"Do you often let your habits drive your life?"
A habit can be understood as a tendency to behave in a particular pattern.
For instance, you may have a tendency to sleep, wake up, eat, and exercise at certain times.
You may have a tendency to overwork or to procrastinate.
You may have a habit of being too quiet, or too talkative, or to dwell in pessimism rather than optimism.
We all have our own unique habits.
Our habit patterns are what drives the personality to be a certain way.
Habit patterns can make you love a particular appearance of a person. It can also make you hate doing a particular task.
What you hate and love in life: these will always be determined by your habit patterns.
But why do I have these Habits?
In this article, we will look deep into the psyche of the mind to understand what habit patterns really are by exploring how habit patterns are created.
Habit In Depth
The Creation Of A Habit
From the surface level, our habits can be said to arise from the repetitious action of doing the same thing over and over again. As one repeats a particular pattern of action, it naturally becomes part of their life. For example, by talking loudly all the time, one can easily become used to such a pattern and thus the pattern continues.
At The Deeper Level
If one wishes to explore the deeper cause of their habit patterns, one can explore the Reactions behind their Actions.
Our Reactions is the cause for our Actions. For instance, a hand will always move with purpose. Every action will always begin with a desire, with a thought or emotion, i.e. with some sort of reaction.
So from the deeper perspective, our reactions are what generates the actions, and thus our habit patterns.
Thus to really know the cause of our habit patterns, we must look at our fears and cravings, our love and wisdom, because these will generate the reactions that moves us in different ways.
Our Reactions are composed of our Inner Creations (Emotions/Thoughts etc.)
(See Action & Reaction to understand it in depth)
In every moment, we are generating some sort of reaction. It is near impossible to not generate any reaction in every moment unless one has completely mastered their mind.
Reactions are the beginnings of our habit patterns. The reactions we experience within are always compelling us to live our lives in a particular way.
By understanding how one reacts all the time, one can then understand one's habit patterns. Knowing the Self in this way can be quite insightful and revealing as one will come to know why one is always attracted to a particular person and even particular types of food.
Our Reactions include not only the emotions/thoughts that we are generating within but also include the physical sensations we experience on the body.
Realize that the mind and body are connected; there will always be a mind-body relationship.
For instance, what you will find is that the anger you experience in the mind will also be experienced on the body.
The more you develop Self-Knowing, the clearer the cause of your habits will become clear. For example, you may slowly realize that the reason why you always avoid certain situations in life, such as trying new foods, is because of the negative reactions that it brings to the mind and body.
So, our reactions will determine our habit patterns, our likes and dislikes, and even what kind of people we will marry!
Now, is a habit pattern a good thing or a bad thing?
Let us explore the answers to this question below.
Path Of Creator
Habit In Relation To The Path Of Creator
Now, what habit patterns are bad?
What is bad and good is entirely subjective. But as the greater spiritual journey of life is to become happier than the day before, we will define bad habit patterns as ones that will hold us back from greater happiness.
How do we spot Negative Habits?
If a habit pattern leads one to greater unhappiness, then that can be a Negative Habit. For instance, habits that will lead one to a greater decline of physical and mental health, habits that one cannot control least letting it go.
To simplify, one can simply see a habit that one has become attached to as Negative Habits. This is because attachment will always eventuate into some form of Suffering.
It can be difficult to become aware of our attachments. So most often, it's only when we find ourselves unable to stop doing particular habits that we become aware of the negative habits—the causes for our unhappiness.
Understanding how Negative Habits are created can help you to discover them. So let us explore the Creation of a Negative Habit.
We have come to know that it is our Reactions that causes the Actions and thus the Habit patterns.
But what has caused the Reactions in the first place?
It's our Beliefs.
It is the belief system that we have generated within that drives us to react to life experiences in various ways.
Thus, as the seed cause for our habit patterns come from our belief systems, it is important to address the beliefs we have that can promote negative reactions, negative actions—unhappiness.
