During the many years of practicing Muslim rituals, I heard several people laud their benefits by saying things like, “Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored.” -Terry Tempest Williams. But, neither I, nor the people around me, seemed to experience this; just the opposite, in fact. Why was the opposite of harmony consistently the result of performing rituals that promised harmony and so much more (peace, love, unity, etc.)? Ritual implies following something mindlessly without question or thought. However, as with anything else, the effect of doing things mindlessly produces the opposite of the desired result. Instead of peace and harmony, you have war. Instead of love, you get hate. Instead of unity, division. When following any formula or instruction, leaving out mindfulness (www.mindful.org/) is like leaving out an essential ingredient such as flour when following the recipe (formula) for zucchini bread. You will only produce something no one wants to partake in. Being able to think about and question what we are doing, including rituals, is the key to achieving the desired, positive results.
“Are You Mindful?
We all have the innate ability to be present, composed, and to pause before we overreact to the challenges of our busy lives—and that’s the ground of mindfulness. With some guidance and training, mindfulness can develop into a way of living that brings greater focus and effectiveness as well as kindness and caring into everything we do. Both science and experience demonstrate how being mindful brings positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.”
A note on the importance of evaluation:
Taking feedback is essential to seeing if you achieved what you set out to do.