How are habits formed? Our response to how people deal with us in life becomes a habitOur response to how people deal with us in life becomes a habit
What is our Reward? RepetitionReward I slap/ yell back/ scream I feel powerful, authoritative and in control I don’t do something I have been told to do By not doing that I got a chance to do something more interesting for myself. OR I feel I was able to get back to my present or past authority. Chewing my nails when I am stressed I feel relaxed Smoking, Drinking or Doing drugs I can drown out the pain from life, I feel I am on a high Shopping I feel my purchases have enhanced my life OR have helped me satisfy my lacking in the heart OR will help me project that I am rich I procrastinate I don’t have to feel the boredom and pressure of doing the work till later I hate and criticize I feel better about myself. I also don’t have to get close to people I blame someone else for the situation I do not have to own my part. I do not fall in trouble. People do not think badly about me
We discover that these habits limit our creativity, render us ineffective, or cause us to suffer and block us from developing a relationship with Krsna. Soul identifies with this identitySoul identifies with this identity Habits =Blueprint= Comfort Zone=Attachment=Fears=Patterns= Conditioning=Memes=Identity Bhagavad Gita Reference: Chapter 16
Habits =Blueprint= Comfort Zone=Attachment=Fears=Patterns= Conditioning=Memes=Identity Gopi bhartur pada kamalayor dasa dasa das anu dasa- I am eternal soul, servant of Krsna and His devotees. False Self ! Real Self! Bhagavad Gita References: Chapter 16 Trying to be sacidananda through the false self leads to frustration!
Are we just like the mice trapped in a Digital Skinner box or is there a way out? Bhagavad Gita :7.14
Exercise!! Step 1 – Write down the bad habit you are trying to quit. Start Simple. Choose Just One!! Step 2 – Remember the last time you found yourself doing it. Observe your behavior objectively, almost as an outsider might see you. A habit is only a habit until you can observe it. And then it’s a choice.
”….activities of the mind—thinking, feeling and willing—are expressed through our senses. And these sensual activities are known as our living condition.” Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, April 15, 1966 Modern Psychologists differ on what comes first Thinking or Feeling? While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them,and from such attachment lust develops,and from lust anger arises.From anger, complete delusion arises,and from delusion bewilderment of memory.When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. Bhagavad Gita Ref:2.58-2.64
The gap between stimulus and response is very small but a lot happens in between The gap between stimulus and response is very small but a lot happens in between
Step 2: – Note the details in black in your observation Event Trigger Resulting Behavior(Habit) (energy, tension, tightness, warmth, numbness anger, anxiety, joy, excitement Observable as language (stories, interpretation, justification, etc.) Reward!
BG 14.11 — The manifestation of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge. BG 14.11 How can we cultivate the mode of goodness? Internal pause button. Our internal pause button halts our psychophysical device – our body and mind – in mid-action. How can we develop such an internal pause button? By designing for ourselves a custom-made response to sensitive and provocative situations. This custom-made response may incorporate any or many of the following: Taking deep breaths, Recalling an insightful wisdom passage Reciting an inspiring scriptural verse Chanting an empowering divine mantra. Offering a universal or personal contextual prayer
How can we develop such an internal pause button? Through constant practice and detachment(Bhagavad Gita verses 6.34-6.35) Hindsight: We use 20/20 hindsight to reflect at the end of our day using the exercise in the prev page. We remember that we actually did engage in something we did not want to earlier in the day. We jot down notes about our experience, and become curious. (“Hey! Maybe I really do interrupt!”) Hindsight, closer in time: After several days, we become increasingly attuned to the behavior. We begin to notice it sooner. (“Oops! I just interrupted Anita!”) Still hindsight, but closer in time. In the moment observation: Soon, the internal observer, which we’ve been cultivating, begins to notice what we’re doing as we do it. (“I’m interrupting Sheela right now!”) Because the bulk of our awareness is wrapped up in the critically important thing we’re interrupting Sheela to say, we finish saying it anyway, but awareness is dawning. Before the moment observation, followed by alternate action: We begin to notice our impulse before the behavior. (“I feel my energy increasing and my back straightening. I feel impatient. I know what we should do. I’m about to interrupt Anita. No, this time, I’m going to hear him out instead. Slow down, relax, breathe, listen.”) Now, we are changing our behavior. But it happened simply, easily, almost by itself.
Do I feel uncomfortable about accepting certain parts about myself?
Self –Acceptance is being and neutral and compassionate. I am tiny and imperfect, yet lovable. Krsna loves me unconditionally- I will make the change because I wish to reciprocate with His love I did it because she triggered me. Its not my fault How could I do something so stupid? Hmm. That was not very nice of me to respond like that. I really hurt her. She must have felt terrible I lovingly accept myself with my imperfect parts. I don’t have to convince myself or others that I was perfect in responding in the wrong way. I care for myself. I lovingly accept myself with my imperfect parts. I don’t have to convince myself or others that I was perfect in responding in the wrong way. I care for myself.
