May 22      

Today's quotation:

Habits have been given for your strengthening, but they cease to be purposeful when you become subservient to them.  No one is a master who is slave to his or her own inventions.

Alan Cohen

Today's Meditation:

I have a lot of habits, but I try to be aware of them.  Some of them are quite innocuous, like how I eat my breakfast in the morning-- that's not a habit that I have even the slightest desire to change.  Others are potentially worrisome in some ways.  For example, I try not to get into habits when I'm teaching, because if I do, I may not try anything new in class.  Some habits are quite positive-- I try to make it a habit to read positive, reflective works during certain times, and that helps me to keep a positive perspective and to feel good about life and living.

If I allow my habits to control me, then I face the possibility of losing control of my life-- and ironically, I would be losing it to myself, to the side of me that's willing to be complacent and to fall into ruts that don't help me to grow and change.  Rather, habits can keep me in exactly the same state for long periods of time, and while that may feel comfortable, comfort isn't what life is about if we want to become better versions of ourselves.  We need to stretch our wings and try new things if we're to continue to improve ourselves our entire lives long.

Sometimes it's difficult to recognize that I've even developed habits.  Do I treat my wife the same way all the time?  Do I have a habit of not taking her seriously, or of only half- listening when she's telling me something?  Do I have a habit of doing some jobs not very thoroughly because I don't see them as important, even though other people may see them as very important?  Have I developed a habit of reacting passively to news and events because I don't feel that I have any power to have any effect?

We tend to see habits as "good" or "bad."  There is more to it than that, of course-- there always is.  Are my habits helping me to be a better person, or are they keeping me in my current state, not allowing me to improve?  That's the question that I want to ask myself, because eventually I'll be looking back on my life and I don't want to say, "I never grew past that point because I allowed my habits to control me, instead of me controlling them."

Questions to consider:

What are some of your best habits?  Some of your least positive ones?

What are your major criteria for wanting to maintain certain habits?  For wanting to leave them behind?

Why do so many people tend to be caught up in so many habits?

For further thought:

Your habits can be your friends or your enemies; they can help you or hurt you.

Maxwell Martz

more on habit



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