I have heard it boasted many a time that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Actually this is not true. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of insanity is as follows:
in·san·i·ty noun \in-ˈsa-nə-tē\
: severe mental illness : the condition of being insane
: something that is very foolish or unreasonable
But it is not true for other reasons too. Every night I read with my 6 year old and every night she gets better, every night I expect a different result, and slowly, over time, I get one. But that’s not what got me pondering…
For the last 5 months I have been attending Bikram Yoga Baltimore regularly. It started off with a groupon. I spent $40 for 20 classes. The walk-in price is $20 a class so I figured if I hated it, or flaked out (as I have been known to do with workout classes) it wasn’t such a big loss. But if I liked it, it was a hell of a deal.
So I went, then I went again, by the third time I was hooked. I LOVED it. I was so hooked I used up almost all my groupon classes (you have four months to use them) and bought 50 more classes (which I have a year to use) at $10 a class.
I go about twice a week to Bikram Yoga, the room is heated to 105-115 degrees and is a series of 26 of the same postures in the same order. “And you like that?!?” People ask. Yes, I LOVE it. “Are you insane?” yes, I think I am. “But’s it’s so hot and sweaty doesn’t it smell?” Yes, it’s hot, yes, I sweat more than I ever have in my life, yes occasionally the room smells. But you also don’t care!
Today as I am feeling the blood rush back into my body after a compression pose I notice the woman next to me, it is her first class, and she is struggling. I thought back to my first class. This woman and I could have been sisters, similar coloring, same size, same hair. I leaned forward and grabbed the sides of my feet, this is insane, I thought, look how far I can bend, stretch, move, amazing.
Twice a week for five months I have done the same thing over and over again expecting different results, and I’m getting them. I feel strong and powerful, I hold my body higher and straighter, and am happier for it.
What have I to learn from this when it comes to ritual? We say that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is insane, but each time I worship, come to the Lord’s Table, say the Lord’s Prayer, or sit in silence with the intention of hearing God, am I not changed?
Maybe it’s insane to the world, but maybe a little insanity is what we all really need… See you next week. Same place, same time.