Ritual Space / by Tom Maloney

It’s no secret we live in a society dominated by the material.  We’re told not to bother working on yourself or cultivating your core being, there’s Xanax for that.  Do more, buy more, consume more. If you're not constantly doing or “getting,” there is something wrong with you.  Rampant consumerism is the biggest industry in America and it is in no danger of extinction.  In a world where the mundane and material are seen as the pinnacle of human experience, there is a desperate need for Ritual Space to restore depth, vitality, and meaning to our lives.  Ritual Space does not have to be an actual physical space, although there is something to be said for such locations.  A place, that when stepped into, feels distinctly different in tonality and purpose than the outside.  These places are known in Japanese as “Dojo.”

The word Dojo literally translates as “Place of the Way.”  Traditionally adjuncts to temples, dojos are known as locations for martial arts practice but in reality can be anywhere where the “Way” is practiced.  The Way represents the path of growing awareness, constantly moving towards the light of liberation and away from the dark of unskillful action and speech. Ritual space can be the temple on the secluded mountain in a faraway land.  Ritual space can also be the one hour set aside after a busy day to practice your particular art.  The temple on the mountain may seem more “ritually,” but in reality it is the intent of the practitioner that creates the particular energy of the space.  I implore you to find your Ritual Space.  Maybe its a corner of your room set aside for quiet contemplation.  Maybe its a park with a lake near home.  Maybe its your local Dojo.  Maybe its finding your flow while playing violin, bringing you to a state distinctly different and infinitely more enriching than the profane existence we are peddled as absolute. Maybe its the 5 minute shower every night!  Wherever it is, whatever it is, and whenever it is, everybody needs his or her Ritual Space.