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In the journey of self-realization, it's common to overlook the crucial task of breaking free from ingrained mental and physical habits that hinder our progress. Many habits are so deeply rooted within us that they seem perfectly normal, operating as automatic responses that often go unrecognized. Initally,it may be difficult to distinguish many habits since they appear as simply an ordinary part of our everyday life.

Spiritual teachings often suggest practices designed to help you recognizie and address these habits, shedding light on ways to navigate through ingrained patterns of thought and behavior. In the following quotations you will find numerous insights as to how to recognize your habits as well as suggestions for overcoming these old, conditioned patterns of thought and behavior.


As you develop greater awareness of your personal habit patterns you may begin to recognize how they function as barriers, obstructing your journey toward realizing your True Nature.















Habitual and normal are not the same. Nor are different and separate. Herein, the confusion lies. 

~ Wu Hsin 


A central part in our awakening process is to loosen the habit of trying to control and direct so much of life. Instead, to listen inwards and attune to what is trying to unfold naturally. In this we leave some space for the intelligence of our soul to lead the way. 

~ Miranda Macpherson 


In the beginning, some action takes place. You need to remind yourself not to identify with thoughts. There is a habit to be broken. You will be drawn to breaking it and it will break. In time, the unfolding of consciousness dissolves the magnetic pull to identify with thoughts, and then ever increasingly thoughts will pass by without your personal interest. Being in observer mode replaces the habit of buying into the "me" story.

~ Jac O'Keeffe


If it's not here, where else could it be? Do you believe the truth is hidden from us? Could all of this be so much simpler than what we ever imagined? Thought and habit says a resounding 'No!'. 

~ Eric Gross 

If you do not pour water on your plant, what will happen? It will slowly wither and die. Our habits will also slowly wither and die away if we do not give them an opportunity to manifest. You need not fight to stop a habit. Just don’t give it an opportunity to repeat itself.

~ Swami Satchidananda

Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all. This can never be the case. All three centers are filled with habits and a man can never know himself until he has studied all his habits.
~ P.D. Ouspensky


Practice is not for freedom but to remove your old habits. Freedom is standing in front of you, smiling at you, as you do your practices. Your old tendencies, which you grasp, are an imaginary wall. This wall is the thought "I am bound and suffering." 

~ Papaji 


Because doing is a habit, it takes effort to do nothing. The stronger the habit-energy is, the more effort it takes to resist it. But as we hold steady without falling into the old doing habits, we break free. Once we break free of the loop of conditioning, we find ourselves in an easy flow. In the flow, there is no trying. In the flow, there is nothing to resist. There may be apparent "doing", but the doing is happening. "I" am no longer "doing" anything. There is only ease. 

~ Regina Dawn Aker 


Ego identity is kept alive through habit, practice and the unquestioned assumption that we are our body and mind conditioning. We are living with the notion that we are this constructed self. This constructed identity is our root belief and nearly all our activities spring from there. And we keep all this up because it is all we believe we are. We are faithful and loyal to this habit of associating with impermanence, and like this we become a loyal member of the community of ignorance. But once the ego is immersed in the energy field of satsang, its power and influence begin to this away quickly. As soon as the ego enters the Heart's orbit, it is like a meteorite vanishing into the atmosphere before it reaches earth. 

~ Mooji 

Breaking a habit begins by

Acknowledging the habit.

Until this occurs,

There can be no change.

~ Wu Hsin


For some time, the mental habits may linger in spite of the new vision, the habit of longing for the unknown past and fearing the unknown future. When you know these are of the mind only, you can go beyond them. (509)

Your mind is steeped in the habits of evaluation and acquisition, and will not admit that the incomparable and unobtainable are waiting timelessly within your own heart for recognition. All you have to do is to abandon all memories and expectations. Just keep yourself ready in utter nakedness and nothingness. (498-9)

It is the person you imagine yourself to be that suffers, not you. Dissolve it in awareness. It is merely a bundle of memories and habits. From the awareness of the unreal to the awareness of your real nature there is a chasm which you will easily cross, once you have mastered the art of pure awareness. (517)

If you stay with the idea that you are not the body nor the mind, not even their witness, but altogether beyond, your mind will grow in clarity, your desires in purity, your actions in charity, and that inner distillation will take you to another world, a world of truth and fearless love. Resist your old habits of feeling and thinking; keep on telling yourself: "No, not so, it cannot be so; I am not like this, I do not need it, I do not want it", and a day will surely come when the entire structure of error and despair will collapse and the ground will be free for a new life. (443) 

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ( page references from You Are That


It is not your passing thoughts or brilliant ideas so much as your plain everyday habits that control your life....Live simply. Don't get caught in the machine of the world- it is too exacting. By the time you get what you are seeking your nerves are gone, the heart is damaged, and the bones are aching. Resolve to develop your spiritual powers more earnestly from now on. Learn the art of right living. If you have joy you have everything,so learn to be glad and contented....Have happiness now. 

~ Paramahansa Yogananda 


The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist. The old mind-pattern or mental habit may still survive and reoccur for a while because it has the momentum of thousands of years of collective human unconsciousness behind it, but every time it is recognized, it is weakened. 

~ Eckhart Tolle 


Relax your body and drop whatever idea is creating stress. Relax your face, your body and than relax internally, in this sequence. Repeat through the day. This develops the habit of letting go. 

