Mahabha shares a few tricks how to change our habits
Just now, preparing to get out of the shower, I took a cloth to wipe down the glass door (my mother’s request. It stops streaking or something). I’ve only been doing it for oooh, two months, since beginning to regularly stay with my parents. Maybe 12 times in total. But even in that short period I’ve developed a specific way of wiping the shower door.
I take the same small dark green cloth that ‘lives’ to the right of the sink, and I start top left, go once round the inside of the door frame, then zig zag speedily down to the bottom right until ‘all’ the steam’s gone.
Satisfying; there’s a comfort in the same-sameness. But it’s also a habit, I’ve realised. And habit, we know, is a deadener.
‘This is the way it’s done’ says my head. The mind likes order. Rules. Fixed ideas of how things ‘should be’. But there’s not much fun or light in this tight space.
Mindfulness and meditation on the other hand silently, steadily move me out of the tight spot and open up a whole new world of creative possibilities.
Anyway, this morning I consciously poked fun at my pattern by wiping the glass in a different way.
And I kinda enjoyed it.
Breaking my habit brought a playful freshness and openness that doesn’t have room to breathe when I’m on automatic; a human doing rather than a human being.
And so, my meditation tip is: change things just for the sake of it. And look out for what new happens when you do. Because the truth is every single moment is a new start; an opportunity to drop the old and how-do-you-do? the new.
It doesn’t need to be big. In fact, small and often is more likely to have longer lasting benefits. When we get interested in the tiny things we begin to wake up to the reality that they feed bigger, more obvious patterns, like grains of sand on a beach.
Wake up to your reality
Ask yourself, what do I habitually you do/say/think? Tip: start at home. Daily routines and relationships are a breeding ground for unconscious behaviours.
Some ideas that may inspire you:
- Brush your teeth a different way (I do mine the same way, every time. Top centre, to top right. Bottom left, then bottom right)
- Try out a new route way to work.
- If there’s a phrase you overuse (‘That’s nice’. ‘It drives me nuts’ ‘I’m bored’), play a new record – one that makes you want to get up and boogie!
Whenever a client describes an unexpected sensation or emotion they’re experiencing as ‘It’s weird,’ I say: ‘Weird sounds like a bit of a judgement. How about a kinder way of describing what your body’s telling you? How about ‘It’s new’? Nine times out of ten I see surprise soften their face. ‘Yeah, it’s new.’
By and by the divide between you (presence) and your mind (past-future) will become clearer. Like waking up from a dream. I see why they call it awakening. Because that’s exactly what enlightenment is like. Your external environment and inner awareness simultaneously become sharper, clearer, brighter.
Just in the watching of our mindless patterns a freedom happens. We see we are not our deadening habits. And we recognise that we have a choice – indulge in old comfort patterns or stir things up and see what fun turns up.