Ritual Repetition & Bindu
Ritual repetition allows a focus for mind and spirit and leads one ultimately to an inner center. In India this center is the bindu, the point at which all experience, all-being is compacted into its utmost concentration, then imploded back into its origin. With the use of repetition, spiritual or artistic, there is a dissolution of the self into the whole. Energy is concentrated by the continuous reiteration or replication of the same path, the same pattern, the same practice.
Numerous methods may be used to go through the number of cycles in ritual repetition, thus eliminating the distraction of keeping count. The earliest method was stones counted out and then dropped into a bowl of water, as prayers were recited. Knots or beads on a thread are called a rosary, or mala, and have been used for centuries to count prayers. The word “bead” traces to the Saxon word, bidden, meaning “to pray”, and the Sanskrit word buddh, meaning self-realization or enlightenment, from which comes Buddha. The Buddhist mala has 108 beads, often bodhi tree seeds, an encasement of life. The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in wool twine.
Gya-gye (Tibetan for 108) has powerful meanings, the numbers themselves adding up to nine, but also divisible by 9, one of the spiritual numbers. It is said humans tell 108 lies, have 108 earthly desires and 108 forms of delusion. It is also said there are 108 feelings; with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. The 1 in 108 stands for God or higher Truth; the 0 for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice and the 8 for infinity or eternity.
The repetition of 108 occurs in many of my paintings as background, a regular pattern or a block of forms, usually related to the circle or spiral. A vertical red line or bar carries the energy of life between heaven to earth, as it weaves through our lives, past, present and future.
Catherine Eaton Skinner