Not sure if I am on track here but I will just start to babble and go from there.
Ritual and the spiritual have been connected since humans could conceive of spirituality.
One of my personal connection to spirituality comes from the connection I have made through my adopted daughters to native spirituality.
To take this back before the coming of the Europeans every aspect of native people contained ritual and spirituality. Hunting, preparing food all were done with a connection to spirituality.
Today many of the rituals or ceremonies still remain or have been reclaimed.
While, just as in martial arts, there may be differences in the details, but the underlying beliefs are the same. (Interesting enough there are many similarities even in the disagreements and “types” found in each.)
The first Saturday of each month I head out to the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and into the bush. I act as scapa’ous or helper at a sweat lodge ceremony. There in the quiet of the woods I prepare the fire to heat the rocks. There are prayers and procedures that are to be followed. They must be done with an open heart and good thoughts.
Building this fire is of great comfort to me and the connections that I feel it builds.
Our sweat holder runs the sweat and that too is rich in ritual and, of course, spirituality. But each part of the rituals all have meaning. There are not done without purpose. Each action has a spiritual reason.
There are many other ceremonies I have not taken part in. I have participated in a fasting ceremony. This is a more complex ceremony that encompasses two sweat lodge ceremonies. To summarize, you arrive and go into the bush to build a very small fasting lodge of willow covered in tarps. That afternoon there are pipes to be offered, later a berry ceremony and from that moment on you do not speak (except to helpers), you do not eat, and you do not drink anything. You sleep that night in camp. In the morning there is a special sweat then you leave to your fasting lodge. You remain there for three more nights (four nights in total.) The fourth day you come out to a closing sweat, your first drink of water and another berry ceremony.
There is more to this process and it is very difficult. The full ceremony is actually four fasts over four or more years. I have completed one full ceremony and hope to start my second one perhaps this summer.
In the martial arts I find my rituals in Kata and qigong. There can be great ceremony and learning in a Kata. Done in a certain manner there can be spirituality experienced in Kata. The connection between mind body and spirit can be made.
I have to say that beyond this the world we live in makes it difficult to find the same ritual and spirituality in our everyday actions.
In the modern world this connection is disconnected. Work certainly has little ritual or spirituality for most.
This is perhaps why so many are searching for that missing piece.
While I find spirituality in my martial arts I do not find “religion” or a creedal belief. Each person will come to the dojo with their own religious beliefs. These are the beliefs that can be a part of the spirituality experienced in our practice.
Not sure if this is at all what you were introducing Stryke. I would like to hear more.