How to break habits and addictions-Be it coffee, alcohol, drugs or smoking? Here is the most practical advice from the Guru of Joy, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the International Association for Human Values to break patterns that no longer serve us and ways to make our intentions come true (Hint-It is very very possible!).
Intention, Attention and Manifestation
The association of a particular sense object over and over again creates a sense of craving for it. If you are used to drinking coffee every morning, then even though you are not born with a coffee fervor you have begun a habit within you that has created a craving. How did it all start? The habit of drinking coffee didn’t happen in one day! Addiction starts with a repeated experience of a particular object. It becomes a habit — and the nature of habit is that it does not give you joy. It gives pain. Therefore, drinking coffee will not carry you to heaven but if you don’t have it, it can give you hell!
The repeated experience or association of a particular sense object makes you want it more. You think about it — and it creates a sensation of more wanting. Wherever you put your attention in the nervous system, the craving for that begins. With association comes desire. And with desire comes anger. Whenever a person is angry, behind that anger is a desire. Whether fulfilled or unfulfilled, desire leads to anger.
So you get angry with somebody. The next step is that you get attached. Now, whoever you are angry with, sooner or later you will regret. Regret brings more attachment. By regretting, you do not move away from the person or situation, you move more into it. All this happens in a subtle way. Have you ever observed that whoever you are angry with or hate, you think of that person more than yourself? And as you think of this person, you get agitated or distressed. On the other hand, if you think of someone you love, you have a nice feeling and your nervous system assumes that form.
When your nervous system assumes either of the forms, it becomes like that and you get drawn to those kind of people. This is entanglement. Therefore, an obsession brings anger which in turn brings entanglement. Entanglement clouds intellect. Your wisdom and judgment are lost; your ability to understand and access the situation is lost. This is a chain reaction and it happens in such a subtle manner that you don’t even realize it. Entanglement, whether out of craving or aversion, clouds the intellect. And a distorted intellect doesn’t let you be in peace. Such an intellect does not even bring up the emotions — the subtle feelings within you. Any feeling you get will be gross and will make you heavy.
With a clouded intellect, the memory of pleasant things is lost. Life has two sets of memories: memories of pleasant things and memories of unpleasant things. Children often have pleasant memories more than the unpleasant ones. That’s why they are so cheerful. But as we grow up and lose our innocence, our unpleasant memories increase.
Spiritual practices help bring back the pleasant memories more and more, and reduce unpleasant memories to almost an insignificant amount. Therefore, it is important to meditate regularly. Once the memory of “Who am I” is lost, the memory of “What do I want in my life,” the “reality” and “seeing life in context with the universe” is lost, wisdom is lost. Then there is no happiness and peace. The role of meditation and other spiritual practices is to withdraw the mind from the sense objects and take it back to its source. This is critical for success in life. The knowledge of coming back to the Self, the self-referral value of consciousness makes it rich, energetic and beautiful.
Pull back your attention from the object of the senses to the senses, and then to the source of mind. This journey within will you give you the strength and endurance to go through all the ups and downs of life.
Whereever you put your attention, that will start manifesting in your life.
If you put attention on anger, anger will manifest. If you put attention on lust, lust will manifest.
Focus on love, and love manifests. Focus on imperfection, imperfection manifests.
Observe the intention, and put your attention on whatever you want to grow in life. Intention, attention and manifestation — that is how the universe manifests.
Follow Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @SriSri