“Repetition Is Boring”
It was a complaint a disciple made to the Master at a question-and-answer session. The Master responded that in our daily life, we all undertake and repeat mundane tasks such as brushing our teeth, taking a bath, eating three meals a day and going to work. All these, the Master said, can be boring but we still do them in order to sustain ourselves in this world.
The challenge is how to convince ourselves that repeating our simran is crucial and imperative to sustaining our spiritual life.
So that we can become educated, our parents enrolled us in good schools and ensured that no matter how bored we were by our school routine, we still continued to attend classes. To develop our physical bodies, we were encouraged to exercise regularly from a young age. And when we gave in to laziness and complacency, our parents pushed us.
Similarly, so that we can develop spiritually, the perfect Masters urge us to pursue our spiritual practice and consider it an essential part of our daily routine.
The mystics explain that just as regularity and punctuality are very important in our daily activities, so too is this discipline crucial to our spiritual development.
If we discipline our mind, then every day we won’t miss meditation. And if you do skip your meditation, you’ll feel miserable that day and feel that something is missing.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
Only when we realize this will we understand that our meditation is sustaining us and nourishing us spiritually.
Until we are able to discipline the mind into following a routine, we will have good days and bad days. We tell ourselves, “All right. It’s a new day. Let’s break old habits and start fresh.” We start with having an early night which enables us to rise early. We wash up, have a cup of tea or coffee and try to sit as attentively as possible during meditation. We are pleased with ourselves, and the rest of the day ends up being rather pleasant as well. Then, somehow, the next day or perhaps after a few days of following this routine – we lose steam. We lose our motivation. The mind gets bored, it cannot resist temptation and reverts back to its old habits.
Why does this happen? Perhaps we are weak and easily seduced by the glitter and dazzle of the material world. The mystics explain that there is nothing wrong with having a healthy passion for life, but they also caution us against over-indulging in anything. This, they explain, will more likely than not cause us to lose our balance between our worldly and spiritual life.
How do we get to the level where we can maintain our equilibrium while facing life’s trials and tribulations? How do we consolidate meditation into our lives so that it becomes second nature to us?
In a beautiful explanation, Maharaj Charan Singh says that we have to tie ourselves to our meditation:
If you are tied to a strong chain, you can move only within a limited area. So if we are tied to our meditation every day, no matter how much we’re involved in other things, we will always remain within the circle – we will not be able to get out of the circle. If the chain is broken, then of course you are absolutely gone, you’re involved. So the chain of meditation should not be broken. Meditation must be attended to every day, and then no matter how much you try to involve yourself in other activities, you’ll never be allowed to go astray at all.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
In Like the Flowing River, Paulo Coelho writes about the importance of repetition. By giving the example of an archer who studies every detail of the sport and masters the technique to the degree that it becomes intuitive, he explains that with constant practice and repetition, we no longer think about the movement; it becomes a part of our nature. Coelho writes:
The archer allows many arrows to go far beyond the target, because he knows that he will only learn the importance of bow, posture, string and target by repeating his gestures thousands of times, and by not being afraid to make mistakes. And then comes the moment when he no longer has to think about what he is doing. From then on, the archer becomes his bow, his arrow and his target.
In order to be successful in whatever we do, we cannot be afraid to make mistakes. We should not be fearful of failing in our meditation and just continue with the same energetic enthusiasm that we started with. By adhering to the vow we took at the time of our initiation, we must be steadfast in our repetition and not worry about the results. Coelho continues:
A warrior of light, once he has done his duty and transformed his intention into gesture, need fear nothing else: he has done what he should have done. He did not allow himself to be paralyzed by fear. Even if the arrow failed to hit the target, he will have another opportunity, because he did not give in to cowardice.
Therefore, we should not lose heart. Instead we should be encouraged by the immense faith our Master has in us. Every effort we make in our daily meditation takes us towards freedom from the binding contract of birth and death.
The Masters have often said that this human form has been given to us for the purpose of God-realization. If we choose not to make use of this opportunity, then we may not get this chance of a human birth again.
Hence, in order to solidify our resolution to make meditation a part of our daily routine, we should simply be positive, do our best, and trust the faith the Master has in us. After all, he is our greatest benefactor and he is anxious to see us succeed.
Once the Master confided to us the secret – his secret – of successful meditation: it is the repetition of the holy words, done with love and devotion. The Master said, “One has to put one’s whole being into the words. One should not think of anything else, but just give oneself to the Master through the repetition.”
Adventure of Faith