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  • Daniel Rodman

Repetition and Newness


If we have a job or go to school, or if we find ourselves in a regular routine, we are confronted with the problem of repetition and newness. Repetition seems to obscure the newness of the moment, making things boring and un-interesting. If we are truly called to make a change, that is fine. However, if we are not going anywhere anytime soon and find ourselves in repetition, there are ways to make it fruitful. In our daily tasks, if we recognize the slight variations in the things we do and the way we do them, we can see newness in repetition. Not only this, but the moment in its very nature is always ever-new, since it is unlike any moment that has come before it.

In meditation we strive to realize the ever-new radiance of experience as the flow of the present moment. Each new moment our eyes are receiving new light particles, our heart is pumping, we are breathing, and life is always new again. When we do things in repetition, we can get lost in the memory of having done it before, trapped in a concept of what makes life full. The more we are attached to entertainments and crave consumption, the more our resistance to repetition will be. If we can let go and be with the moment, our repetitive actions can take a kind of rhythm, a zen-like flow, a ritualistic feeling to them that can not only bring you into the newness of the moment, but celebrate it.

Repetition can be seen as the enemy of newness or its ally, since in repetition we can use the sameness of our actions to put in stark contrast that which is a still place of understanding of the meaning of the moment, which is the very same purpose of religious and spiritual ritual. In other words, we can make our repetitive life into a sacred ritual. The same thing as had been done many times before, all to venerate that which is beyond repetition, beyond time itself, only know in the deep place in us in the present moment. In this way the boring repetition begins to shine with this deeper meaning, and everything you do is dedicated to this awareness. In this, repetition becomes the path, it becomes our way to liberation. The result of such a practice is experiencing the ultimate fullness of the moment through repetition. Let us make our repetitions the dance of our lives, that what we repeat may not damper our knowledge of the newness and the meaning of the moment, but be an ornament to it, a thing itself to be honored.

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