As part of the process of self realization it's easy to overlook importance of overcoming old, lifelong mental habits that inhibit our the process. Many of these habits are so ingrained in us that they seem completely normal, and thus may be difficult to distinguish at first. Once recognized, some habit patterns can often be seen as barriers to opening to our fuller experience of love and freedom, whereas the practice intended to develop new habit patterns can help pave the way to greater depths of experience.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Every grown-up person consists wholly of habits, although one is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all.
~ Georges Gurdjieff
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.