Letting go of Habits

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I was watching “The Dog Whisperer” the other day, where Cesar Millan mentioned something quite interesting. The dog, whose behavior Cesar Millan was changing, had this obsession with chasing after shiny reflections and light. The dog’s owners thought their beloved family dog had gone crazy.



The reason Cesar Millan gave for the dog’s behavior was that this dog was constantly seeking to be in the state of control, and somehow chasing after shiny reflections gave the dog the mental state of being in control. Thus whenever this dog was feeling nervous, it will habitually look out for shiny reflections and chase after them.


Or at least this is what I make it out to be from the show.


We tend to do things which give us the sense of satisfaction. We often fall back on certain habits and routines that reinforce a certain part of what we valued. It could be that we need to be constantly reassured of our own identity, values, beliefs or even the sense of being in the present.


As with all things, this could be helping us, or harming us.


There was a time I noticed a certain feeling, or sensation, when I practiced my Taiji routine. I associated that feeling with practicing the routine correctly. Thus for a period of time, my Taiji routine was skewed towards this certain direction. The initial result was that I made vast improvement in that particular aspect of Taiji, but towards the end I focused so much on getting the sensation that I lost touch with the other aspects of my Taiji practice. I lost my balance, and gave in to obsession. If I did not get enough of that sensation after my practice, I would felt that I did not practice correctly.


Perhaps that is why we often have to learn, unlearn and re-learn in our long Taiji journey. If we were to take a step back from our habits and routines, take a good look at ourselves from another angle, we could reassess ourselves better. Habits we picked up along the way could be good habits at that particular time, but at a different stage of our Taiji journey, they could actually be holding us back from progressing.


I have read of a Taiji teacher telling his students that we do not seek affirmation from our practice; we let the results come to us. This way we will be able to maintain our mental balance, which is important to our Taiji progress.

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