Updated: Oct 13, 2018
As I grew up in my house, I always used to question a lot of things that my parents/family members/relatives said to me. This was driven by my learning, scientific observations, how others behaved, and even knowledge of different cultures. Despite my urgings, I never used to get the exact or scientific reasoning behind why the people close to me practiced cultural traditions. Instead of accepting being ignored, or simply rebelling, I decided to do my own research. There are many cultural traditions that are mostly invalid today since they were based on practical purposes which our civilization has evolved past. However, there are many which can still be relevant.
Here are a few:
Before starting any business, joining a new job or starting anything, Indians often visit a temple. Despite being an ancient tradition, the number of people who practice this is has remained steady. Many of these people also do a form of physical discipline in the name of religion. This would include things like doing barefoot mountain steps or going without food to get a glimpse of god. Hindu culture always says that god is everywhere so I always wondered why we would have to struggle so much to see God. As with other examples, the reasons were never explained to me, but through my own research I found some interesting answers. This type of discipline calms the mind and builds self-confidence. Having belief in a power that you ultimately cannot fully understand ultimately strengthens the mind. Engaging in physical discipline in the name of religion transcends the religious aspect itself and makes you stronger. Think of it like doing work to achieve something that is ultimately not achievable. When I am in the gym, I want to be as fit as those guys who workout as a career. Despite this goal being unattainable, pursuing it can make me a better person. Visiting temples, doing rituals, and engaging in physical disciplines if done for good intentions will ground you and fill you with positive energy. Prayer itself should not be considered an act of asking God for things. Instead, it should be regarded as an exercise in concentration and an effort to promote calmness. Both meditation and prayer lowers blood pressure and has many other health benefits. As long as you are open to understanding the reasons behind why rituals exist, you can decide to practice them regardless of your actual religious beliefs. You can be inspired by ancient traditions to find rituals in your personal or work life which have similar benefits. This could be anything from a morning exercise routine, healthy eating habits, or just taking fifteen minutes in a workday to just sit quietly and meditate at your desk.