A person with bad habits cannot experience Eternity. This same thing can be stated in many ways:
- A person with bad habits cannot experience the Truth
- A person with bad habits cannot know the Real Self
- A person with bad habits cannot be them self
- A person with bad habits is preventing them self from being happy
When we have a bad habit, we block the flow of energy. In effect, we are damming our own self. Bad habits are self-damnation.
When we have a bad habit we are not free, and if we are not free we are not real. If we are not real we cannot be really happy. Many people pretend to be happy, some people are temporarily happy, but few people are really happy. Happiness is a state of Being; it is not just a state of temporary mental or physical satisfaction.
A bad habit is formed in the mind, and may also have a physical component to it. A bad habit is the result of a mind-ego connection. When mind is in bed with ego it becomes impregnated by that ego, and the result is a bad habit.
Mind and ego are both born of this material nature (PRAKRITI). Ego is born first, and mind follows. Mind and ego are imbued with the qualities of both Nature and Consciousness. Ego is more subtle than the mind. The first instance of ego appears when we become conscious that we are conscious. Ego is actually formed from extremely subtle elements of Nature; thus, it would not be correct to say that ego is formed in our consciousness. Ego is the idea of separate identity, separate selfhood. From the perspective of the mind, ego covers the Self like a hood or mask. Hence, when perceiving ourselves through the mind, we incorrectly perceive ourselves as ego (personality–personality is a flavor of ego). Our Real Self is masked by the presence of ego.
Our True Self is eternal, ever full, complete, whole, perfectly happy and indescribably blissful. The idea that we are other than That, is called ego. If we think that our time is running out, that we are unfulfilled and incomplete, we will naturally feel compelled to do something. Our desire to act, to discover, to explore, to create, to transform–in short, our desire to live–is a natural expression of our being embodied as living beings. [This embodiment begins at the beginning of time, when Purush and Prakriti (Sprit and Matter) are joined. According to Hindu Shastras, our embodiment as human beings is the result of a lengthy process of evolution* through 8,400,000 different species of birth.]
Embodied as human beings, we all have both ego and mind, and we have had them for quite some time. We have accumulated innumerable impressions during our countless births, and all of these impressions influence our decision making process. The flow of our consciousness (as the Spirit Self) through our personality and mind is a dance of divine energy. Ultimately, our expression must become completely free flowing. When this happens, we have reached the pinnacle of Life. It is a matter of practice, deliberate practice, concentrated practice. The state of effortless effort is reached only after much effort.
Putting out good energy, making a tireless effort to rise above our small self, to go beyond our self-imposed limitations, to recognize our own weaknesses and overcome them — all of this is an expression of Consciousness, all of this is a statement and affirmation of who (and what) we really are.
When we ignore who (and what) we really are, we fail to mend our ways or improve ourselves, and instead we get stuck in a downward trend and repeat our mistakes. Our mistakes become our habits when we don’t correct them. A person with a bad habit is attached to their mistaken identity (ego) and refuses to change that habit.
At least we should recognize that we have a bad habit (whatever it may be). This is the first step. Next, we should see that the bad habit has been formed in the mind, and that it is the mind (which is basically an inert, subtle, material entity) that has the tendency to hold onto the habit. The conscious self (spirit self), through the power of self-awareness (ego) and intellect (Buddhi) sees the habit in the mind and may desire to remove it (realizing that this habit is a source of pain). The problem is, if the ego and mind are connected (in the sense that the mind is filled with ego), then it becomes very difficult to curb the habit because one identifies with it; in other words, the ego-infected mind becomes identified with the habit due to the presence of ego. Consequently, the flow of consciousness is hampered.
To stop this self-damnation, we must break the mind-ego connection. First this means we need to objectify our mind and ego both. Now, how can an ego-infected mind function properly so long as one’s behavior is dysfunctional? It cannot. In other words, the mind cannot be free of ego so long as one’s thoughts and actions are ego-centered. So, the only way to drop a bad habit is to just drop it! That is, we need to turn the self-will against the bad habit. Self-will is really ego-will; that’s why when we turn the self-will against the bad habit we are actually employing our ego to remove the habit from the mind, and in the process of doing so ego will begin to fight with itself (because it is also the ego which is holding onto the habit). Remember: mind and ego have the qualities of BOTH spirit and matter. We, the conscious human being, must invoke that higher force (Satoguna) to overpower our lower tendencies (rooted in Rajoguna and Tamoguna qualities of Nature.)
When we rise to the occasion and confront our own ego and shape our own mind, we become the artists of Life, and the more we go on refining our nature we will eventually see the majesty, incomparable beauty, and Light of Consciousness everywhere, all the time.
*Not to be confused with the Darwinian Theory of Evolution.