MEDITATION #1 - Morning Ritual

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For this assignment I tried to create a tool with the intent to ‘ritualize a ritual’. When looking at my own daily routines and looking at the rituals in respect to individual-collective-rational-irrational, I noticed that the rituals I most consciously perform are the ones that are most strongly correlated to my anxiety. I researched the relationship between psychology and rituals and found several articles (included below) that point out the relationship between both and explain that rituals are a way by which we believe we can control situations, even though they may be uncontrollable. In other words, rituals can help minimize anxiety. Additionally, I noticed some of the rituals I perform just because I was brought up catholic, even though I don’t practice it anymore. This made me think of an argument presented by French philosopher Blaise Pascal, called Le Pari Pascalien, in which he argues that a truly rational person will believe in God whether it exists or not, because if it exists, then the person reaps the rewards it promised. If it doesn’t, they don’t have anything to lose. It is certainly arguable, but this concept introduced the possibility that we may also follow or pick up certain rituals in a conscious way with the expectation they will work, even though we might not truly believe the ‘rationale’ behind it.

Wanting to explore this and the placebo effect idea of something being true just because you believe so, I decided to create a morning ritual where the user is prompted to input whatever they are most worried about for that day (i.e. meditation presentation, doctor’s appointment, traveling, etc). The tool then generates a random “mini-ritual” to perform that will help the user ease their mind and consider a positive outcome. It aims to give the user the idea that they can somehow control the situation, making them approach the situation more confidently and hopefully helping them overcome fears/anxieties/concerns. The generated responses are all rituals or practices suggested by specialists to reduce anxiety/relieve stress, so even though in a way the “mini-rituals” are generalized and not directly related to the users particular situation, they would be practices that would help ease the user’s mind.

Ritual Labs describe the characteristics of a ritual as: redundancy, repetitiveness, rigidity. I want to explore whether the repetitive act of getting up and checking the program before anything else every morning would do its purpose, regardless of the fact that the actions required by the program vary every day. I read in one of articles (can’t remember which one) that it takes +4 days for a ritual to set in. I have also read that it takes +21 days for a habit to set. I will do this for the duration of that time frame and report back on the results.

In regards to the actual implementation of this idea, I struggled with the code (sorry, Allison!!). I am having an issue formatting the “answers” that are pulled from the array using the DOM library. Because of this, as of now, they are not in the same font/size/placement as the rest of the design and it’s driving me crazy. Also, I would like to try to include in the program a timer associated with each response along with a visualization so that the user has a guide on how to follow each “mini-ritual” and for how long.

Here is a link to the sketch:

Below is the code:

let index;
let answer;
let button;
let tea;
let morning;
let answersArray = ["Repeat this mantra 5x: 'Don't go in your mind where your body is not'", 
                    "Hold your breath to the count of 3. Release through your mouth to the count of 3. Repeat this 10x.", 
                    "Repeat this mantra 5x: 'This is only a paper tiger'", 
                    "Do and hold child's pose for 3 minutes", 
                    "Take a breath, sit comfortably, let go and pay attention to the sounds of the room or space you're in. Stay in it for 3 minutes before checking out.", 
                    "Make your bed neatly and consciously and you'll approach the challenge the same way", 
                    "Take a 2-3 minute ice cold shower", 
                    "Pet a dog", 
                    "Go on a 30 minute walk", 
                    "List 3 things you're happy about this morning."];
let drawAnswer;

function preload() {
  tea = loadImage("images/tea.png");

function setup() {
  canvas = createCanvas(windowWidth, windowHeight);
  canvas.position(0, 0);'z-index', '-1');

  morning = select("#morning");
  txt = select ("txt");

  // button = createButton('ease my mind');
  // button.position(windowWidth/2-45, windowHeight/2+270)

  let button = select("#button");

  // let answer = random(answersArray);


function windowResized() {
  resizeCanvas(windowWidth, windowHeight);


function draw() {
  image(tea, windowWidth / 2, windowHeight / 2, width / 2, height / 2);

  // selectAnswer();
  // function windowResized () {
  //   resizeCanvas (windowWidth, windowHeight);

  // }


function selectAnswer() {
  console.log('I CLICKED THE BUTTON');
  let r = floor(random(0, answersArray.length));
  let txt = createDiv(answersArray[r]);
  txt.position(250, 600); 
  // createP(answersArray[r]);