Breaking Habits by Healing the Split Mind
We make breaking habits far more difficult than it actually is, placing them center stage in a self created drama that serves the purpose of addressing our moral and personal self judgments and fears while attempting to continue to fulfill our desires to indulge.
As mentioned briefly in "The Split Mind", all conflict surrounding breaking habits is formed by dividing the mind into at least two parts: one that wants to indulge, and one that wants to control the indulgence.
Of course there is only one mind, and the purpose of imagining there are two is not to resolve the issue so much as to avoid resolving it.
Essentially, there are two conflicting desires and only one possible outcome, which may be a compromise. The choice is usually quite simple and obvious, and yet we don't seem to want to resolve it since that means losing something we want. However, continuing the internal conflict is even less satisfying by virtue of the additional conflict.
We employ all sorts of tactics to keep the conflict unresolved and avoid actually breaking habits. One is to imagine we don't really have control over the indulgence in the habitual behavior. One way we pull this off is to pretend we don't notice, as though the body has a mind of it's own, or to declare that the body is addicted, which we demonstrate by trying to stop the habit, and observe that the body reacts negatively.
The truth of the matter is that the body does not become addicted, but rather the mind. The body merely responds to the thoughts, expressing them in a physical form. The more the mind is addicted to a behavior, the more violently the body will react if that substance is witheld or the behavior stopped. As a result, the more pleasure-producing the substance is, the more the body will react in 'withdrawal' as we try breaking habits. One may become addicted to heroine, or even chocolate, but nobody becomes addicted to carrots.
The body is a natural extension of the mind. It does not think or desire, nor does it ever crave a substance it does not need or adapt in such a way that a poisonous substance cannot be removed without it reacting negatively. The body does, however, respond immediately and quite miraculously to the most subtle thoughts, changing muscle tension, altering chemistry and changing the functioning of the body's organs. It's not nearly as true that 'you are what you eat' as it is, 'you are what you think'.
Dieting presents a good example. Overeating is one of those habits that usually results in a split mind. For most, instead of resolving the conflict by eating what the body needs, the conflict continues in the form of yo-yo dieting. The diet is also often sabotaged in various ways. While the body is capable of maintaining it's metabolism under rather severe conditions, the slightest hunger often results in a lethargy produced in the body by the mind as a means of calling for the end of the diet. The body does not go into 'starvation mode' when a meal is missed and the body has ample fat reserves. The body is niether frightened nor anticipating lean times ahead because it is not thinking at all. It's the mind that goes into 'starvation mode'.
Breaking habits does not require practice, training, reconditioning or any sort of internal conflict or struggle.
What it requires is a healing of the split mind, the willingness to make a choice and remain fully conscious of your choice and your attempts to sabotage that choice. In other words, it means no more mind games.
First, be very clear about what you want. Deciding that you want two things that are mutually exclusive simply doesn't work in any universe, and not wanting to admit this keeps the struggle going. If you want to continue the habit, how in the world are you ever going to stop it, and why are you trying? Do what you really want to do, but be absolutely clear about, and conscious of, the consequences. You may find that when there are no more games to play, and the choice is entirely in your hands, and you've taken full responsibility, what you actually choose from this place of clarity, will quietly and effortlessly change.
From 'Breaking Habits' to 'Happiness Home'
More Self Actualization articles:
Living Consciously: Understanding Denial and Projection
Living Consciously Part 2: How we form our experience
The Split Mind
When does feeling become suffering?
Breaking Habits by Healing the Split Mind
Is Struggle the Effect or Cause of Suffering?
Happiness is an Idea
Serial Problem Solver
The Delusion of Burt the Bunny
Realization Vs Thinking
Realization is Self Evident
Seeing Through illusions
The Habit Game
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