Welcome to episode 37 of the ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about bad habits and how to conquer them faster than you ever thought possible.
Today’s question comes from Jeffery. Jeffery says “I have been smoking and drinking for the past 14 years. I’ve tried to get rid of my bad habits but they keep coming back”
I really hear you Jeffery and I want to let you know that I can help you solve your problems very quickly. The first step is knowing that’s it a bad habit and you’ve already acknowledged that so you’re already on the way to ridding yourself of them.
I read a quote recently about habits and I thought it was great so I want to share it with you. It goes something like this. It takes years to form good habits and seconds to destroy them. It takes seconds to build bad habits but years to destroy them.
Yesterday I was travelling by cab from my office to my house and the driver was smoking. Before I got in the car the driver wanted to finish his cigarette and I said fine because I really had no other choice. As he started up the car he told me he had tried to stop smoking but that he just couldn’t stop. I told him something interesting.
The first thing I told him was to stop trying to conquer bad habits through self-effort. Don’t even try. A lot of research has been done in this area. If you have a habit for one week it can take one month to break. If you have it for 3 months it can take a year to break and if you have it for 1 year it can take 3 years to break. As you can imagine any habit you have had for 30 years or more can take a lifetime to break.
So you cannot conquer them through self-effort. If you try you will fail. Will power is nothing more than a myth. It just doesn’t work. Out of the millions of people that use willpower, very few will actually succeed.
Ask for help
I asked the driver if he prayed or went to church or a mosque. He told me he was a Buddhist and that he goes to a Shiva temple nearby. I told him the next time he goes that he should ask Shiva for help.
This is the next step. After you learn that self-effort will not work the next step is to ask for help. Talk to God. Tell him that you cannot get rid of this bad habit on your own. Tell him you need help. Remember, ask and you shall receive.
If you can’t go to a church or temple then you can meditate. Get in touch with your consciousness. Resign yourself to that higher power and ask it for help. When you do this things will start to get better because you’re not using self-effort and you are seeking help from a higher power. Remember, regardless of who you are when you switch on a light in a dark room it will come on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a saint or a murderer!
Most people think they are not eligible to surrender to a higher power because of guilt or fear but this verse from the Bhagavad Gita will help you. Due to its beginning-less and being unborn and having freedom from attributes the supreme self though dwelling in the body is untainted and does not work. Just as the all prevailing space due to its subtlety is not stained so also the Supreme self dwelling in the body is not stained.
The God within
Everyone has a god within. That god is not tainted regardless of what you do. You could be a murderer and it still will not be tainted. For example if we released poisonous gasses into this room the air will be tainted but the space itself will not.
Space is space less yet everything exists within it. Space is subtle. It cannot be tainted in spite of anything happening inside it. Remember that. Just as the all prevailing space due to its subtlety is not stained so also the Supreme self dwelling in the body is not stained. . The supreme self that dwells within cannot be tainted.
Your consciousness within cannot be tainted. Regardless of how you use your body or thoughts. If you get in touch with your consciousness you will attain freedom almost instantly. Ask for help and connect with the god within. It is a divine source that is untainted. It is free from bad habits. You will be able to carve a beautiful life for yourself.
Krishna says that “even if a man with a wicked nature worships me exclusively he is indeed worthy for his resolution is right.” Surrender to that higher source exclusively. Surrender with complete knowledge and devotion. You will then see huge benefits regardless of who you are. Remember your inner consciousness doesn’t care if you are good or bad or anywhere in between. It will not be effected.
If you keep using self- effort you’ll stop yourself from experiencing joy and freedom and you’ll be tormented by your mind, body and intellect. It’s the same for the good as well as the bad. Those who get in touch with their consciousness reap the benefits.
Krishna says “towards all beings I am the same. I hate none nor hold anyone dear. Those who worship me with devotion live in me and I am also in them”
So don’t try and conquer habits with self-effort. Ask god for help and remember that the god within remains untainted.
Connect to that source within and the doors to liberation will just open up for you. It will happen instantly.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.