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Day 16: Never Do Anything Out Of Habit

“So in the majority of other things, we address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit. Since all that I’ve said is the case, the person in training must seek to rise above, so as to stop seeking out pleasure and steering away from pain; to stop clinging to living and abhorring death; and in the case of property and money, to stop valuing receiving over giving.”

MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 6.25.5–11

This is the first time I am going through this book and if we don’t understand each meditation deeply, we might find it sometimes conflicting if only looked at the surface. Now in just the previous post, we discussed how peace is in staying the course and this post title asks us to do the contradiction. So, if we look at things on the surface level there might be a chance that we don’t grasp the deeper meaning of things.

What I gather from this mediation is that it is asking us to break our assumptions. I have discussed in detail in this post that how sometimes relying completely on our brain can lead us to form wrong perceptions and judgments. Habits are also seldom a deep-rooted reflection of our values and perceptions. For e.g.; I had this wretched habit of stalking people on social media. This habit of mine reflects a deep-rooted problem of insecurity in my life. Most of the time when I opened my phone to look for people I didn’t even used realize that I am stalking someone and this is coming from my insecurity and by doing it I was just adding more and more fuel to it.

As per the Wikipedia, the definition of habit is:

habit (or wont as a humorous and formal term) is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously

Habit is something that happens subconsciously. And over the period of time from an early age, our subconscious mind has been trained by so many factors, society, culture, parents, friends, school, media, and many other things. Being exposed at such a young age we don’t know or able to decide what we want to pick and what we want to reject. We become and get molded by the situations around us and this subconscious training sometimes forms some wretched habits.

Since these are the habits not picked by us and are not backed by our value system, it is important to keep questioning. Whenever you feel that you are doing something naturally without any effort, pause and introspect whether it is a habit formed in formative years and find out the values that are backing this habit of yours. It is important to keep questioning if you want to keep growing.

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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