I have a somewhat fraught relationship with routine.

On one hand, I crave it. I like to know what to expect, I like to know where everything is, I like to know what’s coming up next. I have a limited appetite for surprises. I know lots of creative people like to be constantly bombarded with new inputs for inspiration, but it’s usually the opposite for me: I like a stable ground and a regular cycle that lets me reliably crank stuff out at my peak creative times and iterate every day.

On the other hand, I go from boredom to insanity on a dime. As soon as something in my routine isn’t working anymore, it starts to grind and grate until it feels like the source of all my problems, and pulling it out by the roots seems like the only way to get my groove back.

I have a pretty long cycle for this; a solid routine can last me a year or two. But when I make a change, I tend to do it thunderously. I might declare, “I’m not Jewish, I’m Buddhist now!”, or “I’m not Buddhist, I’m Jewish now!”, you know, for example. Making such sweeping declarations feels good in the moment, but it can be disruptive, especially to anyone around me trying to keep up.

But there has to be a reason why meditation has come back into my routine over and over, no matter what religion I happen to be at the time. I’m finally starting to understand that it threads the needle between my two states of routine and disruption. Like anything healthy and alive, meditation represents the whole system in microcosm — it cultivates stability and embraces change.