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The Power of Habits

“Anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I am living against my own truth. Today I know this as authenticity.” Charlie Chaplin When we begin a spiritual journey, we notice quite quickly that we have many habits that need to change. The biggest trap we have fallen into is the habit of misidentification, […]

“Anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I am living against my own truth. Today I know this as authenticity.”
Charlie Chaplin

When we begin a spiritual journey, we notice quite quickly that we have many habits that need to change. The biggest trap we have fallen into is the habit of misidentification, that is of thinking and behaving as if we were only a physical body. When we realise who we really are, a spiritual being inhabiting the body, then we can see how ego has developed throughout our lives. Ego-based living is at the heart of how we experience unhappiness in our lives. Cleansing and healing the ego takes time and the two key habits that we have developed need to be clearly understood in order for anything to be able to change.

Firstly, that other people are responsible for how I feel. This is a deeply entrenched habit of not taking responsibility for my own feelings and laying the blame on others. Things that affect us on an emotional level we project on to others and we become victim-conscious.
Secondly, the habit of thinking that everything outside of me needs to be OK for me to feel OK inside. This habit is based on how my sense of identity depends on what other people think of me, and how the world perceives me, and what material possessions I have.

Linked to both of these habits is one spiritual law that we continually break: ‘Do not give sorrow and do not take sorrow.’ Giving sorrow is against the law of the soul. We know this deep down and recognise it when we have hurt someone. There is a feeling of repentance inside. However, taking sorrow has an equal impact. It is much harder to become aware of how much sorrow we take from people and situations. Until we become aware of this, we will continue to react to people and situations with aggression and anger. When we take sorrow, then anger has many forms; blaming the self, guilt, depression and sadness are all inner manifestations of anger. Emotional upheaval is anger directed either inwards to the self or outwards, and we become spiritually depleted, vulnerable and unable to trust our own thoughts. One of the very valuable ways of examining and releasing all the anger of the ego is by expressing our emotions through writing. This form of catharsis helps us to tune in and accept what is really happening in our life.

We need to understand how we accumulate pain (taking sorrow) and how we create belief systems that create habit patterns. Very often, when we experience painful situations, we just move on and never revisit them to deal with the emotional pain. When we ignore emotional pain this way, two things happen. One is that a ‘groove’ is created in the subconscious as we record the scene – we record what happened and the feelings we experienced. We may forget the scene later, but never the feeling. When further scenes come our way, we react, based on the old feeling that is triggered. An old pattern has been triggered. When we are aware of this, we can recognise that other people are not responsible for the pain – I am, or the habit patterns I have created, are.

Then comes a really clear understanding of how we can begin the healing process. To begin the healing process, I have to start by elevating my consciousness through meditation. When I really connect with the truest and deepest part of me, the soul, I am able to raise my consciousness and accumulate strength. From being a victim, I can become a peaceful being. Doing this in the midst of a situation distances me from it, and allows respite for the soul to strengthen and rejuvenate and in so doing, project honesty which brings clarity. I am released from the grip of the situation, and this allows me to see what I can bring to it while also preserving space in my heart and my deep sense of peace. I can then resolve the situation in a way that is worthwhile for everyone.

We have moved away from the soul’s true religion, which is peace. Once I return to that, then when situations come to shake me, I am able to see the choices that can preserve my peace, that is, I begin to choose not to take sorrow. We have also lost the faith and trust that we can be guided by a Divine source, and when I learn to connect with that source I can surrender to the goodness that the Divine wishes for me, and healing can begin.
Aashish Patel works in IT and coordinates Brahma Kumaris activities at the Lighthouse Retreat Centre, Worthing, UK.

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