Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The psychology of the wash

A bath or a shower
When I owned my own place, it is strange that the decision to buy my apartment could have hinged on the bathroom having a bathtub instead of the installed shower unit.
There were times during the negotiation process where that was a niggling thought at the back of my mind, the place became a stronghold, a refuge, a kind of security from the things that ravaged my life and worth many years later. I spent ten and a half wonderful years there before I sold up.
The shower was a special place, the feeling of water cascading down my body, the temperature of the water set to just about bearable, but very comfortable, the floor of the bathroom heated such that the cold of winter was barely noticeable.
The wash for something
Indeed, there was something about the wash; I could adjust the showerhead to deliver the spray as a soft rain through to a pulsing massaging hosing down.
The quest for cleanliness also offered a cubicle of meditation, but there were times when I spent much longer in the shower as if I could get rid of a dirty thought or a feeling of a grimy existence not cleansable with the shower gels scented for seaward ambience and greenish blue hues.
We all have a predilection for some sort of wash, especially we of African descent, whilst those of other cultures might have concoctions to drink and possibly ointments or powders to rub on our skins to provide protection, fortify us for the formidable or empower us from some nondescript daring-do, we have the wash.
The ritual of the soap
I have prayed over waters and bathed in the strangest places, using soaps that would not pass the science of reasonableness to be applied to the skin.
Yet, the soaps, black or any other colour purported to grant powers for the favour from all mankind or defence from the dark arts are well sought for by the many who publicly appear rational but privately can be found in grottos ministered to by shamanic priests, fetishists or witch doctors.
The wash is not limited to these events, Christianity talks of the wash too, the washing away of sins as much as it pertains to baptism as a sign of faith, the Mohammedans perform the wash of ablutions before their prayers as a sign of purification before approaching their deity in submission and supplication.
Ritual purification is a function of many belief systems as Hindus will wash in the River Ganges, and the River Jordan has significance to both Judaism and Christianity.
The wash is deeper than the skin
For the holiday, the wash is in a swimming pool or at sea, we have an affinity for water caressing our bodies with or without particular reason – we cannot deny that regardless of who we are, the wash is critical for our presentation and thereby it determines how we are accepted.
We find that the whole context of clean and being clean is defined by the wash, the health of the body, the mind and the spirit might we be affected by the wash too even though the water only really touches the body, but the effect is much deeper than what we see or feel.


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