Its been a demanding few weeks, preparing for the Windhorse Wesak celebrations on Friday 28th May has consumed every psychic inch of my energy. I have felt strained, but tried to focus on the end I'm wishing to accomplish. If I was a tight-arsed perfectionist it really would have brought me to my knees. I imagine these rituals, and I just want to bring them into life. As a creative process its a bit different to painting or writing ideas, in that, in the end, they are entirely dependent upon others whether they work or not. At some point you have to give up your ability to control the result. Due to having a background in performance, I am more able to go along with whatever happens. In a way that's what makes rituals exciting to engage with. As long as you stay confident and calm, so will everyone else. If you panic, so will they, the audience will not be absorbed, but anxious or nervous, for you.
The warehouse was low on manpower, so I couldn't have much help with getting the Stupa and shrines set up. Devising rituals is easy, getting things prepared is the backbreaking bit. In future I'd like an assistant to help with preparing props and logistics. The rest of the Wesak Organising Team ( Arthasiddhi & Nagavira ) helped with planning everything else, and this was indeed a huge relief. I find holding a lot of organisational detail is what produces a lot of tension. This time I made a list of what I needed to do, and when, which helped keep my planning anxiety in perspective. Each day I'd cross off what I'd done, and moving elements as yet unresolved, on to the next day. Sixty plus points later the day before Wesak, I ran out of things to do, and I felt this great weight drop from my shoulders. That evening I was so excited I hardly slept. So I approached the celebration surfing on a wave of adrenalin and caffeine.
The mornings celebratory ritual, went very well, and for the first time I actually was able to enjoy leading the ritual, which was immensely satisfying. Though I've received expressions of appreciation from folk, I'm not sure exactly what effect it had on people. All I can say I experienced a buoyant lightness and excited air to folk afterwards. Not everything went according to plan. One ritual element turned out a bit chaotic. The idea was for everyone in a circle to pass around a ball of rope, and whilst being unwound, simultaneously it would be winding itself around the base of the Stupa. Whilst this was happening I'd be leading chanting of the Prattiya Samutpada formula.
If rituals don't work out how you expect, it may be due to a combination of three things; the set up wasn't explained clearly enough; why they're doing the ritual isn't self-evident enough; or there were elements in the ritual that hadn't been checked or worked out in sufficient detail. In this case it was mainly the latter, but the other two had a role to play. The slightly shambolic result did not bother me in the least. It seemed to demonstrate conditioned co-production all the same, just not how I envisaged. Trying to wind yourself up the Spiral Path whilst simultaneously trying to unwind yourself from the Wheel of Life, is apt to produce a chaotic clash of energies, pulling in different directions, which we certainly got.
That said, everything else went more or less as planned, so I feel a good deal of elevated satisfaction, thats put all that happened beforehand in a less strained perspective. That said, I still feel the need to step back from devising/organising rituals over the Summer, just to focus on a different sort of energy and engagement for a while. The energy I was using over the last few weeks was a very masculine one, overriding emotional resistances, and focusing solely on the end result. The dream I had mid-week very clearly demonstrated I was in danger of losing touch with the more sensitive, poetic and feminine aspects of myself, evoked by my recent retreat. I'd had to drop this sensibility in order to be able to crack on with Wesak preparations. Now that its all over, I want to give myself plenty of open, unstructured space for this aspect to re-emerge into.