Why does the mind develop bad habits more easily than good habits?

by Chaitanya CharanJuly 6, 2014

Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath

Question:  Why does the mind develops bad habits more quickly than good habits?

Answer:  It is not that bad habits are more quickly developed universally, it is more a question of what is the general inclination of the mind. If the floor of the house is tilted in a particular way, then naturally the water will flow in that direction more easily. and water will floor in the opposite direction with greater difficulty. Same way the mind in influenced in varying degrees in three modes, goodness passion and ignorance. In general the mode of goodness is conducive to good habits, and the mode of ignorance is conducive to bad habits, the mode of passion is in between but still it tends to go downwards . Now among these modes, generally speaking , we are influenced by the lower modes, we may have some amount of goodness , but to significant amount we are usually influenced by passion and ignorance, and because of this influence, our mind is, as if inclined towards the lower nature, and that’s why habits which are in accordance, habits which are passionate or ignorant in nature, they latch on to the mind much more easily, and that’s why it seems as if we can develop them much more quickly. But the point is that if we bring ourselves to goodness that means we start living the life style that is regulated, then  catching good habits also becomes easy. For example if somebody has say from the child hood habit of waking up early in the morning and taking bath, and if that person is told by some elders or some devotees , ” you should do some prayers also in the morning”, and the person starts doing that and starts feeling very good about it, and that habit gets caught easily, why ? because there is a over all life style of goodness and within that we add something spiritual, it becomes relatively easy. But if the person has a habit of sleeping at twelve O clock, one O clock, two O clock and waking up at 8 O clock or 9O clock , and then the person is told to walk up early in the morning, at 5 O clock or 4 O clock, it becomes much more difficult , why ? because the whole habit pattern is different. But the important point to recognize is that , ultimately the mind is like a blotting paper, so what ever we put on it, it will absorb. and if we consider the fact that the mind is the ultimately insentience, it is unconscious and the mind gets all its energy from the consciousness which is present in the soul. So for the soul , the attraction to Krishna and the manifestation of good qualities  is natural. So rather than looking at our conditioned nature and thinking that developing bad habits is easy and developing good habits is difficult, we can think that actually from the point of view of the soul , bad habits are so un-natural. Because the soul is pure and if something so un natural to the soul can be so easily developed, just by repeated exposure and repeated enactment, then that which is natural to the soul , that is devotion and good qualities, how much more it is likely to be developed , if we just keep practicing. So by remembering our spiritual nature and trying to count goodness,we will find that developing good habits will also become easier and eventually a time will come when bad habits will become distasteful. That is even if somebody else exposes us to such things , we will not want to get exposed, because we will recognize that these are undesirable, they may give little happiness but they cause a lot of trouble afterwards.They violate our spiritual nature and that’s why we will give up to them. So therefore to conclude , to good or bad habits, they can be developed, they are developed more easily or more greatly difficulty , depending on what we by our nature consider to be good or bad. If we are in ignorance , then we consider different habits like say intoxication, gambling, as good, and that’s why to develop that seems to be fashionable. seems to be cool and they get developed easily, but if we are in goodness then developing good habits is attractive, and that how it is developed. So by cultivating the mode of goodness and by practicing bhakti yoga we can all develop good habits and eventually the good habits will become more easy and easy to develop. and in fact moral sociological research also confirms this, in my book “recession” I have quoted several researches from 1920’s on-wards, since ………….came up with the idea that religion is psychological disorder , so psychologist have been trying to test it, what is the effect of religious belief and religious practices on people’s behavior, and they have found that from 1920s to almost of a century of research is consistently proven that people  who have religious faith and religious commitment, they are less prone to develop a bad habit , they are more capable of giving up any bad habits even if they have, and they are more capable of developing good habits. and that’s why this article in new York times about five or six years ago , it said on the eve of new year that if you want to stick to your new year resolutions add one more resolution to your new year resolution, and that resolution is ” the resolution to increase your religious commitment”, because those who are religiously committed they have the greater will power to develop good habits and give up bad habits. So that way by connecting with Krishna we will find that good habits will become natural and bad habits will be become, over a period of time, un-natural for us.

thank you

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Chaitanya Charan

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