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8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

8 Gifts That Rites Of Passage Have To Offer

Rites of passages have been around since the early humans formed tribes. They’ve been ways for us to tell stories and initiate youth into adulthood, ascended adulthood, and beyond.

Some rites of passages were, and still are, intense. Some involve a quest. Some are about celebrating life, some are about honoring the dead. Some have been going on for centuries, and some are just starting now, as humanity realizes the need for the gifts of these experiences. Ultimately, a common pattern I see with many of them comes down to instilling these 8 gifts into a person’s life.

1. Discovering who we really are

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    A modern-day rite of passage that many high school students today are experimenting with is a gap year—an extended period of time to travel, work, and experience life outside of the traditional academic system. Some of the primary benefits the students gain from taking a gap year include realizing what they really love (before they jump into any major and start studying), being more adaptable to a variety of cultures, learning new languages faster, making amazing friends, and experiencing lots of adventures. Imagine how big of a difference it can make if you already know what you want to master in your life before you dive into a structured path of study. It’d surely save you lots of time and money.

    2. Discovering what we’re made of

    Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

      Me after a somersault, dodging a gladiator at the finish line of a Spartan Beast Race, 2013.

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      In the Amazon of Brazil, there is a tribe called the Sateré-Mawé. If you’ve ever heard of a rite of passage where boys wear a huge glove filled with angry bullet ants for 10 minutes, this is a Sateré-Mawé tradition. It initiates boys into men as their endurance is tested to see how much pain they can tolerate. This is definitely an extreme example of a rite of passage for discovering what we’re made of, and if you notice parallels in the other rites of passage, you’ll often notice a trend of breaking through limiting beliefs and showing youth that they are capable and stronger than they think.

      The benefit of experiencing and enduring pain is knowing that we can move through it. Now, I’m not recommending or suggesting anybody stick their hand in a glove filled with bullet ants, but we can definitely realize that we’re much more than we thought when we experience and move through physical challenges—be it a Spartan Race, triathlon, a mountain backpacking journey, or going through an intensive group experience like what Garret J. White has created with Wake Up Warrior.

      One powerful mental challenge I set for myself a few years ago was a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat. To meditate 14 hours a day, not speak to anyone, and be in silence was really challenging by day 2 and 3, but afterward there was a profound peace where I learned to be even more comfortable in my own skin, regardless of the silence or noise around me.

      3. Discovering our purpose in life

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        Perhaps one of the strongest long-time rites of passage that have supported many people for thousands of years to discover purpose in their lives is the Native American Vision Quest. The Vision Quest has four primary elements to it: solitude, immersion in nature, fasting, and community. People to this day still embark on Vision Quests and speak of how they enter a sacred space and time, where the questions that call to them often are, “Who am I? What do I have to give? How can I heal my wounds?”

        Living in a state of consciousness, like the merging of the dream world and waking world, many people throughout time return from these experiences with powerful insights about who they are, what they are called to do and contribute in their lifetime, and, ultimately, they return with a more open heart, bringing their unique gifts with enthusiasm to their family, friends, and community.

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        4. Developing life skills

        Rites Of Passages Tony Robbins

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          When met with challenges during these rites of passage, people are required to access many different resources within themselves, like courage, creativity, innovation, and relationship-building skills. Take the modern-day rite of passage Claire Potter challenged her son to. He was coming close to his 13th birthday and wanted more freedom. As a test to expand his identity into adolescence, Claire sent him out on 10 challenges that included performing a 13-bar blues piece in public, taking the train alone, and cooking a three-course family dinner from scratch. Not as intense as some of the more ancient rites of passage, but these challenges empowered Claire’s son with confidence and an expanded sense of resourcefulness in life.

          Today, we have the fortune of going to immersive seminars, like those of Tony Robbins. At his Unleash The Power Within event, one of the breakthrough rituals everyone is invited to participate in is the fire walk. For hours before the legendary fire walk, Tony guides the audience in mastering their mindset and conditioning their bodymind to be in a state of peak performance and fearlessness—the state needed to walk on 2100-degree Fahrenheit coals and walk off without the slightest blister. At the event, I learned many powerful life lessons, 10 of which I shared in a previous Lifehack post.

