How do we give up bad habits?
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Transcription: Suresh Gupta
Editing: Sharan Shetty
bQuestion: How do we give up bad habits?
Answer: There are two aspects about changing habits – (i) rejection (ii) replacement.
Rejection of a habit is usually difficult whereas replacement is much easier. In general, the process of bhakti, focuses, not so much on rejection but on replacement. Some spiritualists reject things by focus on what they will not do. Srimad Bhagavatam (4.22.39) mentions that the jnanis and yogis try to stop the waves of sense gratification but cannot do so as it is very difficult for them.
When we try not think about something, it only increases our craving to do it. Therefore, we need some positive focus. We replace the negative habits with positive ones. Rather than rejecting bad habits we focus more on cultivating positive habits by (i) externally filling our schedule with positive activities (ii) internally filling the mind with positive thoughts. By doing so the old habits will fall away. However, this is a gradual process.
While doing this, we need to be patient. There is no instant cure for habits. We can create two kinds of supports for ourselves: (i) pushers towards the positive (ii) blockers from the negative.
“Pushers towards the positive” means that we should have a circle of friends, where we push each other towards the positive habits e.g. association of devotees, reading scriptures, mantra meditation etc. Along with pushers, we also need “blockers from negative”, which will block any opportunity for indulging in those habits which we want to break. For example, if somebody is addicted to alcohol, he should avoid mixing with the alcoholics. If someone has the habit of surfing wrong websites, then one can add filters or turn on firewalls.
Therefore, by filling our life with positive activities and by creating some pushers towards the positive and blockers from the negative, we will find it easier to replace the bad habits with good ones.
End of transcription.
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