Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of:   March 5, 2001

Curbing a Habit

Ultimately our spiritual path leads us to freedom from all clinging, from attachments of all kinds. This does not necessarily mean giving up sweets or TV. But it does mean, in part, that no desire for a material pleasure is stronger than we are. For a better understanding of non-clinging, we can work against a habit for a limited period.

Choose one of your habits. Start with an easy one. If you begin by trying to break a strong addiction like smoking cigarettes, it may well prove too difficult. Instead, pick one of your simple, unnecessary habits like chewing gum, eating ice cream, watching TV, listening to radio, or another similar proclivity. For the coming week refrain altogether from indulging in that habit. Whenever you notice an urge to engage in the targeted activity, use that energy to work on sensing a limb or the whole of your body.Using your attention and intention, move the energy from the urge into your body, into awareness of your body. Let that energy enable you to inhabit your body more strongly.

If you should find yourself indulging in the habit, just begin abstaining from it again. If this happens often, then switch to working with a lesser habit.

Only do this for one week. After that allow yourself to return to the habit. The path toward liberation does not consist in stopping all our habits permanently, but does include strengthening, purifying, and understanding ourselves with respect to our habits. To rid ourselves of harmless habits would impoverish our life. But harmful habits are a different matter. In either case, we seek freedom.


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