Thank you for your questions. Curiosity is the first step to finding your freedom. When you question limitation, you are no longer taking it to be reality, and that allows you to change. Now for the purpose of this blog I’m going to assume that your bad habits are little self destructive things like smoking or drinking etc. that you want to get rid of. If on the other hand you are talking about criminal behavior or behavior that affects others in a negative way, that would take a different type of response or practice, which I’m not going to talk about here.
Rather in this blog I am going to talk about how to destroy bad habits by transcending them. From the tone of your questions it seems like you’ve been struggling with these habits for a long time. It sounds like just as you are about to get rid of them, these habits come around and hit you from behind. And that’s why you wonder if freedom from the past is possible.
So the first step that I would recommend is to stop the self-judgment. The mind tends to work in opposites. You may think, “Now I am bad; when I finally get rid of these habits then I will be good.” If you stand as the mind, and see things as opposites, you are setting up an endless struggle. So have a little compassion on yourself. As you explore this teaching more, you will begin to notice that your essential nature is good. If you’re essentially good, then the tiny habits that occur in a vast mind cannot make a dent in that goodness.
Truth is not a reward for good behaviour, nor a prize for passing some tests. It cannot be brought about. It is the primary, the unborn, the ancient source of all that is. You are eligible because you are. You need not merit truth. It is your own. Just stop running away by running after (that which is limited). Stand still, just be –
Sri Nisargdatta Maharaj
In freedom there are more than two possibilities
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Now the next step is a bit harder to express. I know that your goal is to change a habit or two. So you may be surprised when I tell you to put less emphasis on the result and more on the process. In fact the results that you get may be different than you think. Remember in freedom there are more than just the two possibilities for change that your mind comes up with. So if you find yourself thinking in opposites like you either have the habit or not, or you are either good or bad, know that there is more than you are seeing at that moment. You should know that you could start out to change a habit and end up with complete enlightenment, which comes from what you are, not from what you do.
So before you attempt to change a habit, explore a little. While in the midst of this habit, notice what you hope to gain from it. Then notice where you actually experience this satisfaction. Does your satisfaction come from the habit? Or does the satisfaction that you experience come from a deeper reservoir that was there the whole time?
Your habit does not equal happiness
Look at what you actually experience and contrast it to what you think you should experience. When in your life you feel the satisfaction that you are looking for, whatever its cause seems to be, get in the habit of returning that happiness to its source by noticing where it actually comes from. You will find that the source is in the place where you actually experience happiness; not the thing that supposedly caused it.
After all, you don’t want to deny yourself happiness, do you? In fact it is very difficult to deny happiness because bliss is another name for your self-nature. That’s why as long as you connect your habit to the satisfaction that it seems to give you, the habit will be difficult to break. In other words, if the habit contains happiness then breaking it will be like denying your nature.
Consciousness does not judge
Now here’s where the teaching of self-knowledge is unusual; can you eliminate your habit by just looking into the actual source of happiness? Maybe or maybe not. But this practice will take the focus of your life off the habit, and put it on finding the source of the satisfaction that you hope to gain from your habits.
As you attempt to find the source of happiness, do you know what will happen? You will step out of both the good and the bad side of your mind completely. Instead of identifying with a few thoughts in your mind, you will return your identity to the consciousness that sees the mind. This space-like consciousness does not judge. It is here that you will find the boundless freedom and bliss that you are looking for.
As for your habits, some of them will go and some won’t. But compared to the expansiveness and freedom that comes from your identity, these habits will be inconsequential. Remember, Nisargadatta Maharaj smoked till the day he died from throat cancer. But he knew that he was not born and didn’t really die. Just become like Maharaj and we will see if you have to worry about your habits.
If this blog seems a little theoretical to you, ask questions. Then you will see how the explanations in this blog apply to your life. And the freedom that you find will be real. Questioning is the key to your freedom. You’ll see that when you question limitation, it falls away.
Here questions about this article or other things going on in your life are always welcome; you can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love questions and try to answer them all in this blog. That’s because when you start to question limitation, you are on the verge of destroying it. When you can ask, you are well on your way to freeing yourself from the limitations that seem to cause your suffering. Of course, to preserve confidentiality your name will be left off.
Also for more detailed explanations and examples read through these blogs or get my book, Making Your Wisdom Come Alive.Please Tell Your Friends
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