Here again, out of Thich Nhat Hanh’s little book:
Be Free Where You Are, we have his thoughts
on habit energy. I’ve been using his suggestions
below along with mindful breathing to move beyond
old habits and patterns of thought. It is very simple
to do, you can do it anywhere. Just smile at your habit
energy, thank it and then stay with the mindful breathing,
focusing at the point just one inch below the navel — until
you have gone past the point where you feel compelled to
be in the habit energy. I set this little book aside from all
my other books and put it on my dresser. It is one of the
smallest, simplest little guides to accessing your inner freedom.
Smile at Your Habit Energy
There is a strong energy in every one of us called habit energy.
Vasana is the sanskrit word for habit energy. Every one of us
has habit energies that push us to say and do things we don’t
want to say or do. These habit energies damage us and our
relationships to other people. Intellectually we know that saying
or doing a certain thing will cause a lot of suffering, and yet we
still say or do it. And once you say or do something, the damage
is done. Then you regret it. You beat your chest and pull your hair.
You say, “I am not going to say or do that thing again.” But though
you say this with sincerity, the next time the situation presents itself,
you say and do the same thing. This is the power of habit energy
that your parents and ancestors may have transmitted to you.
Mindful breathing can help you recognize habit energy when it
emerges. You don’t have to fight that energy; you only have to
recognize it as yours and smile at it. That is enough. “Hello
there my habit energy. I know you’re there, but you cannot do
anything to me.” You smile at it, and then you are free. This
is a wonderful protection. It is why I said mindfulness is the energy
of God, the energy of the Buddha protecting us.
~Thich Nhat Hanh: Be Free Where You Are