Outside on the patio I sat. Birds singing, the mild breeze jostling my eyes, I enjoyed a feeling of release. Reclined on the chair, I throw leisurely glances about. Then in a space of a few seconds, my thoughts started drifting off. Unaware, unconscious of my thoughts, I found myself several miles away from the chair, patio, and the outdoors. Recovering myself, I wondered how to use mindfulness change an unhealthy habit.
Appreciating Habit Energy
Suddenly, an energy arose, an itch. Up my frame went my hand, as I scratched my body. My body complaining, wriggling, moving, adjusting, I swung my head about. Moving for some more ratcheted up the need to move. Thereupon, I remembered the refrigerator and all the goodies harboured inside it. A bar of chocolate ran about in my mind, my mouth still warm and sweet, from eating several bars. I tried to push the thought away but it only grew stronger. My body wriggled and squirmed, starting me up. Am I really in control? How can I release this habit energy and feel more of my wholeness?
What is more, I appreciate the power of this force of conditioning, that frequently starts me responding in similar situations the same way I responded in the past. I enjoy the short-term sugar high, but what about the long-term negative consequences?
Showing Compassion To Myself And Others
Now, I allow compassion to arise within me, for myself and others caught up in their own conditioning, in their own habit energy. Though this habit energy is often stronger than my intention to change, making me feel helpless sometimes, there must be a way out. Happiness must surely arise out of kindness, not struggle or harshness.
Walking In The Right Direction, Not Pursuing Sudden Perfection
Along with, I will somehow persist in trying to change, even in the face of setbacks and obstacles. Important, I will not trivialise or permit them to become invitations to helplessness. Hopelessness and despair are painful. Again, they often excuse us from further effort. More, pursuing the notion of sudden perfection is counterproductive. In contrast, walking in the right direction pays more than enforcing rigid perfection.
In this, when my conditioning or habit energy compels me, to knowingly act in ways that sabotage my well-being, when the habit is too strong that I cannot bring myself to change, I will practice non-struggle. Pushing myself does not work, as the more I struggle, the worse the situation becomes. Else, struggle creates more tension that often gets me stuck in unwanted behaviour. Plus, it rouses me farther and farther away from well-being. Clearly, how to use mindfulness to change an unhealthy habit is off this.
Bringing Mindfulness To Habit Energy
More constructive, I will bring mindfulness to my habit energy, becoming aware in an accepting way, of just what is going on. Clearly and kindly, I will see it; the internal and external triggers, what the sensation feels like in the body, the consequences. I suspect that positive change arises from mindfulness, not from a confused, irritated, conflicted mind.
Back, I resolved to test the potency and benefits of mindfulness. So, I strode forward to the refrigerator. Opening its door, I fell under the spell of a bar of chocolate. However, I reluctantly dragged my eyes away to an apple. I picked up the apple and closed the door.
Then, I cut the apple into thin slices, sitting quietly. For a few moments, I followed my breathing, contemplating the apple in a no-self way. I focused, seeing the sunlight, the earth, the water, and imagining the beings who helped bring it to my table. Bringing the apple towards my mouth, I observed myself salivating. The smell of the apple hits my senses, as I let my mouth, tongue, lips work slowly through it. How the flavour and texture changed as I chewed it, captivated my senses. Without rushing, I chewed it well. Somehow knowing when it was time, I swallowed it. Observing the process of swallowing, I felt the apple going down my stomach.
Practicing Happiness Through Mindfulness
Following on, I paused, breathing before taking another bite. I spent about fifteen minutes enjoying the apple. Noticing everything that occurs during the process of eating, being mindful, slow, started me deriving pleasure and enjoyment from eating an apple. It hit me that this pleasure can compare to the sugar high of a bar of chocolate. I’m convinced that it is a good substitute for it. Mindfully eating the piece of apple is truly an invitation to practice happiness. How to use mindfulness to change an unhealthy habit is truly amazing.