Habits of Ignorance

Habits of Ignorance

The mind is a habit machine. That’s how we learn to ride a bike, drive a car, and read. But it’s also how we respond automatically and inappropriately to some circumstances. Like learning to spell certain words wrong. Or reacting negatively to someones presence, irrespective of circumstance.

Some cats have an uncanny tendency to associate certain experiences with food and thus set themselves up to repeat them. Like positioning themselves to be bumped by the fridge door or get under foot at mealtime. The ego is rather the same way. It is constructed of habit mind so tends to like to repeat things, even things that don’t serve us.

After awakening, some of those old habits of mind can still be around, even with the core ego released. It may sometimes seem like the ego is back.

The Brahma Sutras are an ancient text that discusses post-waking. In another discussion, it was observed that they suggest old habits of mind can be removed by enjoying them.

This is similar to the idea of forgiveness – letting go of resistance to our emotional baggage to allow them to resolve. But in this case, we are seeing mental garbage arise to the neutral witness.

While it varies, the mind stuff tends to be subtler. There may be no emotional flag. It is simply a thought-form like any other thought. But it stands in resistance so can be recognized by its effects. Perhaps even its “tone”.

When the old junk comes up, we may at first be annoyed or frustrated. But when the silence is deep enough, we settle into bliss. Then habits of limited thinking can be more amusing. Without the resistance there, they can be released as they’re no longer taken seriously.

Some teachers, like Robert Scheinfeld, talk of life being a game. Treat it like an amusement park and it’s not only more fun, one can make easier progress.

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  1. Pingback: Bad Habits? « In 2 Deep

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