Meditation Column: Repetition an important part of meditation

Do it again: Patrick Kelly says repetition can be key while meditating. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Repetition; defined, it is the act of doing something again, whether it is something in text, verbal or in action. Many things around us are in a constant state of repetition, the cycle of life and death, songs in our head, the patterns of weather, the formation of galaxies, etc. We often repeat things to ourselves in order to remember them or to change our behaviors. We repeat many things in education as we try to learn and teach. Even food may be referred to as “repeating,” as when a meal doesn’t settle well in our stomachs. The student of meditation brings their awareness to the repetitive workings of their minds as they proceed on the path of conscious awareness.

Just as there are repetitive patterns and cycles in nature, the universe, all that exist; the student is aware of the mental patterns in their minds and behaviors that repeat. You’re aware of it, you have heard it, said it: “Oh, I have been here before,” “I’ve heard that before,” “I felt this before,” etc. We are aware of thinking and emotional reactions to said thinking, which repeats, taking us down the same journey of mental patterns and behaviors. The student is aware as repetitive patterns of thinking provoke a mental and/or physical reaction that is quite familiar. Some pleasant, some they identify as negative; nevertheless, aware of the repetitive workings of their minds.

The majority of us do it throughout our lives, repeating stories and mental movies in our minds, some decades old, which provoke a certain response in us that often brings up feelings of comfort or despair. They are a repetitive trap of our thinking that leads to past or future thoughts that interfere with our present levels of conscious awareness. That interferes with the quality of our lives. It’s OK, or it’s not. The difference for the student of meditation is their awareness of the repetitive workings of their minds. That awareness, that acknowledgment, of the repetitive actions of the thought stream changes everything. The change is that there is less repetition of thought patterns that pull them from peace, love and joy.

A meditation, try it out here and there, when it comes to mind, or not. When practicing some meditation (see “Let’s Meditate” here), be aware when thoughts come to mind that have been repeated in your head. Tune into the emotions they provoke. Perhaps you’ll feel good, bad or indifferent. Whatever. The plan would be not to interfere, merely observe. Be aware if you judge or have conflict with the repetitive thought. Aware if you interfere with the observation. Aware, yet separate. Often times, bringing the repetitive thoughts to conscious awareness is all you need to do to quiet them.

It’s a new day. Your day. ••