~ Jac O'Keeffe 


When I met Papaji, he told me to stop. When I let that stop in, I recognized that he meant to stop every habit of defining myself. He meant to stop creating and recreating myself. What a monumental task that is, and yet it is absolutely immediate and simple. 

~ Gangaji


The ego is nothing but a memory, a set of definitions which are limiting. You strongly believe in these patterns you have brought about and you mechanically repeat them. It is only habit that maintains them, makes them seem permanent. . . . It is extremely important that you become fully aware that you are the witness. For that eliminates the old patterns and the habit of thinking yourself to be the thinker or the doer.

~ Jean Klein


The Self is not somewhere far away to be reached. You are always that. You have only to give up your habit, a long-standing one, of identifying yourself with the non-self. All effort is only for that. By turning the mind outwards, you have been seeing the world, the non-Self. If you turn it inwards you will see the Self.

~ Ramana Maharshi


This is what satsang is all about. By being here things begin to happen to you inwardly, you grow spiritually. The old habits fall away. 

~ Robert Adams


Conditioning arises in presence, not right or wrong, it just is. There are habits that keep you from resting in your true nature, particular patterns that keep you from resting in presence. Notice that.

~ Neelam


Do not criticize anyone today as criticism deepens your belief in separation. Do not gossip or convey any unnecessary opinion about another. Judging others is a habit that feeds the erroneous perception of individuality. Being in observer mode replaces the habit of buying into the "me" story.

~ Jac O'Keeffe 


Develop the habit of thinking of yourself as Consciousness, not as the body or a person. 

~ Mooji 

The ego managers of the ordinary mind have established deep habits that prioritize safety and survival according to their programming, and the perceived need for safety continues to reconstitute ego defense that obscure awake awareness.

But these innocent habits of our old conditioning will gradually subside as a new connection to the ground of self and heart knowing stabilizes.

~ Loch Kelly


Listening to the intelligence of the body asks us to wend our way through the forest of our long-standing habits to discover the place of natural wisdom and clear seeing that has been here all along.

~ Gail Brenner


Most human beings live like a bird in a cage whose door was blown away. Out of habit, too busy gold-plating the cage, they do not soar to the ultimate possibility.

~ Sadhguru


Spiritual awakening does not ask you to get rid of your personality or pretend you are above having one. It invites you to relax the habitual activity of trying to fix, get, become, improve, seek, judge and project. To simply be still, present and undefended with what is. This practice that I call “ego gation” cuts through your everyday stress at the root. It lovingly calls your familiar sense of “me” to retire being the director of your life. It helps you forgive yourself for your human limitations, while inviting you to submit to the deeper heart.

~ Miranda Macpherson


This habit of wandering mind is very strong, even though our reveries are often not pleasant and sometimes not even true. As Mark Twain so aptly put it, “Some of the worst things in my life never happened.” So we need to train our minds, coming back again and again to the breath, simply beginning again.

~ Joseph Goldstein


Where do the thoughts come that you think about?

They are formed by habit.

For years you've been using your mind to think,

and you believe the only way you can survive is through thinking.

But now you are beginning to understand that

what you call your mind is not really your friend.

It is some optical illusion that keeps you earthbound,

and makes you worry about your affairs,

and concerns you with the ways of the world.

~ Robert Adams


Initially, when we look at the body-mind we say that's ‘me’. That's a habitual point of reference. When awakening happens, that sense of identity shifts. Now instead of identifying with the body-mind, we begin to know the real ground, the real truth of who we are is our true nature.

~ Neelam


The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself. The more aware you become, the more you shed from day to day what you have learned so that your mind is always fresh and uncontaminated by previous conditioning.

Conditioning obstructs our view of reality. We do not see it in its suchness because of our indoctrination, crooked and twisted.

A conditioned mind is never a free mind. Wipe away and dissolve all its experience and be "born afresh".

The unconditioned mind intuits truth.

~ Bruce Lee


If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which uplifts those who are around you. If you can maintain this habit, this energy will turn into a steady flow of love. 

~ Annamalai Swami 


The penetration of this mystery requires that one not foreclose it by substituting an answer, be it a metaphysical proposition or a religious belief. One has to learn how to suspend the habit of reaching for a word or phrase with which to fill the emptiness opened by the question.

~ Steven Batchelor


Man is a machine. All his actions, words, thoughts, feelings, opinions and habits are the result of external influences and impressions. All that a man says, does, thinks and feels - everything just happens. To establish this fact by itself, to be convinced of this truth, one must get rid of thousands of illusions about oneself. But one thing is to understand only with the mind and another thing is to feel it with all our totality; only then can a man really be convinced of it and never forget.

~ G. I. Gurdjieff

To realize complete freedom, nothing is immune to curious, loving examination – no habit, no expectation, no identity. Nothing gets to hide; everything is seen.

This exploration can be unrelenting, merciless, and unyielding, and leaves everything up for grabs. It’s kind of like dying, where what dies are the unconscious, often deeply-held, tendencies that lead us down a road of suffering—and the identity of the personal self that supports them.

The desire to know our true nature may smolder in a single ember or blaze through our lives igniting everything in its path. The process is designed to expose all our misunderstandings and false beliefs.

Let everything burn in the fire of truth and liberation! And You remain—pure, boundless, and so incredibly alive.

~ Gail Brenner


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