak to the soul, satisfy and honor our precious bodies, and deepen our spiritual practices.
But then something happens. We stand in front of what everyone says is the best piece of art, or open the covers of the best book, or we talk to a person who is supposed to be the best in a given area. And…we walk walk away feeling flat. Feeling nothing.
Why is this? Why do we all have the experience that, well, sometimes “the best” isn’t good enough, it doesn’t go far enough?
I think the reason why is this: What really counts – in life, in practice, in work, in everything we seek to do under the sun – is wrapped up in diverse relationships. The way we hold “the best” – as somehow detachable and separate, one-size fits all – can actually eclipse or weaken the growth of those relationships.
Take ritual or ceremonies for instance. In over eighty percent of the situations I encounter some combination of cleansing and blessing ceremony is the right approach. But as we all know, there are literally thousands of different ways to cleanse and bless ourselves, one another, and the situations we find ourselves in. To ask what the best method is in this example is to miss one of the most vital aspects of the sacred arts, for there is no one, silver-bullet, cleansing ritual that always works for every single person every single time.
Instead ask this: what is the best for my situation, with respect to where I am and who I am, right now?
To answer that question we have to be able to do one thing well: pay attention. We have to be vigilantly alive to the particulars of our life. We have to pay attention to what actually makes sense to us and what does not, to what resonates naturally as opposed to what feels forced; and, most of all, we have to pay attention to what right relationship looks and feels like in this specific instance. That is the road that will take us to what is really and truly the best.
And while there are many ways of paying attention and fostering right relationship, my favorite is a little practice I call cultivating calmness. You can get it for free as part of the first lesson in the Miracle Tree Sessions. It is a practice I go back to again and again, on a daily basis, and one that has served me well. I know it will do the same for you. Download the lesson HERE and may you have all the best things.