Once we have established a basic meditative disposition, as it were, towards daily life, we can be more pro-active; we can take the offensive; we can search for techniques which will enhance our lives the more.
The first thing we can do is to tackle the ‘tough nut’. We all have habits or personality traits we would dearly love to lose. It could be a strong habit such as smoking, or a social nuisance such as a loud voice or a habit of always opinionating. The first thing to do is make the resolution to change. Then we need to use our self-observation techniques. (Here a diary is very useful in order to observe when, where and with whom the habit is likely to occur.)
As we get to know when the habit occurs, we can form strategies — firstly so that we are not overcome by it and secondly so that we can undermine its hold on us. My father used to be a heavy smoker, forty cigarettes a day and the full-blooded, thick tar stuff. He also used to sing in a choir, but had to stop because of continual sore throats. The doctor even then — this is fifty years ago, mind! — advised him to stop smoking if he wanted a long singing life. He did. And he hit the habit where it hurt most. The one cigarette most difficult to abandon was the one after lunch when he would sit and relax, and perhaps doze. He decided that instead of getting irritable with others, he’d take it out on the piano. Not only has he never smoked since, but he has become a dab hand at the piano. (more…)
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