Each day I take a long walk in town, usually crossing over the Lakshman Jhula Bridge or the Ram Jhula Bridge and poking my head into shops in search of gifts for my family. It’s gotten to be a routine for me. At night, I have also gotten into a routine of going down the convenience store and buying a bottle of water. Basically, routine has made Rishikesh feel safe and secure to me. I feel like our two dogs, Kaye and Teddy, who also love their little routines and seem lost without them: this time to eat, this time to evacuate their wastes, this time to go to sleep.
When I think about routine, I think about the Hindu god of preservation, Vishnu. Routine grounds me in my life and gives me a sense of security. But if I only want to preserve the routine, I often become angry and flustered when it is interrupted. Instead of safely securing me, routine becomes a noose around my neck and slowly strangles me into psychic inertia.
The three main gods of Hinduism reflect the three fundamental tendencies in human nature: creation (Brahma), preservation (Vishnu), and destruction (Shiva). I know I need less Vishnu in my life and more Brahma and Shiva. Create more and in creating bend and shape the routine and thereby to destroy the original form. My psychic immobility can be attributed to too hanging out with Vishnu too much. It’s not like I’m excommunicating Vishnu from my psychic economy, but I’ve got to include Brahma and Shiva in there as well.
If I am going to preserve the flow of my existence, creation and destruction are going to have to help out. I need to understand and be secure with the idea that to preserve the flow of my life I need both creation and destruction. As the be all end all that has to be preserved at all costs to preserve a sense of security, routine is ruination. As an elastic activity consciously and continuously reinvented, routine can be the basis for rhythm of our lives.