The whole universe is based on rhythms. Everything happens in circles, in spirals.
You’ve heard I am sure, of the circle of life. Anyone who has watched Disney’s “The Lion King” has found their eyes misting over at the beauty of that opening number. And while the concept of life renewing itself is a beautiful and moving one, there is another kind of circle that is far less pleasant to contemplate and far more commonplace and definitely a lot more frustrating. You see, I’m betting that you are far better acquainted with that insidious circle that is also known as an infinite loop.
Seriously, doesn’t it feel that way to you sometimes? Don’t you feel as if you keep coming back to the same point in your life; that the universe keeps presenting you with the same situations over and over and over again?
If you are like most people you also find yourself reacting to these repeating patterns in the same way; time after time after time. And each time when you realize that once more you’ve “done it again” you feel like kicking yourself for not having seen what was happening. Well, you don’t have to keep knocking yourself out for repeatedly making the same silly (and sometimes not so silly) mistakes.
And really, though it may seem ridiculous, there actually is a reason that you keep making these same mistakes. There really is a reason why the same situations keep repeating themselves over and over again in your life. It is because there is something you have yet to learn and, obviously, if you keep reacting to the situation in the same way that you have before, you’re never going to get past this point.
There are some people who go an entire lifetime repeating patterns over and over again; falling in love with the same kind of guy (or girl), getting fired from (or quitting) the same kinds of jobs or even sabotaging themselves with the same kind of negative behaviors. The more often they repeat the same series of actions, the deeper the programmed response becomes. Lucky for everyone, there is a way to break out of these repeated patterns.
Believe it or not, repeating patterns and reactions is one area where practicing everyday mindfulness and mastering emotional mindfulness can be put to some seriously practical use.
By becoming aware of your own emotions; of those people and situations that push your buttons and cause you to react, you can step back from the pre-programmed automatic responses that spring into action without you even having to think about them. You can step back from these unwanted emotions and think before you choose to act; take a moment to listen to what your heart has to say instead of simply acting on instinct.
By practicing everyday mindfulness and becoming aware of your surroundings you can also prevent yourself from coming into contact with those things that trigger your negative responses or, if you can’t prevent the actual interaction, at least be aware that you are walking into a situation where you have screwed up in the past.
It is by using your newfound skills in mindfulness that you can break the habit of these repeating patterns and learn the lesson that they have been trying to teach you. Then and only then can you step out of the never-ending circle and take you place on that great spiral that is the road of spiritual evolution.