“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
All your personal troubles are due to one simple fact: you engage with your conditioned habits.
Do you seek approval or limit yourself? Are you stuck in doubt or self-critical thoughts? Do you overeat, over-buy, overthink, overdo it in any area of your life? Then you are interested in automatic, familiar ways of thinking and behaving.
And have you noticed? What you are interested in is what is expressed in your life.
If given the fuel to run, habits will take over, and you will end up feeling like a victim of your own life. Stuck like a hamster on a wheel and wondering why you’re not happy.
Touching vs. Not Touching
But here’s the good news: you are not your habits. You can identify with your habits and turn them into your reality – if you want to. But you have another option because they are not the truth of who you are.
Who you are is free of fear, unlimited, magnificent, pregnant with possibility, infinitely full and alive.
So how to know this directly in your own experience? What to do with habits that consume your interest and attention so you can uncover the splendor of you?
Don’t touch them.
When you touch something, you reach out toward it, you interact with it and become one with it. It is your reality in that moment.
When you touch your habits, you give them your attention. You think habitual thoughts and feel familiar feelings. You experience an urge or tendency and you act on it. This is the definition of suffering.
The Fog of Habits
If you aren’t happy, you are touching your habits – a lot.
- You get lost in a story of why you aren’t getting what you want.
- You convince yourself that you are lacking.
- You live in fear, guilt, sadness, or regret.
- You behave in ways that you know don’t serve you.
Habits are flat, automatic, lifeless, repetitive, compulsive, agitating. They stir up the moments of your life into swirls of stress and unhappiness. Are you touching these tendencies with your attention?
The Art of Not Touching Habits
If you realize that you are touching habits – the ones that make you suffer – then here is your invitation:
- A familiar thought beckons your attention. Don’t touch it.
- A feeling or desire comes over you. Don’t touch it.
- Your mind tries to justify the need to engage with the habit. Don’t touch it.
- A fascinating urge entices you. Don’t touch it.
Not touching habits means that your attention rests in presence where you stay peaceful and unengaged, but totally alive. You are open and receptive, uninvolved with the arising and passing of thoughts and feelings. You know that place in you that is not in resistance to anything.
Your reality is all about where your attention goes, and, amazingly, you get to decide. You don’t need to get rid of or change one single thing.
When repetitive thoughts and feelings appear, let attention melt back into this now moment. Do it a thousand or a million times. Who cares? You will always arrive in the same place. This now moment that is so fresh, so effortlessly new.
And don’t worry. You will function just fine without habits. What you need will appear; this can be trusted.
Try it out – don’t touch your habits. It might be hard at first, scary even. But eventually you will notice that suffering diminishes and life becomes much less complicated. And here you are: peaceful, smiling, happy.
Are your habits drawing you in? What happens when you don’t touch them? I’d love to hear…