Rewards of repetition

Among well-known cartoon-strip characters, Dennis the Menace is an all-time favourite. He views the world with a child’s clear and innocent vision, but the questions he asks are not only amusing but also profound enough to defy dismissal.

An intriguing one goes this way: ‘Why, ma, should I bathe every day, when I get dirty again soon after?’ Why indeed, and those who give thought to this matter will see how penetrating it is embracing, as it does, physical, mental and spiritual aspects of living. It highlights the fact that leading a meaningful life is a ceaseless struggle.

It does not take much time for any of us to realise that more than one-third of life is spent on actions that have to be repeated. Cleaning, grooming and sleeping are activities that come immediately to mind.

We may look upon them as tiresome and wasteful chores, but we can hardly neglect them. They have an intrinsic value that cannot be ignored. In order to keep the body healthy and in working condition, it is necessary to follow a sensible, unfailing regimen. Cleanliness, a balanced diet and regular exercise are a must. Without them, the body deteriorates and falls prey to various illnesses.

Repetition plays a prominent role in mental acumen as well. We just have to recall our days in the junior school. We were made to repeat the alphabet and multiplication table ad nauseum until they could be recalled in the blink of an eye. Later, much stress was laid on revision and commitment to memory. It has been established that repeated actions make inroads into the brain and imprint themselves on the mind.
 
They also effectively convert short-term memories into long-term ones.Repetition forms a part of spiritual progress as well. Mantras and rituals done in the right spirit can help us concentrate on the finer aspects of life and living. Down the ages, sages and seers have employed and extolled the power of concentrated thought and prayer. They help us in cutting ourselves off from mundane matters, stilling the mind and delving into the inner resources of our being. Wisely chosen, habits of body, mind and spirit can help us lead better lives and imbue more meaning into existence.

  When Sarasate, the famous Spanish violinist, had given a brilliant performance, a critic was in raptures and called him as a genius. Hearing this, Sarsate remarked, ‘For thirty-six years I have practised 14 hours a day and now they call me a genius!’ Padarewski, who won unrivalled fame as a pianist, once performed for Queen Victoria. The Queen heard him and was overwhelmed.

Applauding him with great admiration, she hailed him as a genius. The great artist replied gently, ‘Ah, your Majesty, perhaps so. But before I was a genius, I was a drudge!”

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