Yesterday, we had a look at how Sanatana schools of thought address the concept of collective effervescence.

Today, let’s look at embodiment.

Most religions usually prescribe some kind of movement that marks the activity as devotional. Such movements are proven to enhance feelings of communion, similarity and trust, which means it makes a group of disparate individuals feel as though they have merged into one.

You would understand this feeling when singing hymns during a church mass or a kirtan, where bhajans can start on a slow tempo, build up as the minutes go by and reach a crescendo, enveloping you in a surreal and divine feeling of oneness.

But perhaps the most collective ritual that we as humans have performed since time immemorial is eating together. Be it a family dinner, a wedding feast or a funeral lunch, breaking bread together brings people together in ways that few activities can. In Sanatana Dharma, eating is considered Brahman, a sacred ritual – and the family is always encouraged to sit together and eat together.

Now imagine having such feasts on a zoom call – not the same right?

The key is physical proximity. You must surely remember the frustration of being locked down for extended periods of time during COVID – it didn’t matter who, you just wanted to go out and see people. Pandemic be damned.

Phones and the virtual world have greatly reduced opportunities for physical proximity, especially in the younger generations. Humans are embodied – a virtual world is not. The faster we recognize this, the faster we can take corrective measures.

Tomorrow we look at stillness…