The Yogic Way of Forming New Habits and Breaking Old Ones
Some want to change certain habits in them, break the pattern and find new ground. They try to follow discipline, adopt everything they can to stay motivated including writing journals, meditation, reading self-help books and so forth, and yet they seem to make little progress, if any. They keep going back to square one before they give up eventually. Why are habits so hard to break? Or, why is it difficult to form new habits? They are serious, sincere, committed, yet they are unable to live the life they can or they so want to.
Your consciousness, your life is an aggregate of proclivities and psychic imprints that have been traveling with you over lifetimes. They make you who you are. It is for this reason that even identical twins can have different preferences, they may think and behave differently. Everything you do and experience in life leaves an imprint on your consciousness, on your mind. These imprints form your habits. The best way to break old habits or form new ones is to wipe these imprints and create new ones. Let me share a little story with you:
There was a guy called Bo. A high level executive, in his mid-forties, working for a large organization. Bo had a happy family with a loving wife and two kids. However, he was often battered by episodes of shooting pain in his right knee and wild mood swings. He was physically fit, all medical reports were fine. Nothing could explain his knee-ache. As for the mood swings, they happened even when he was on a vacation, when there was no stress of work. To make matters worse, he experienced it more in a public setting. When in such state, Bo often said things that hurt his wife and damaged their relationship. He would later apologize but the impact of apology almost vanished, for, the pattern of verbal bashing and subsequent apologizing seemed intertwined and constant.
They tried many things without success. One lucky day, they came across a genuine healer. He advised them to recall and narrate the major incidents of his life, especially those where he experienced grief and pain, physical or mental. A few hours later, they had figured out the cause of his sudden appearance of physical pain and mood swings. It turned out that Bo was bullied in school. One particular time, a bully gave him a nasty blow on his right knee with a baseball bat. The blow did not break his knee but he cried out loud in excruciating pain. His wailing and howling immediately got the attention of many and he was promptly given medical aid. The bully was expelled from the school and no one ever pestered him thereafter.
However, that experience had found a permanent home in Bo’s mind. Whenever he passed through the markets, if he saw a baseball bat or even any memorabilia linked to that sport, he experienced pain in the knee. It all happened in the subconscious mind; he was unaware. Shouting became his coping mechanism. His mood swings were triggered at the sighting of anything linked to baseball, especially the bat.
Habits are spontaneous responses. They spring from your memory. Yoga sutras state that memory is the unmodified collection of words and experiences. If you work on erasing those imprints, you can get rid of any habit. There are two simple ways you can adopt to erase your psychic imprints, there’s a yogic method and there’s an intellectual one. You can read up on both methods here.
When you are angry, negative, pessimistic, paranoid, it means you are hurt somewhere deep within you. It means that untoward experiences of the past have not been forgotten yet, that, you still haven’t forgiven yourself or the other person, that, you are still not healed. They are merely the symptoms of a wounded consciousness. You can heal yourself. Such healing will give you a clean slate.
Not everything that happens to you is your fault. Allow yourself to be yourself. Heal yourself so you may be the person you wish to be, living the life of your dreams.
(Photo credit: Road on the Sky via Shutterstock)