2.190. On Simplicity and the Death of Ritual

Recently my garbage disposal broke, which led to a number of basic changes in the way I deal with dishes. I needed to move the side of the sink I wash on. I needed to actually wash my dishes (water from the dishwasher moves through the disposal side and leaks all over the kitchen floor). I needed to move everything out from under the sink in order to clean out the space and clear out the space for the future unit. All of these things I classify as first world problems that hardly rise to the importance of a blog (again, a blog itself is some first world shit indeed). Still, if you add them all together it does point to an thought worthy moment–I had to go back to basic rituals regarding the washing of my dishes. I had to walk to a separate space to get the things I needed to in order to hand wash my dishes, which in itself is a ritualistic process. I felt like a kid again. In that moment I was mindful of the task at hand. In that moment I was thinking and feeling and reflecting on what I was actually doing. This is quite different from the fire and forget method of dishwasher based washing.

All too often I find myself moving past and through tasks without ever considering what it is I am doing. The monotony of daily tasks is important. The ritual of such things are grounding mechanisms that root us in our daily lives and serve as an opportunity for self reflection. The only way to ask myself, ‘What am I doing’ is if I am taking the moment to¬†do something as opposed to spending my thought cycles hunting the next task. This latter process happens the majority of the time for me, and the detrimental effects are clear.

Lately I have become aware of a strong mass media push for the idea of mindfulness. I don’t know where it comes from or do I think that part truly matters. Mindfulness is a core tenet of the Buddhist faith, and something I’ve become more and more aware of as I continue to expand my knowledge of that faith. I feel that it is extremely important to remain mindful, and ritual–whatever that ritual might be–is a place in which we are given a free moment to do so. I intend to be more mindful of that fact. I intend to hold on to more basic daily rituals and appreciate them for what they are.