November 12th, 2005
It’s quite extraordinary how, when we repeat tasks, they become easier. What was once feared, over time can be looked back upon as simple and easy. Once one crosses the threshold of fear, a sense of peace and calm can take hold. When I was a kid in gym class I had a fear of doing a tumble toss…you know, where you place your hands on the ground and roll over forwards. Well, I had an extreme fear of performing this exercise, until one day the gym teacher said to me, “Jennifer, come here, let me show you how easy this is.” The teacher slowed the process down so that my mind could incorporate the task, without fear. I rolled over once, then twice, then three times. Afterwards, I laughed. I could not believe why I was so fearful of this exercise. I understood that my fear had convinced me that I couldn’t do it, when with a little encouragement and support it was performed quite easily.
The other side of repetition is a sad example. Down the street from where I live is a neighbor who has an extreme case of OCD (obsessive/compulsive disorder) I have observed at times the lady locking her front door and checking it for 15 minutes, to make sure it was locked. I ran into her at the local supermarket and the OCD also affected how she bought her groceries. She had to check each item she picked up numerous times before she purchased it. OCD is more common than we may think. I was once on line at a store and in front of me was a man who had to count his money ten times before he would give it to the cashier. It got so bad that the cashier finally said, “You can count it as many times as you want, but I’m also going to count it.” This kind of repetition, I believe, is fear that is not overcome.
We can never forget that we are all, in one form or another, creatures of habit. What we choose to enter into our lives can easily become tasks that are carried out over and over again. It could be work, play, food, or leisure….once the formula of repetition is applied, these tasks can mysteriously turn into friend or foe. Prayer and meditation are a wonderful form of self-examination to enhance what is good, and weed out what is false. Peace of mind can be attained when prayer, purpose, and silence take hold.
Many people around the world use prayer, chanting, and different forms of meditation as a way to still the mind, and center the consciousness. When we stop and take hold of the moment, it is much easier to choose the next step. Repetition is grand, when the tasks are beneficial and sound…but destructive if it disorients and confuses the mind. From the words of a George Harrison song, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Â© 2005 Jennifer Avalon