What do you call it when you do the same thing again and again and expect the same results each time?
Tradition. If you think about it, this one is like every comfortable habit we have. If you have a favourite recipe, you might follow it almost without thinking about it, you know it so well. But just as important, you know what you want the end result to be.
The same can be said about many spiritual practices. We repeat ourselves because so many things in life bring us back, return us to that place of comfortable anticipation, assure us of that feeling, like we are surrounded by home.
Simple human dignity relies on the being able to do things again and again while expecting to get the same results each time. These things can make life meaningful.
Superstition. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes so important to do the same things over and over again that the ritual becomes more of an authority than the results.
When it comes to spirituality, we might mouth the right words at the right time without actually paying attention to the results. What happens when the results no longer come out the same?
Too often, we just stick to the same old ways because, "that's the way we do it around here!" Rather than asking, "Why doesn't this work anymore?" we just stick to it, do it again, and think we will never have to change.
Tradition and superstition are two sides of a riddle. We need the dignity of tradition but we also need to recognize when we are holding onto superstitions that just won't work anymore.