Consider inventing a ritual
It will change how you see the world
Dan Brown, author of the The Da Vinci Code fame, believes hanging upside down is a cure to his writer’s block. Rafael Nadal, the legendary tennis player’s quirks are more elaborate - he takes a cold shower 45 mins before every match, towels down after every point, never gets up from his chair before his opponent and points drinking bottles toward his current playing end of the court, in an exact same kinda way. Victor Hugo, wrote both Les Misrables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame while he was nude. You, dear reader, are not that neurotic? Maybe that’s why you haven’t written a bestseller nor made it to the Wimbledon final yet.
At the outset, these feel odd and strange. In some instances (e.g Hugo above), they appear like some sort of a fetish. When I first considered this idea, the rationalist within me balked. I’ve been deliberate about distancing myself from the overtly ritualistic Hindu brahmanical culture that I was born into. All this changed when I stumbled upon research that advised the exact opposite. It made me stop and recognise the dissonance within me. Highly rigorous, objective scientists are telling us that rituals help. A lot. They can channel and re-invigorate our energies, relieve us of negative feelings and help us find meaning in what matters.
These are bold claims. Yet the skeptic in me reminds - Remember what mindless ceremonies felt like ? - often numbing and at it worst a form of suffering inflicted by a sadistic society. “What am I missing?”, I asked myself.
What I’ve learnt since has helped me change how I see the world working.