Daily Tao / 226 – Repetition


My prayer beads are strung on my life span.
I am not allowed to skip a single bead :
Sometimes the bead is a seed. Or a bone.
Or jade. Or dry blood. Or semen. Or crystal.
Or rotted wood. Or a sage’s relic. Or gold.
Or glass. Or a prism. Or iron. Or clay.
Or an eye. Or an egg. Or dung. Or a ball.
Or a stone. Or a peach. Or a bullet.
Or a bubble. Or lead. Or pure light.
No matter what the next bead is, I must count it,
Perform my daily austerities.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Until repetition becomes endurance.

People seldom understand the power of repetition. What is repeated over and over again can become enduring; what is done in a moment is seldom lasting. If farmers do not tend to their fields every day, they cannot expect a harvest. The same is true of spiritual practice. It is not the grand declaration or the colorful initiation that means anything. It is the ongoing, daily living of a spiritual life that has meaning. Our progress may range from dull to spectacular, but we must accept both. Each and every day should be linked together, strung into a long line of prayer beads.

In life, you don’t know how many beads you’ve counted already, and you don’t know how many are yet to come. All that matters is fingering the one that comes to you now and taking the spiritual significance of that moment to heart.

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