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Āsevana Paccaya – Condition of Repetition

The term Āsevana means both repetition and practice.

Repetition is what establishes, makes strong and develops, both in regards to mind and matter. And, in its own boundaries, whatever it is that is repeated, becomes gradually easier with each repetition.

Starting small, beginning again with a consideration of the four elements, we may acquire the first simple comprehension of this condition. Understanding the element of air to be the element representing change, movement and direction and the element of earth representing limitation and concreteness, one will see this condition for the most part as a dynamic of these two elements. That is, repetition means a limited forward movement of something concrete, with the forward movement perishing again and again, just to begin ever new at its starting position. While the earth element accumulating wherever the forward movement stops.

But then again, we may divide repetitions into four kinds. First, there are earthy repetitions, such are all (mechanical) habits (some of which are mentioned next). Then there are fiery repetitions, an example of which are human vices, as any form of cyclical destruction. Further, there may be watery repetitions, such are on the human-level engagements, especially marriages or family bonds, wherein the feeling element (represented by the element of water) increases with the repetitions. But on a grander scale, it also comes as cyclical rejuvenation as becomes yearly manifest during the time of spring. And finally, there may be airy repetitions, an example of which will on a human level be learning, or the execution of any kind of skill. But on a grander scale, it will also represent any gradual refinement as can be seen in the prospering periods of all civilisations, wherein technology and increased knowledge allow for ever more refined activities. The element of increase is brought about through the condition of repetition.

Repetition is indeed built into the fabric of existence. On a grand scale is the yearly recurrence of the seasons, an example of the universality of this condition. Stars, sun systems, and planets, all are machineries of ever-repeating revolutions.
In fact, the whole universe is a machinery of cyclic repetitions.

Life phenomena, too, are phenomena of ever-repeating patterns. Cells eat, excrete, and reproduce. And then again, eat, excrete, and reproduce. Then they slowly die and get replaced by cells, which follow those same patterns.

Likewise, do organs repeat in cycles their respective activities. And, only when all the organs of a body steadily follow their repetitions, the body as a whole, can make repeated and steady steps.

With the mind it is not otherwise. It is only through mental repetition or practice that a being will be able to learn something.

Through repetition or practice of things learned, skills develop. Through repeated decisions regarding right and wrong, virtues or vices develop. And thus only through repetition, the various possible paths through life become possible. Consequently, he who wants to make a choice as to any path in life, spiritual or worldly, will essentially make a choice as to what to do repeatedly for long periods of time.

But then there is not only the individual path of repetition. When many individuals possess various skills, each performing his at regular intervals, a group or society as a whole is starting to make progress. And, when these repetitions of a whole group or society become established, the group or society will outlive its individual constituent bodies.

Yet, nevertheless, even civilisations arise, grow and prosper, only to gradually decline and die. Just to get succeeded by a civilisation which, following the same pattern, will usually yet take the process a little bit further than its predecessor.

Further than that, will indeed, in the end all sentient life come to an end and even the universe itself will perish one day. Doubtlessly to be succeeded by another one following similar patterns.


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