Habits or No Mind?

Observation 1:

There is a school of thought that, in order to live a fulfilled life, we humans just need to replace our bad habits with good habits and “BLAMMO” we are set for success. A pretty good introduction to this is The Book of Habit. His theory is our conscious mind does not determine how we live, rather it is our habits. And since we are driven by habits, we should find a way to harness them to our advantage. He shows how our behavior is usually determined by a simple stimulus-reaction- reward process and he proposes recognizing this and finding ways of accepting the stimulus but change the reaction and end up being rewarded with a more healthy or profitable reward. So a new beneficial habit replaces the tragic habit.

I see these poor lifestyle habits in myself, I can say I want to change something but I just can't seem to do it. Of course if someone has “good” habits they attribute their success to pure will power, but I don't buy it. At least not completely.

Observation 2:

Somewhere, some time, I read about an Aikido master who said something to the effect...”For the advanced Martial Artist getting rid of bad habits is easy, the difficult part is to eliminate GOOD habits”. Which if you know something about Aikido it makes sense. The idea is to use the most appropriate technique for the given situation. So even if you have a gift for koshi nage or iriminage and can usually make them work (especially at the dojo where uke is learning how to go with the flow ), those cool throws may not have actually been the most appropriate.

Observation 3:

I've been reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki...

A mind full of preconceived ideas, subjective intentions, or habits is not open to things as they are.

To be quite natural to ourselves, and also to follow what others say or do in the most appropriate way, is quite difficult....Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. Pg 88


Sooooooooooooooo....One thing is, what if some theoretical person is doing quite well with their good habits and is very successful . Does it matter if they are actually driven by really empowering results of societal behavioral modification? Or if they are very committed, satisfied self righteous jerks? Or even committed, self righteous non jerks. Point being, they are driven by habits and not by a free, unfettered mind.

If it works for them they would look at me and say I was the one living  a lie.

I think part of the answer, such as it is, is that most people simply never doubt themselves, the world, or anything. They have grown up accepting their worldview and that is pretty much it. But for some reason I just can't shake this gnawing felling that “the world” is simply not what we are told it is. And I seem to catch glimpses of “realness” in the oddest of places. In some random drawing, a photograph, a well executed irimi-nage, a shadow on the porch. Or a quiet half hour on a cushion.

But, maybe I am wrong on all counts and I am chasing my own shadow and foolishly asking it questions.


bloftin2 said...

Yeah, we are so limited. Evolved to exist at our own particular scale, with a limited range of senses, in an unimaginably large universe that is filled with indescribably small things. We're caught in the middle of the scale. Probably some other dimensions too, and maybe other universes.

ZeppoManx said...

"with a limited range of senses, in an unimaginably large universe that is filled with indescribably small things"

Yes. What he said!

I think that is the crux of the matter, and after that it is just exposition and interpretation.