Do Rituals Rule Our Lives?
We all have our rituals that we stick to on a daily, weekly or other set basis. Some are quirky things we do individually and others are more elaborate routines we go through with others. There are religious, social, and group based rituals. There are individual rituals like combing our hair a certain number of times each morning, putting a lucky coin or memento in our pocket, or taking the same path to work each day. Some of us follow more rituals than others. But, our lives are filled with them; they weave their way throughout our lives. Why are they so important to us?
1. Rituals add meaning to our lives. They provide us with a regular reminder of those things that are important in our lives. Even though they may seem insignificant when we do them, the fact that we continue to them makes them important.
2. Rituals reduce chaos in our lives. For a brief moment the process of the ritual has a calming effect. Our focus is drawn to the matter at hand instead of the many other things going on in our life. For a short moment we have held back the chaos that surrounds us.
3. Rituals create consistency. We become grounded in the repetition of these small or elaborate processes. It is within the process that we train ourselves to perceive and work through patterns. Many patterns continually recur in what we do. The consistency in how we respond to those same patterns helps us be more even centered individually.
4. Rituals help us solidify expectations. In the process of completing rituals we have an exact sequence of events that we are completing. We are in fact rebuilding basic blocks in the foundation of our lives. Each ritual we complete reaffirms these basic building blocks.
5. Rituals give us mind at peace. We find Peace and tranquility by completing a simple set of tasks that give us a sense of simple accomplishment. It is the act of completing something that gives us comfort in the midst of always having to deal with more complex daily problems.
Rituals are important as a way to ground us and shape our daily lives. But, there are times when we should pause to think about the rituals we perform and decide whether or not they help or detract from our daily living. In the end healthy rituals improve healthy lives.