As I was going through the book “Atomic Habits,” there was an example that shows how our daily habits are always running consciously and unconsciously in the background of our mind. If we have set a habit in motion and repeated it enough for a long time, we have no control over it as it has already reached our subconscious mind. It just comes as autopilot when we are acting unconsciously. What fascinated me more was habit is a double edge sword. The way I am treating others is the same way I am treating myself unconsciously. When I treat someone harshly or judge them, the pattern is activated and becomes stronger with repetition. When a similar situation arises with me, I would treat myself harshly and judge myself as the pattern is always running and doesn’t differentiate me.
I had just begun to study Buddhist text, and it emphasizes vows and percepts as a path to freedom from suffering. But I was very skeptical towards them, like what benefits me from not harming or hurting others. I had just looked at one of the effects of the vow. As mentioned earlier, when the vow is set on the motion and repeated enough times, I would be compassionate towards the world and myself. We have all heard the phrase “world, and we are one” with a habit. We can clearly see how a habit or pattern of treating another person becomes automatic in treating ourselves. So, it is both ways when we change the way we respond to other people; we have already changed the way we respond to ourselves.
I have always differentiated the task of office, family Dharma (teachings of Buddha) and always looked down upon the task of office as something unimportant and didn’t see any value. Similarly, the task of the family was performed with anger and resistance, which was without love and dedication and always trying to escape. On the other hand, Dharma was the utmost priority. So, I was willing to perform best in the practice of meditation and the instruction of my venerable Guru. But was not able to do as desired. It was all due to ever running habitual pattern in mind. If I escape the work of home, look down upon the task of office as well as family, the trait is running and becoming stronger with each repetition. When that habit runs for a large portion of the day, it has become stronger than willpower. So, whenever I sat for meditation, the habit of escaping, impatience and unwillingness overpowered me, and I was helpless. The habit doesn’t differentiate the task and its importance to me it just runs and runs endlessly. Likewise, the people who have a habit of being greedy about wealth don’t care about how much they have gathered so far. They want to pick more and more. And it’s just a habit running in the background!
So, now I am willing to perform every task, whether it’s of home, office, or study, it is as precious as Dharma practice with dedication and devotion, which will enforce these habitual tendencies in me. Then every work I perform all day would be a help for my Dharma practice.