In this episode of Living with Reality, Dr. Robert Svoboda speaks to the importance of being aware of our habits and developing healthy rituals.
We begin by discussing language and the etymology of the words habit and routine. The root of ‘habit’ comes from a Latin word that means to have, hold, and consider. Habits can be created unconsciously and not necessarily benefit us. A profound spiritual practice is to study and identify what kind of habits you have. We must consider our habits because then we can determine which habits are not useful and break them up. Dr. Svoboda says that if we can learn to break our negative habits, we can then learn to act instead of react. We want to keep the habits that are useful and positive to us. Positive habits give our minds and bodies something to rely upon.
“Take advantage of routines, rituals, and habits. Don’t let them take advantage of you” – Dr. Svoboda
Living Consciously (10:05)
Dr. Svoboda says that one of the dangers of habits, even when they are useful, is that we can become too reliant on them. For example, if we have a habit of driving to the same park to meditate every morning, we may go into muscle memory of the drive and not pay attention. We may start to let our minds wander or look at our phones and then get into an accident. An important element of Ayurveda is always being conscious. If we stay conscious, we will stay aware of when something is serving us and when it is not.
“When you are conscious of what you are doing and when you are conscious of how you are doing it, then it is going to be feasible for you to be able to detect what kind of changes may be happening inside your organism as a result of the things you are doing and to detect when your organism has decided that it needs to change things around.” – Dr. Svoboda
For tips on staying conscious check out Ep. 41 of Healing at the Edge: Cultivating Pure Awareness
Developing Rituals (22:40)
A ritual differs from a habit in that it is meant for worship. The ritual may not inherently be religious or may only have ritual meaning to an individual. It is simply the devotion to or worship of something on a regular basis. If a ritual does not have our full attention, it loses it’s meaning. As we go deeper into a ritual and develop our focus, we will be naturally pulled in the direction we want to go.
“All of these different structures that we create for ourselves can be valuable structures so long as we are maintaining our awareness of them.” – Dr. Svoboda