Primarily we are creatures of routine.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. Much of what we do is because we always have done it that way. We put our right shoes on before our left (or vice versa). We wash our hands prior to eating. We fasten our seatbelts and then start our cars. Some of these habits are consciously cultivated for good reasons—the seatbelts and handwashing are examples. Others developed unconsciously over time and we unthinkingly persist with them. (I have no clue why I always put my right shoe on first.)
Routine makes us feel secure. We know what to expect; we don’t have to think about what to do next; we make sure important things are accomplished. Habitual ways have their value, but they also can keep us mentally and emotionally stuck. Doing things by rote, we don’t ponder our actions, question our choices, or deviate from the usual. We subsist and maintain, but we don’t grow.
Today’s message calls to mind the solar eclipse in August 1999. I began the day meditating around 5:00 am and received the advice to try the opposite every time I was about to perform a habitual action—showering before toothbrushing, for example. By 11:00 am I was distraught and exhausted. I wanted to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head. Nothing horrible or noteworthy had occurred. I simply hadn’t realized how much of my life was spent in thoughtless routine. Thinking about every single action I took wore me out mentally and emotionally.
Once again, I am being shown the importance of evaluating my habits. I’ll benefit from ensuring that my present actions are consistent with current circumstances and not just driven by having done them a certain way in the past. It’s time to shake up my routine a bit!
How about you? How much does routine dominate you?