Step 3:Self Acceptance – Don’t beat yourself up – Don’t cover for yourself – Be neutral and compassionate!! I am tiny, imperfect(4 defects) and lovable I deeply care for myself, my relationship with Krishna – Krsna is loving, He accepts us completely with all our faults – Compassionate to my own myself- accepting myself in that situation then from the platform I can bring about some change. – E.g. If we hurt someone but they still love us, then we are inspired to make a change so we do not hurt them again. E.g parents love their child anyway- so the child feels the impetus to change. – Self-respect(respect for the real self) leads us to work on improving in the appropriate places. Am I comfortable with myself being imperfect? Can I tolerate myself with my imperfect parts?
Step 3:Self Acceptance From Acceptance comes Transformation
STEP 4: ASPIRE FOR HIGHER REWARDS Practice, Detachment and Higher Taste
Efforts to quit or moderate bad habits will fail if they focus solely on depriving oneself of doing the habit. Because – even if you are successful in the short term, your reward/habit system will readjust to your new, more reward deficient environment, and you will become more driven for immediate gratification and more likely to relapse. - Paula DeSanto MS, LSW, CPRP, CCDP- D
BG 2.59BG 2.59 — Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains…………… Current Reward Habit DESIRE Bhagavad Gita Ref:2.58-2.64
Why do you want to become that which you want to become? What is your motive?
It is impossible to sustain anything permanently within the three modes of material nature!!
Identity based reward system All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavor of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord's external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a man?- SB 5.8.12
Aspire for pleasing Krsna – that is our identity Bhagavad Gita Ref:2.58-2.64 Bg 2.60 — The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them. Bg 2.60 Bg 2.61 — One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and ﬁxes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence. Bg 2.61
BG 2.59BG 2.59 — …… But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is ﬁxed in consciousness. Current Reward Old Habit Circult TRIGGER New Habit Circuit Changed Needs, wants and likes Bhagavad Gita Ref:2.58-2.64 Higher Reward (Please Guru and Krsna) Mercy
Is the current reward for your habit worth it? What new reward connected with pleasing Guru and Krsna would you like to aspire for?
STEP 5: PRAYER AND VAISHNAVA SEVA All good intentions and attempts need help from above
Step 5:Prayer We feel humbled by our behavior. We find this internal work very hard to do on our own We cry out the Holy Names so Krsna protects us from ourselves
God helps those who help themselves! Bg 10.10Bg 10.10 — To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. Bg 10.11Bg 10.11 — To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
True prayer is a sincere cry of the contrite heart. “Oh! Lord Please Help me” The Hare Krishna mantra is itself a prayer invoking good fortune and petitioning the Lord, “O energy of God, O Supreme Lord, please accept me and engage me in Your service.”
Vaishnava Seva SB 1.2.16 — O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vāsudeva. SB 1.2.16
Vaishnava Seva SB 1.2.17 — Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. SB 1.2.17 SB 1.2.18 — By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. SB 1.2.18
Step 6: Follow a regulated life BG 2.64 — But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord. BG 2.64 – If regulation becomes your theme then it has its effect in all areas and habits of your life.
STEP 7:PATIENCE Enthusiasm and Determination utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with conﬁdence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.
We sometimes see previously hidden aspects of our own makeup, of our personality and character. – Often these aspects were hidden only from us and not from others. These shocking new glimpses of ourselves, these realizations that we are not exactly who we thought we were, may bring disappointment. They arise naturally as a result of our inner work and present us with a choice. – We may wallow in self-pity and self-hatred and, thereby, short-circuit the process of practice. Or we may simply accept that the good in us exists alongside the not-so-good, and practice with renewed vigor toward transformation. – Not necessarily seeking to change the details of our personality, but rather seeking to change our being. As we do this internal work……..
Our steadiness is in constantly trying …
Gratitude Bhagavad Gita As It Is- By A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada Bhagavad Gita As It Is- By A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada Srimad Bhagavatam- By HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada Srimad Bhagavatam- By HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada MNA Alternatives How can we avoid rash impulsive behavior by HG Caitanya Caran Prabhu How can we avoid rash impulsive behavior by HG Caitanya Caran Prabhu The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business
Gratitude Teachings of all the Srila Prabhupada and all the acaryas and the devotees in the disciplic succession
THANK YOU Questions/ Comments/ Corrections If you want to feel alive with spiritual longing, you need to come in contact with the sacred dimension in your life and to remain in that awareness as much as possible. You'll know when you've touched that dimension because you'll feel yourself escaping the confines of matter; the bird of your soul will take to the free air- HH Sacinandana Swami