This morning I had to do some very repetitive data entry for several hours. Part of me finds it boring and gets antsy after a while, but there's another part of me that relaxes into listening for the rhythms of the task and making them work for me. I am soothed by such droning activity, free to let my mind wander and settle.

And I wonder about this ability to do the same thing over and over again. We all seem to have different thresholds for how much repetition we tolerate, for how much repetition we seek. I thrive on routine and repetition, but my son Gabe can barely tolerate it. Why are we so different? And what is the importance of repetition in a spiritual practice?

Obviously, repetition is a big part of this practice of reciting the morning blessings. On many days, it's the baruch atah adonai part of the blessings that is most appealing to me, the part that is exactly the same every time. My appreciation of the words and of all the qualities each one evokes grows with each repetition. There's a spaciousness in the set of blessings that allows each word to expand and come into its own. I don't have to devote any attention to remembering the words or to considering the individual meaning of a particular blessing, so I am free to savor each little detail of how the word interacts with the melody or how a consonant resonates. I can almost imagine painting or sculpting each word.

Baruch atah adonai eloheynu chey ha'olamim she'asani bat horin. Blessed are You, the Free, our God, Life of all the Worlds, who made me free.

Blessed are You, the Creator, our God, who made me free to find wonder in the tedium.