Rituals (Pattern Chapter Intro)

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Wake up. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Brush your teeth. Go to work. Eat lunch. Go home. Eat dinner. Get dressed. Brush your teeth. Go to bed. But don’t worry. The end of the cycle is just the beginning. Because the next day, we get to restart and do all of it over, again. And again the day after that. And again the day after that…..There is a routine to our daily lives in which we partake. Every. Single. Day. Folks, we are creatures of habit on a regular basis.

With each repetition, the pattern grows stronger. Single prayers become daily prayers. Single pills become addictions. Single moments become a collection of memories. The things we do most often feel the weight of similarity, and let’s face it, whenever things become all too familiar for us, we get tired and bored with them. But much like an uninteresting book, one can’t help but keep turning the pages out of curiosity, hoping it gets better towards the end.

In between all of our duplicated mundane events, we do try to weave in some spontaneity on occasion. Maybe instead of getting dressed and eating breakfast, we switch it up a little. We get dressed, skip breakfast, and go out for brunch later with friends. Or maybe we go horseback riding and have a picnic during sunset. Anything’s possible, as long as, we have time for ‘anything’ in our schedules.

Religions and rituals go hand-in-hand. In any religion, two of the most important parts are life and death - how we live and how we pass on. When a newborn enters the world, we shower him or her with love and affection. We annually throw parties to celebrate the day of birth. We have cake and bring gifts. It’s usually a fun shindig that some people dread and others look forward to doing. When a person dies, it is customary to honor the diseased by holding a wake and/or a funeral for him or her. We attend in black attire and shed tears for the loss. Flowers are sent; buffets are provided. A eulogy is delivered and goodbyes are said. Both rituals are carried out to recognize entrances and honor exits, respectively.

When does the symmetry of ritual become the pattern of obsession? Is it defined by want over need? We need to eat but what we want and how often we want it makes all the difference in determining ritual over obsession? Is the line between need and want nonexistent in regards to our rituals? The route to work is a ritual so ingrained that any variance reveals our obsession for it to remain unchanged. A late bus, a traffic jam, or a snow storm could very much unsettle our settled ways and ruin the rest of any day. We are obsessed with rituals, naturally.

Practice makes perfection, and each ritual we either do together or by ourselves, whether it’s always setting clocks five minutes ahead to ensure being on time or wearing the same shirts during to every game to guarantee that the favored sports team wins or washing hands (rinse, soap, rinse, repeat) five times every time to feel clean, we all continuously do the same things often, because they cater to the purpose of feeling accomplished. Small accomplishments that take up little time to conquer bring us comfort, which is a gift and a curse, and make us feel good. And who wouldn’t want to feel good over and over, again?

Created: Mar 04, 2014

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