The Spiritual Value of Repetition and Routine

routinelrg

Variety is the spice of life. We've been taught that by our consumer culture since we were very young. Think of all the movies in which immigrants experience for the first time the incredible diversity of brands in a supermarket. Our stores are stuffed with variations on the same things. All this feeds our need to constantly seek new foods, clothing styles, appliances, technological toys, and other objects of our desires. We are also programmed by our culture to look down upon the drudgery of … [Read more...]

Transition Times and Spaces

4seasons

One day it snows. The next day it's 50 degrees and people are filling the park down the street. Of course, we say, it's March, one of those transition times of the year when it's not quite winter and not quite spring. March always gets us thinking about other transition times and spaces. Our days are punctuated by transitions. For example, we go through three entrances and use three sets of keys to get into our home. First, we open the entrance to our building from the street and walk into a … [Read more...]

Snow Day/Practice Day

snowman

The great Christian monk Thomas Merton once compared the spiritual life to the search for a path in a field of untrodden snow: "Walk across the snow and there is your path." This thought came to mind this weekend as snowstorm Nemo blanketed the Eastern U.S. with deep snow. How can we make a walk across the snow into a spiritual practice? Here are some ways. Be Grateful. The day after the storm, we went over to our neighborhood park in New York City. The sidewalks and streets were already … [Read more...]

Spiritual New Year’s Resolutions

2013

We do it every year. We decide that we need to make a change, do something differently, shift our routine, make new commitments. But making a list of "New Year's Resolutions" is not enough, we've found. We know ourselves well enough to realize that we often resist change, and we need a spiritual practice to reinforce our desired behavior. The religious life gives us plenty of examples of this kind of practice. Christian monks and nuns take vows when they enter an order. Buddhist practitioners … [Read more...]