The Dangers of Tradition

I don’t know where I first heard this story, but I’m sure from several sources.

A young girl was in the kitchen with her mother about to cook a pot roast in the oven. The mother got out her recipe that that been handed down through generations. The first and foremost step was, ‘Cut the ends off the roast.’ The little girl wondered why this was the first step, as it didn’t seem to serve the actual dish at all.

She asked her mother, “Why cut the ends off the roast first?”

To which her mother replied, “It’s just tradition. My mother always did it that way.”

The next weekend the girls Grandmother was visiting, and the little girl was remembering the roast. She asked, “Grandma, why cut the ends off the roast first before cooking it?”

To which her grandmother replied, “It’s just tradition. That’s the way my mother always did.”

A week or so later, the girl had the chance to visit her great-grandmother. She was determined to get to the bottom of this tradition, and asked her great-grandmother, “Grammie… why cut the ends off the roast first before cooking it?”

Her grandmother just looked at her and smiled, “When I first wrote the recipe, my pan was too small to fit the entire roast.”

I personally love this story, because of the insight it provides into many of the ‘traditions’ we blindly adhere to without knowing why we do it. I’m all for tradition if it serves a purpose, and is keeping something alive, but how much of the tradition is done for the sake of the tradition? How many traditions have a meaning completely enshrouded in mystery because the original purpose has been lost through the ages? Far too many unfortunately, and our Western culture especially has a bad knack for clutching to the last strings of a ‘tradition’ when it no longer serves the original purpose it was conceived for in the first place.

I implore you this week, to break down your traditions, and realize what purpose, if any, they serve.  What you choose to do with the tradition after that is up to you, but for now, try to understand what ends we are trying to meet, and if we are actually getting any closer to a deeper understanding of who we are, or merely going thru the steps with a confusion we’re too proud to admit. You might find your sense of ‘tradition’ is seriously holding you back.


About OneBreathMeditation

I have been meditating for 8 years, and while I don't consider myself an expert, I know I'm knowledgeable about the subject, and can possibly provide help to others who want to experience the enriching benefits of meditation.
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7 Responses to The Dangers of Tradition

  1. Pingback: Ron Swanson on Meditation | onebreathmeditation

  2. Craft Ledger says:

    Great Story – Shame I can’t post it on Facebook….

  3. Hey thanks for the comment. Does the facebook button only do a ‘like’? I dont use facebook, so I cant check. If you can let me know how to get a post button there, I’ll put one up!

  4. I love oral traditions like this that pass down generations of practicalities that morph into hallowed rituals that are anything but practical! Nice story- thanks for sharing.

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  7. evatenter says:

    Great story! Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

    I absolutely agree with you, there are probably a huge number of actions done in the world because of a blind tradition that actually has no meaning to it. 🙂

    Much love and light!

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