Guiding Light by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Habits and Vows

How to get rid of vasanas (impressions)? This is a question for all those who want to come out of habits. You want to get rid of habits because they give pain and restrict you. The nature of vasana is to bother you, or bind you, and wanting to be free is the nature of life. Life wants to be free and when a soul doesn't know how to be free, it wanders through lifetimes wanting freedom.

The way to come out of habits is vows. This is samyama. Everybody is endowed with a little samyama.

A vow should be time bound. This would bring good conduct and save you from being wayward. Consider the time and place for vows to be taken. When the mind dwells on useless thoughts, then two things happen. One is that all those old patterns come up and you feel discouraged by them. You blame yourself and feel that you have not made any progress.

The second thing is that you see it as an opportunity for samyama and feel happy about it. Without samyama, life will not be happy and diseases arise. For example, you know you should not eat three servings of ice cream, or eat ice cream every day, or otherwise you will get sick.

Habits will clog you when there is no liveliness or juice in life. When there is a direction for life force, you can rise above habits through samyama.

Take vows according to time and place. For example, suppose someone has a habit of smoking cigarettes and says, "I will quit smoking," but cannot do it. They can take a vow, three months or 90 days; a time-bound vow. If someone is used to cursing and swearing, take a vow not to use bad language for ten days. Don't take it for a lifetime; you will break it immediately. If you happen to break it in between, don't worry. Just begin again. Slowly increase the duration until it becomes your nature.

All those habits which bother you, bind them in vows, in samyama. So all those who are in Satsang, take a time-bound vow today and make a note of it. If you break a vow, make a note of it and again continue till the new vow is met. Tie those habits which bring you pain in samyama.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in