Rituals

Rituals“To me it seems that too many young women of this time share the same creed. ‘Live, laugh, love, be nothing but happy, experience everything, et cetera et cetera.’ How monotonous, how useless this becomes. What about the honors of Joan of Arc, Beauvoir, Stowe, Xena, Princess Leia, or women that would truly fight for something other than just their own emotions?” Criss Jami

“Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too and it isn’t rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.”     Ludwig Wittgenstein

It was interesting when someone mentioned the rituals we all go through daily without any thought. It really was inspiring because it brought many questions and revelations regarding our life as usual approach. Our repetitive words and actions appear to be mindless and without any depth. It made me wonder  how much of my day was actually lived.

Then I received a phone call from a person very close to me, who was concerned about certain areas of her life manifesting in the fashion she wanted them to manifest. She was distraught about the possibility of her strategies taking longer than she wanted. Her frustration appeared out of control yet ringing true for all of us. We have become used to attaining our wants immediately. We can receive an e-mail in seconds, as well as an invitation, announcement notification or doctor results. We can work from home and even run a business on-line without ever meeting the people we sell to.

I always kiss my husband before leaving yet there are times when both of us question the occurrence. Do we appreciate the significance of the gesture or are we performing a ritual without any meaning. So many actions throughout the day are done mindlessly and now I am reflecting on every word and action. It likely is true that when we say how are you doing that it is only a hello. We are not interested I suppose and no one ever responds with anything but good or okay. I love my husband and certainly I need to remember the reasons for our actions so that we can appreciate why we perform the action and how much it means. The effect of special actions should never wear off or lose their meaning.

I find it all a bit frenzied. Although we have more time to ponder, we lose it with our engagement with technology. People are being replaced with glorified machines of all kinds. Our best friends are cell phones, I-pads, computers and other devices.  Outings with spouses or friends or even co-workers can’t  compare to our tech devices. Humans are now in competition with technology which appears at the moment, to be far more interesting.

I agree that the amount of information acquired through the computer is tremendous but how much of the information is irrelevant and not necessarily  even worthwhile. Some information is not worth knowing and actually hurts us emotionally and spiritually. Secrecy is easy when using such devices. The age of openness is over. People have their own lives when on the computer.

What is most annoying is the dismissal of real people who are right near us for a small unfeeling device. The majority of people give their attention to the small device enticing them with their pings to respond to some far away person. Technology began as a useful item to support us and offer us closeness to others who were at a distance. Now it is used randomly, without thought or respect for anyone, for the entertainment of the individual.

I am reviewing the fact that we revere technology because it gives us control like nothing else in our lives. We decide if we will respond to this person or that one. We can put someone off in a second, make distant plans quickly, find answers to questions from a machine rather than deal with the wordy response of a human, and not have to listen longer than we want to when we consider it a boring conversation. How much easier it is to put an out of sight person off than a teary eyed or anxious person facing and staring at us.

People have complained to me that their friends are always on the device when in their company. They find it annoying because they made the time to spend with their friend yet felt denied the company of their pal. As close and small as we have made our world, I believe we are further from attachments and intimacy than ever before.

I worry for the children who are perhaps unobserved as carefully by those too busy computing. When one is on the computer, lost in it’s attraction and entertainment, the world passes by unnoticed. Hours are lost in this scenario which occurs everyday. Our extension of rituals continues with our constant need for devices. We basically don’t have to think anymore because there are better minds and people with greater intelligence, or so we surmise, telling us what we should do.

Of course it contradicts our notion of being in control. Maybe the joke is on us. We have button control and information control but decisions of all kinds are made for us everyday. We are constantly influenced by whatever information is sent over our machines. People today have more than  soap operas and television. We have a device capable of providing information  at any moment of any day and it is small, easy to carry and can be used at any time.

If we believe we have no control then we play and work in a ritualistic manner. Time is irrelevant and decisions are lost. We question how the time slipped away from us. Our ability to change or differ our  life’s path is unrecognized. Power and independence seem to be lost in the shuffling. Feeling helpless to make a difference we refuse to try. Those who are attempting to escape the clutches of rituals and the attraction and temptation of electronics are waking up to an  awareness of the world. It really is crucial to ask ourselves how much of our lives we are actually living and how much is autopilot.

Living is embracing  life with attention and allowing your whole being to sense and process all that is around us including the people. Some things  are only deduced intuitively. Understanding some natural wonders can’t be compared to wordy information. Explaining the sunrise or sunset will never compare to experiencing it. Discussing one’s feelings in words can’t always measure up to personal involvement with a living person. So much is lost in translation.

Refuse to have your life  become  a ritual of jobs and demands. Achieving confirmation of our purpose and meaning in life lies within us.  Others do not need to confirm our abilities or our worth. No one is like us nor can they do the jobs requested of us to accomplish. We are not at all easy to replace and deep down we know it. The dynamics within us are pure and unique. By taking care of what we can, we allow others to deal with their own share of obligations.

Limiting technology use is crucial to saving our own humanity and self esteem. Spending so much time on the outskirts of our lives allots us little time for our own close up look at how we make a positive impact. Some rituals are expected, but  living with purpose takes courage. It forces us to choose every day. Positive decisions happen when we have all of the facts which comes from being tuned into our lives. Every sense has a vital role in our development.

Hiding behind technology can place our life on hold. I do not want to turn my life over to a machine which shares no human altruistic attributes. I want to live my life rather than view it from a distance. Looking back I want to see and sense  emotions  intertwined with my experiences even if it means letting go of control a bit. I know the last thing I want to do is to miss living my life, by  being too busy organizing and controlling it. I will gain time not lose it as one would anticipate.

Answering a child’s simple questions might bring my own childhood to mind. There might be times I envy the young adults who have so much at their hands and support by their sides. I also at times feel sorry for the young adults who miss the emotional aspect of the numerous interactions with people standing beside them. You can’t explain the agreeing voice of one with a tear in the corner of their eye. It makes your heart race a bit. Emotions alter people in a profound loving and positive way. Emotions teach and allow a person to pass on the knowledge that quite possible can’t be passed on any other way. You learn so much from an encounter you didn’t plan but which was planned for you by God. How can a person put that into words? I think that when we give up control, life flows easier and we see beyond the horizon. Of course  we must make sure we are not on the device.

“He who becomes the slave of habit, who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace, who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience dies slowly. He or she who shuns passion, who prefers black on white, dotting ones “it’s” rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer, that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy, who is unhappy at work, who does not risk certainty for uncertainty, to thus follow a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly. He who does not travel, who does not read, who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself, dies slowly. He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, who does not allow himself to be helped, who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know, he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know, die slowly. Let’s try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.”
― Pablo Neruda

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