Posted by: Lisa | February 27, 2012

Stop Being a Slave

I confess that as I’m reading books or articles, I sometimes jot down a line or two but forget to note the source.  Here are two examples from my journal:

“Material desire depends for its existence on ego (asmita), habit (samskara), and delusion (avidya).”

“Whenever the desire for a particular sensory experience becomes habitual, it is time to stop that practice.”

These quotes remind me that we all get sucked into the repetition of certain acts that make us feel good – temporarily.  For example, after a hard day at work, why is it that we can’t wait to get home to veg out in front of the TV or Facebook, to stuff ourselves with potato chips or cookies, to have a glass (or several) of wine?

Stopping unhealthy habits necessitates replacing them with something more beneficial.  For example, reading a book instead of gravitating to TV or Facebook, eating fruit instead of cookies, drinking tea instead of alcohol.

However, the above quotes suggest something even deeper:  We can become enslaved by ANY habit, even habits that are good for us.  When we’re overwhelmed by the desire for some object or experience, and when we cannot stop ourselves from indulging (even in “good things” such as a cup of coffee or a bout of exercise), then we’re enslaved.  We are deluded into believing we can find contentment or happiness by satisfying our desires.  Somehow we don’t notice our happiness is temporary.  Or maybe we DO notice but we figure this is just how life is.

Let us stop and really notice the next time we think we just HAVE to have some experience.  Do we?  Can we try something else instead?  Let us cultivate curiosity for experiences outside our deep habitual ruts.  Let us free ourselves from the endless desires to cater to our senses.

Peace, love, joy and happiness are within us.  Those are what we really want anyway.

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