Ways to overcome bad Habits

Bangalore ashram,  10th Jan 2011

Q : ‘What you resist persists’- this knowledge point continues to puzzle me. Specifically, I wonder, should the smokers surrender to the next cigarette? Should the sick person surrender to the uncontrolled coughing and the tempted one surrender to the temptations?  How can I better understand the certainty of this? Can you please explain this unique knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you resist to smoke a cigarette, it persists and how to get over it, is that what you are asking? Well, you realize that the joy of smoking is not so much than the joy of not smoking- when you find that beyond smoking is a greater joy.
See what does the mind do? It just wants to go where we get some pleasure and joy. In search of pleasure it is trying to find where it is not there and so it gets addicted to certain habits. Habits don’t give you any pleasure but give only pain. As soon as the mind realizes this, it is very easy for it to get over any habit.
So there are three things to get over any habit –
Your intellect warns you that the habits are not good for you but the temptation of wanting is there in the mind. So which should win, your intellect or your mind or emotions? When you get more love and joy without habits, then the habits fall off. That’s what happens when people do sudarshan kriya and get so much more happiness. The urge of smoking or any other bad habit drops off with kriya, meditation.
Second thing that will help is,  greed. If some one tells you- if you don’t smoke for three months, you will win  a lottery, then the mind says- I don’t want to touch a cigarette for I don’t want to lose the lottery. So the greed works.
Third thing that will help you to overcome the habit is fear. If you are told that if you keep on drinking then it will give liver problem and you won’t survive, then the fear of getting some disease or getting into some trouble would shake you and will get you over the temptation of small pleasures.
Many people, who used to be promiscuous, stopped  being that when they heard about the disease AIDS. The fear of getting AIDS kept them more faithful to their spouses.
So love, greed and fear are the three things that would help you to resist those things which gives temptation and tempt you more.

Q:  In Yoga Vashishtha, Ma Saraswati takes Ram to different planes of existence and he shows leelas by living different lives simultaneously. And in each life leela is not aware of the other leelas. 
I was just wondering , are we also existing on different levels of existence, that we are unaware of, something similar to that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ya, ya! Definitely, there are so many layers of our consciousness- it is so amazing! There is a dream stage and different levels in the dream stage. And there are different layers in the  reality stage, right here! But it is better that you don’t get introduced to all the levels unless and until your spirit becomes very strong. This is very important.
That’s what happens to people, who are mentally imbalanced, that they get the taste of other dimensions as well as this present dimension. They lose the interest in this dimension and think the other dimensions are more charming. There used to be an elderly lady here from Turkey and she would suddenly see things. She was under medication at that time but refused the medication because it made her feel very dull. Without medication she would hallucinate and have all these ideas like the truck  pulling with her energy. She felt she was so powerful that she could do anything. All such things, no doubt, as  the consciousness of levels are  very powerful but one loses the touch with the present reality. So that lady would say- I feel so dull here, every thing is so boring, the other world is so fantastic! But when she started living in the other world, people in this plane had difficulty to deal with her!
So. Unless and until you are so centered, your mind gets established,  knowing the realms of reality is not warranted. That’s why Sararswati, the goddess of knowledge takes him by hand. Saraswati is the wisdom consciousness, it does not lose any levels of consciousness and keeps the demarcation very clear. People who are bipolar have this trouble, they suddenly see somebody or some vision and start talking, it appears so real to them. They see someone there in front of them and keep talking to them, but  from your side you see nobody.  These are the different planes of existence. So unless and until the consciousness gets well founded in wisdom, to distinguish between one layer of reality with other layers-this knowledge does not dawn at all.

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation