It seems very straightforward, but all black and white, dualistic things seem very straightforward. There isn’t a lot of room for nuance or unique circumstance, not to mention shades, hues, and colors. Habituation, like the rest of reality, is a lot more complex than we’d like to believe, and we relate to simple things as much less intimidating when compared to complex things. So, this preface is meant to recognize the complex, difficult nature of what we’re calling “good habits” and “bad habits”.
That being said…
The habituated mind is, in certain ways, like a dog. Loyal to the pack, it will do what it’s trained to do, unless it’s not trained. The egoic “dog” mind will think it’s in charge unless otherwise disciplined... and will challenge that discipline until they’re sure the responses are consistent. Only then, will they surrender to the pack leader’s authority. That being said, I’m rather particular when it comes to the habituated behavior of people’s dogs… and most if not all of those off-putting behaviors are rarely the fault of the dog, kinda like the unmanaged, undisciplined mind. See, people who are unfamiliar with discipline and its benefits usually have the kind of dog that has no idea what right-behavior is, because to that dog’s master (human, less-than-furry family-member, whatever…) discipline is “bad” and oppositional to the animals rights and freedoms. Discipline is something that gets imposed upon an otherwise organically growing, free-thinking, sentient thing. Discipline, therefore, is a contributing factor to that which prevents happiness.
I’m here to tell y’all that those above perspectives are not only wrong, they’re also selfish and egoic… and the mind can become entrained to the egoic just as easily as it can to the altruistic.
What’s actually happening when we miss opportunities to deploy discipline and do something different other than those bad habits is that those bad habits are continually being created, reinforced, or ignored altogether, thus running rampant… and we just think it’s the norm (like the undisciplined behavior of an ill-mannered dog). Good habits aren’t used to break the negative habituation and aren’t replacing those unmanaged tendencies… and that’s no one’s fault but ours.
To use another metaphor, habits stick to us like lint on velvet, whether we’re trying to collect it or not. Without the positive habit (read as: discipline) of the regular use of the lint brush, it’s nigh-impossible for us to be free of those things (habits) that we simply pick up from a lack of mindfulness.
Dogs, clothes, lint… what are we talkin’ about here, Rev. Badger?
We’re talking about interrupting negative behaviors and replacing them with positive ones… not just stubbornly (egoically) muscling through the same circumstances with the same bad habits… we’re talking about entirely new, different behaviors, until those new, healthy behaviors become good habits. We’re talking about how “the good life” doesn’t mean getting every whim catered to, and every wish granted. We’re talking about breaking into and interrupting those negative behavior loops, and replacing them with healthy, recurring positive habits.
Discipline is the stuff that fuels that “interrupting” engine.
Fuel up, and drive those bad habits out of town.
(See y’all tomorrow)