To get rid of habits that have taken over your Life, just become more aware, mindful and be conscious of the present.
Anything that controls your Life is not worth it. You have been created to be free. To live in absolute joy! But are you joyous when you are in the throes of a debilitating, ruinous habit?
Some weeks ago, a few of us got together for a few drinks. One of the friends smoked several cigarettes through the evening. We tried counseling him. But he dismissed our advice with defeatist logic: “Guys, let’s talk about something which can happen logically!” What he didn’t state but expressed with his refusal to consider our advice was: “This habit is something that I am unable to rid myself of.” Actually, quitting a ruinous habit is not difficult at all. All my friend needs to do is become more aware. If he starts focusing on each puff of his cigarette, and meditates as he inhales and exhales, he will become aware of the destruction he is causing himself; he will be conscious of the meaninglessness of his pursuit. What does smoking do to you? It doesn’t satisfy anything once it becomes a habit. Ask any smoker and she or he will say they loathe themselves. When it becomes a habit, smoking makes the smoker guilty, fearful and depressive. So, he or she will smoke more. And then more. That is how it becomes a suicidal cycle. The idea is not to cure a smoker because we can save that person from dying. All of us have to die someday. But the idea is to make the smoker live fully, blissfully, as long as she or he is alive!
I have been there, on that ruinous path and I know how it feels. I used to chew 20 packets of gutka (a chewable tobacco product) a day. It is now over 10 years since I quit that habit – so, consequentially, I also know that giving up a destructive habit is possible. My perspective comes from my own experience.
This perspective, interestingly, can be applied to any habit. Anger, sorrow, jealously, self-pity, depression, hatred, suspicion, all these negative emotions, are habits too, that we have developed over years of living mechanically, without awareness. They are as dangerous and destructive as smoking or drinking as habits are. Anger, for instance, cannot be avoided. Anyone can and will feel angry when expectations are not met. The difference between an awakened and aware person and an unaware one is that the aware will KNOW that anger has arisen within her or him. This awareness will help that person make a conscious choice to not allow the anger to control her or him. The awareness will replace the anger with tolerance or with forgiveness or with just letting go. Awareness, mindfulness can be learnt through continuous practice. All you need to do is to start LIVING in the now. That’s all. When you are here and in the now, you don’t look back, you don’t look forward. Do that in every single moment of your day today. And see the difference for yourself.
The same approach, the same logic works for any habit. Just don’t try to stop smoking or getting angry or feeling lousy. Because if you try to do that you will replace one ruinous habit with another. Instead start being in the moment. Start being aware. Being mindful. That, and that alone, will help you rid yourself of all that which controls you and keeps you nailed to the ground.