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What’s Missing in Modern Spirituality?

photo: Waiting for the Word on flickr

photo: Waiting for the Word on flickr

Dear Meli,

I have been attending a spiritual center for about two years. I love going there and I love the people. I also love what I have learned about spirituality. It’s very different from my childhood, when God was a mean old guy who lived in the sky. There’s only one problem. I miss some of the elements from my Catholic upbringing. I miss the ritual and I miss the sense of devotion. Do you have any tips for how I can regain some of those elements in my current spirituality?

Missing Mass

Dear Missing

I had this same experience. I wasn’t even aware of what was missing for me until I heard someone else talk about it. As I heard them describing the missing devotional aspect of spirituality, it was like I’d been bonked on the head and awakened by a fairy from a deep sleep. Once awake, I could not ever go back to sleep.

I needed to find ways to integrate the devotional into my own spiritual practices to round out what was missing for me. I have found a variety of things that support me in this, and I just bet there are other people who will, hopefully, chime in with their own methods and practices of doing the same thing.

1. Ritual 

Ritual is a powerful transitioning element for anytime in life.  When I feel stuck, I find that ritual can be just the thing to blast me out of the stuckness!

The beautiful thing about ritual is that it invites forth the practice of standing in divine empowerment. It is a sacred ceremony when you declare it so!

As you approach the elements you use for ritual with a sense of honoring the sacred, it changes the activity entirely. Adding more ritual to your life can be very simple. You could add ritual to your meditation practice by lighting a candle, ringing a bell, or chanting before you start.

For a wonderful book about ritual and many fabulous ideas for applying them, check out Karyl Huntley’s book, Real Life Rituals  It’s my go-to source! I have found that by reading it, I have gained the confidence to bring more of my own ideas to the creation of rituals (whether for myself or for others)!

2. Devotional Prayer

When I was bonked awake with my need for more sacred devotion in my life, it irrevocably altered my personal prayers. I came in to a new relationship with the Divine. A beautiful new depth came over my spiritual life.

First, I found a name for “God” that is exactly right for me. And my prayers have transformed. I’ve allowed my awareness of Source to shift and open back up.

I grew up with God as something outside of me. I dismissed this God in my teen years, and came to a new experience of Spirit in my thirties. But now I have a new, fuller experience of Spirit as both in, through and outside of me! This means I can be in relationship with It in a different way.

3. Checking In

My new relationship with Source allows me to check in with my own inner knowing in more colorful ways.

I can ask a question, and await an answer in my heart.

I can invite the infinite power to use me, and surrender to It.

All of this has shifted since my relationship with Spirit became more devotional. I highly recommend “checking in” throughout the day – as often as you are able!

“Should I eat this, or that?” “Should I turn right here, or go the other way?” “What is the best way to express this feeling to my brother so that we can have a healing?”

There is never a question too big or too small. And there is always guidance.

Does this guidance come from within, or without? Both!

4. Call a ritual a Ritual

Watch yourself go through your days with an awareness of looking for existing rituals.

Ritual is defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. In other words, if you bring your awareness to the sacredness of cleansing your body for a new day, showering becomes sacred…a ritual.

All day we do rituals, without the awareness of their sacred qualities. All we need do is bring our consciousness along – noticing the miracle of our body as we walk, for instance – to transform the mundane into the sublime.

My Sacred Blessings upon your journey, as you draw in more awareness of the divine in to your daily life!

Blessings and Love to you in all you do!


What is your experience with devotion and ritual? Share your comments below!

Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at meli@ohmygodlife.com

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6 Responses to What’s Missing in Modern Spirituality?

  1. Carol Davis April 5, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Excellent. Very well said. This has not been an issue for me but I have heard the issue come up. Love your answer. Thank you

    • Melissa Phillippe April 7, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Carol! Thank you – I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Big love and blessings to you, Meli

  2. Susan Meade April 11, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    My Zen practice had a minimum amount of ritual when I began, and for years, but then suddenly one of the two leaders decided to keep embellishing her rituals and chants. Where she didn’t care if we participated before, now she kept making an issue of it, interfering with the meditative process itself. Worse yet, she singled me out, ignoring the 1 or 2 others who also hadn’t been participating in the ritualistic bows. Though I explained my experiences and reasoning, she wouldn’t drop it.
    The more ritual, the more I don’t like it precisely because it reminds me of the rote prayers and superficial bowing etc of the Catholic Church that I left when I was 19, after all my years in Catholic school. I left the Zen group and went to another. Ritual may help some and offset others. I agree that perhaps it should be a more personal ritual and not dictated from the spiritual leaders.

    • Melissa Phillippe April 21, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you so much for writing, and sharing this with us all. This sounds very challenging…to be in a spiritual community and feel “pushed out” in any way is very painful, indeed! But good for YOU for staying true to your integrity! THIS is the KEY, in my opinion.

      Each of us is going to have different inclinations…different things work for us to connect with the divine. How beautiful it is to honor our own path, and find our way to what works! Thank you for doing this – for your self, and then so you can share this courage and integrity with others!


      By the way, my very sincere apologies for the delay in this reply…somehow I wasn’t notified when you wrote. All the best to you.

  3. Norma Miller April 26, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Ritual was never big when I grew up in the Christian Science Church but did need to shed some things in the CSC. I am not comfortable with too much ritual but love that I had a gift of the philosophy, to move into the Science of Mind so well. Love and appreciate it all as we know everything has a reason for good we just have to find it sometimes that can be difficult. Love you

    • Melissa Phillippe April 26, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      I certainly understand not being comfortable with too much ritual, too, Norma. And I agree that everything has a reason for good when we look and find it. :-) Like you posting on here! THAT is GOOD. 😉

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