          5. Honoring our family lineage

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            In most ancient rites of passage, the whole family and community came together to participate in the boy or girl’s experience. The elders led the experiences from the wisdom that was passed down to them from their ancestors. The fathers, mothers, and older siblings would prepare and initiate the participant from childhood to adulthood. Throughout the entire process was honor for one’s family lineage and community. The boy or girl would come back to the community as a new, evolved human being with a new role and responsibility to greater contribute to the community.

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            In today’s western world, there’s been a disconnection with honoring our family lineages. Most people don’t even know who their great grandfathers and grandmothers were and what they did. We have made our elders into folders, putting them into a sort of solitary confinement we call “seniors’ homes,” rarely visiting. The gift of re-incorporating rites of passage in today’s world will bring the tremendous amount of wisdom our elders have to today’s younger generations.

            6. Expanding our sense of identity

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              Photo Source: An exercise from UPW with Tony Robbins used to expand one’s identity

              With the transition and transformation through the rite of passage, one takes on a new, expanded sense of identity. They realize they are more than who they thought they were. They now have a greater sense of responsibility to contribute to the community, and with that comes a greater joy to be of service.

              I remember a time where I secretly signed my dad up for a Spartan Beast race. At the time, he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery, and before that he was, to say the least, in a funk. I knew the cancer was a wake-up call in his life for him to reorganize and become a greater version of himself, and I knew he had been habitually eating a poor diet with no exercise. So, I inspired him to do a Spartan race. I told him it would be about 3 miles. This one was 13 miles with over 25 obstacles along the way. At the time, the most my dad had run in his life was 5 miles.

              When it came to race day, he saw what lay ahead of him. Anger, stress, and anxiety took over as he was concerned with whether he could make it through with his state of health. And guess what? He did. In fact, he finished 12th place in his age division. This was such an extraordinary accomplishment for him that when he crossed the finish line filled with joy, he realized he was capable of so much more than he’d thought before. He carried this through his life with greater confidence than before, winning the fight and kicking cancer’s ass.

              7. Transitioning to a new stage of life

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              Rites Of Passages Adam Siddiq

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                From boy to man, girl to woman, adulthood to an ascended level of adulthood, rites of passage have been a marking point of a person’s transition from who they previously were to who they must become to claim the next level of life that has been waiting for them. The courage, faith, determination, trust, inner-guidance, and resourcefulness we develop through experiencing rites of passage make transitioning to new stages of life so much more effortless.

                8. Celebrating the gift of life

                Rites Of Passages Lifehack

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                  Life is a beautiful gift and rites of passage remind us of this blessing which we’ve been given. They also remind us of the gift we’re here to give back. The celebration kicks off full-tilt as the new hero returns from their journey, being initiated and cracked open to love, growth, service, and the realization of their infinite potential.

                  So go on, experience a rite of passage and, with it, experience all 8 of these gifts and much more!

                  Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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                  Last Updated on September 30, 2020

                  How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                  How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                  We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

                  In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

                  The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

                  The Importance of Living in the Moment

                  “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

                  While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

                  Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

                  Better Health

                  By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

                  Improve Your Relationships

                  Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

                  Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

                  How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

                  By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

                  Greater Self-Control

                  You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

                  Why Do We Worry?

                  Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

                  When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

                  Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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                  Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

                  3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

                  Step 1: Overcome Worrying

                  In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

                  Calm Your Mind

                  When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

                  The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

                  In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

                  Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

                  Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

                  People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

                  If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

                  Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

                  In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

                  Racing Mind

                  Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

                  You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

                  If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

                  Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

                  None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

                  So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

                  By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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                  In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

                  Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

                  A Wandering Mind

                  From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

                  Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

                  Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

                  Outside Influences

                  Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

                  Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

                  Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

                  So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

                  Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

                  Understand Mindfulness

                  The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

                  When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

                  You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

                  This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

                  To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

                  If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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                  You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

                  Mindfulness Meditation

                  Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

                  Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

                  You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

                  This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

                  If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

                  Mindful Breathing

                  While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

                  You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

                  Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

                  Mindful Walking

                  Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

                  Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

                  Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

                  You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

                  In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

                  You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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                  Mindful Eating

                  Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

                  The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

                  Live in the present with mindful eating.

                    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

                    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

                    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
                    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
                    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

                    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

                    Mindful Activities

                    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

                    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

                    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

                    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

                    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

                    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

                    More About Living in the Present

                    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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