Habits

To give up a habit, Krishnamurti says, one must observe it in details. Nothing is gained by willpower, for buried impulses only gather strength and, in time, erupt—inwardly or outwardly.

Let nothing about a habit escape notice, Krishnamurti instructs. Do you smoke? Then watch yourself open the pack of cigarettes; hear the scratch of the match; smell the sulfur, the con¬tact of flame with tobacco and paper; feel the smoke as you draw it into your lung, that light, pleasant sensation near your heart, like an emotion, only smaller and tighter.

Watch closely the exhaled smoke, now stale, spreading out under your nose. Feel your lips shaping the smoke into circles and observe how the circles disintegrate as they enlarge into the room. Notice how people react to your smoke with flared nostrils and dirty looks. 0bserve also yourself: how you are embarrassed to be seen as a person who smokes, an addict who leaves a trail of ashes behind, whose mouth would taste of cigarettes if kissed.

If you give a habit your entire attention, Krishnamurti says, it dissolves without further effort. Not only that: look unblinkingly at one habit, and you will see an inevitable link with a whole universe of other habits you possess—nail biting, masturbating, repeating the same old stories again and again, daydreaming your life away instead of living consciously.

To observe even one habit fully is to see all habits, and thus to end them. Habits are maintained because you choose not to see yourself. That is why you smoke. That is why you bite your nails. That is why you can’t stop talking.

 

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