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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Plagues of Tradition

You're sitting in that same old dilapidated chair that your uncle bought many years at a flea market. Year after year you find yourself too full to move staring at a sports game you could care less about. 

Each National Holiday turns into an excuse to surround yourself with loved ones and imbibe in excess. We subscribe to the same mundane time markers that are told are important. We use these so called traditions as an excuse to go off the rails while also creating a bubbly illusion that this something that we "should" be doing.

Q: What makes us drawn to traditions?

A: Traditions give us a sense of meaning to our lives. For the most part, traditions are based on social indoctrinated ideologies that are passed down from religion, societies and family values. It is a method of convenience that allows us to reflect and repeat learned habits and actions. 

Traditions perpetuate traditions. Do traditions promote growth? 
Are traditions just a way of keeping a connection to our past? 

We may see some traditions as more important and valuable than some other ones. Some are more specific to our lives. If a tradition is based on the actions or ideologies of a loved one that has passed, it may be seen as a connection to the past and a time to reflect and reminisce on the nostalgia of what " used to be." 

When a tradition is repeated somewhat religiously, it starts to degrade in its value. Some may see the tradition as an obligation or as an excuse for getting out of prioritized and pertinent goals. Think of it as taking a great pen drawing and photocopying it once or even a few times a year. The quality of the drawing degrades. It starts to fade and lose the same effect from the original form. Tradition can act in the same way. When it is mindlessly repeated, it stops stimulating growth within the self and community. 

Christmas is a great example of grave tradition. Christmas has turned into a consumerist and obligatory holiday that is far removed from its original and elusively religious intention. Some of us may see Christmas as way to spend time with family and loved ones. We use this learned and socially indoctrinated tradition to establish a dull sense of meaning in our lives. We obligate ourselves to get presents simply because we are taught it is the right thing to do. Go ahead. Stimulate that capitalist and consumerist economy. It's what you do. 

Can tradition add more values to our lives ? 

This is a great question. Only by questioning tradition can we learn to start to break down value and meaning. By questioning out habits, values and actions, we can see throught facade of unmitigated and sterile traditional practices. In what way can we look through the veil and challenge tradition? 
In what way can we create new habits that aren't built on fallacious and nostalgic events? 

Traditions will still blindly continue unless we stand up in the face of them and ask "why". We can give thanks to our ancestors and remind ourselves that presence is the main key. We can analyze our behaviors and question the necessities of our actions. We can learn from traditions of the past and integrate them into our lives. We can choose to make more conscious decisions on how we want to participate in "traditions". 

If we only follow traditions because we think it is right or because we are told to, we will start to stagnate. We will get lost in the suck of time and unmindfuly repeat ourselves without conviction. Do these traditions promote progress and growth in my family? In my community? Within myself? Will I be ostracized if I choose not to participate in these traditions? Will I be shunned? Will I be shamed? 

If the abandonment of a certain tradition allows for negativity and abandonment in your life, it holds no legitimacy or value. If a tradition promotes strength, it is good idea to keep questioning it to get to the core of why it gives you strength. 

Break it down.
Tear it apart. 
See the root cause. 
See the barriers we have placed on ourselves. See the opportunity in the unknown and the unseen. 

When a tradition dies, discovery flourishes.

DG

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