In Chapter 5. Discovering The Sufferings we have come to know that all forms of Sufferings begin with a Negative Idea.
A Negative Idea will create a Negative Habit, which will lead one to greater misery.
The following are some examples of how Negative Ideas can generate Negative Habits.
I.e. "It is not ok to dress and look a certain way"
"It is not ok to try new things"
"It is not ok to fail"
How easy can you let go of these Negative Ideas?
Often, it can be difficult to be aware, to admit, to accept that some of our habit patterns come from the negative ideas we have about ourselves and the world.
For instance, we may avoid certain types of people because of the negative reactions we experience whenever we see them. For instance, we may reach for an alcoholic beverage because we do not like the pain and boredom we experience in the present moment.
Transforming Negative Habits
To release our habit patterns, we learn to transform our belief systems.
We learn to transform the Negative Idea into Potentiating Ideas.
So instead of carrying ideas that promote Self-Rejection, we learn to be more accepting of all there is in life.
The following is an example of a Potentiating Idea.
I.e. "It is ok to dress and look a certain way"
As you can see, such ideas that centre on Self-Acceptance will not promote Attachment and thus Suffering. Instead, it offers greater happiness and more freedom of choice.
With Self-Acceptance, the mind is simply open to all possibilities, thus choices are made out of love rather than out of fear.
Negative Habits And The Reality Of Suffering
When we are constantly sustaining our Negative Ideas, it can create a Suffering Reality for The Self.
For instance, when we become attached to a Negative Idea such as "Black/Yellow/White people are bad," the more we Reinforce this Negative Idea in our mind, the more these ideas will become our reality.
Realize that our reality of the world will always be created by what we focus on with our minds.
It's only when one embarks on the journey of letting go of their core beliefs that they will realize just how easily one's reality can shift, how easily one can love someone that one used to hate, and how freeing it is to live in a state of Self-Acceptance.
But without attempting such a journey, one can be stuck in the illusion of the mind.
How to address/transform our Negative Habits
To release our Negative Habits, we have to release our Negative Ideas.
As simple as it sounds, it is indeed difficult; the Negative Habits exist in the first place because of thedeeply rooted Negative Ideas/beliefs we have about ourselves and the world.
And the more we react negatively to life experiences the more the Negative Ideas will become rooted in the mind.
Thus the way to reverse our negative habits is through learning to let go of these Negative Ideas and Negative Reactions.
For instance, "trying" to not exaggerate our hate when we see someone we don't like and try to accept them instead. And slowly with time, the habit will be reversed.
The process is accelerated when one develops The Self-Knowing as to why the Negative Idea is even there in the first place.
That is why the importance of Stillness is emphasized again and again on the journey of Self-Transformation because it is by developing Stillness every day that we can become aware of our Negative Ideas, our negative reactions, and the ability to observe them with a Still Mind rather than to react to them. i.e. letting everything come and go, to not react more to our reactions.
Every moment in meditation is an opportunity to develop even greater stillness / compassion / Self-Acceptance.
From experience, the amount of energy required for a Negative Habit to be completely released is equal to the amount of Negative Energy invested into Creating the Habit in the first place.
However, the Universe seems to favour Self-Acceptance over Self-Rejection more so it's a bit quicker to reverse the negative habit patterns than to create them.
One can accelerate the process of releasing oneself from the Negative Habits by doing the exact opposite to what one has been doing before, which is by developing Stillness, Knowing, and Self-Acceptance.
In summary, behind our Actions are our Reactions.
And behind our Reactions are our Beliefs.
Thus whenever we address the issue of our Habits, we have to address it at the Seed level. This is at the level of the mind—at the level of Negative Ideas / Negative Reactions.
To accelerate the journey, we develop Stillness, Self-Knowing, and Self-Acceptance.
Know and Transform The Self!
Reading articles helps with understanding, but to transform the mind, one realizes the truth from experience.
For such an enlightening journey, the Self-Transformation Course has everything you will ever need!