Habitual Patterns

Many times I feel a bit unworthy to be writing in this blog.  I’m not a beginning practitioner or a novice Shambhalian but by no means am I anything close to what might be considered advanced. Most classes I attend are filled with students much further on the path. Maybe there is something about being in the middle that’s worthwhile.  I’ll tell myself that as I write the following.

I think about habitual patterns all the time. When this term is used it usually relates to negative habits. Drinking, drug use, laziness, shopping etc. It occurs to me however that there is very real danger in what might be considered positive habitual behaviors. It’s easy to see how an over-zealous gym rat might, through force of habit, spend more time at the gym than is beneficial. But what about some things that might be more subtle? It seems to me that even a habitual pattern of meditating could be harmful. It seems to me I should meditate because I have mindfully chosen to take my seat and begin my practice, not because over the years I have cultivated a habit where I wake up and find myself halfway through a session before I even realize I started.  When that thought occurred to me I was struck by the fact that habitual patterns, be they for ‘good’ traits or ‘bad’, are by definition the enemy of mindfulness. It then occurred to me that my life at this point is one big series of habitual patterns many of which I have actively and consciously tried to instill. So I have decided that once a day I will stop in the middle of one of my countless habits and do something different. In the middle of doing my end of day paperwork today, something that I mindlessly drudge through every evening, I stood and went to the window.  I took a breath and went back.  Will this be helpful?  I’ll let you know.  It kind of felt right though!

How will you be celebrating Winter Solstice this year?  Consider our community pot luck dinner and Children’s Day celebration on Dec 21st! Details on this site!!

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