How to Change One’s Habits?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJun 26, 2019
Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

The thing with change that one wants is that one does not want “the one” wanting to change. I am the one who first chose red or accepted it for whatever reason. Now, I want a change, I want yellow. So, something outside of myself is being sought to change, and in that what is it that I am preserving and continuing? Myself.

This is the matter with any and all change that the Mind desires. The mind would itself never want to change, the desirous entity would itself never want to change. It would want to change everything else. In fact, in changing something peripheral, something external, what subliminally continues is the entity that is restless and is hence forever eager to change.

There is red and yellow in front of me, and there is ‘me’. Which of these is restless? Red, yellow, or me? Who is the one that is not at ease with itself and hence wants a change? Does red want change? Does yellow want change? Who is crying for change? Where does the disease lie? s red or yellow sick? Who is sick? Who deserves to be changed — ‘red’, ‘yellow’ or ‘me’?

What do we end up changing red to yellow, yellow to red, both to violet and so on and so forth? And what is never changed? Myself. The whole matter of change arises because we are not settled, we are not relaxed, because there is something that is not right, something bothers, pricks, because there is something that does not appear alright. If everything is alright, do you want a change? So, yellow changes, red changes, but the unease, the feeling of dissatisfaction merrily continues. Not only that, the desiring entity boasts that it has tried and changed, but the change has not worked. So, the argument proceeds by saying that since this much of change has not worked hence I require more change.

All this is happening only in one dimension. And we never see that this superficial change will not help matters, in fact it is a great escape. Do you see the ways in which we seek change?

A lot of our cities themselves stands for change, tired of one’s urban schedule, one says one is going to a hill station to get a change. Change the city, change the mood, the music, the house, the wife, the color of the clothes, the religion, but never ever change the one who is desiring all this change. Protect him, because you are identified with him, because you think you are him, so let him continue. Let the unease, rather the dis-ease continue. Now how wise is that?

It’s important to understand that why does one want change in the first place? Because one is dissatisfied with the way one perceives himself, his situation to be. What is it that one ultimately wants by changing? What is the other point that one wants to reach by changing? That other point is a point of peace, contentment.

You are not satisfied right now, and you want a point where you would be contented, more relaxed and joyful. But what if one is identified with this entity that wants so much to change? I am the “restless one” — that is my statement of identification. So what happens when I get peace? I am “the restless one” who wants peace. Now, I do get peace. In peace, what happens to restlessness? It disappears. And remember, I am? Restlessness.

So in peace what happens to me? I am gone.

So, on the one hand I want peace, and on the other hand the more peaceful I get the more I disappear. If I am identified with restlessness, for ex. I might be identified with ambition, achievement, progress — and all of these are identifications of restlessness — you are attached to something, which is essentially telling you that you are incomplete and hence making you restless. If I am that one, then peace means my death. If I am the ambitious one, then relaxation means my death. In relaxation, where is ambition? In contentment where is the yearning for progress?

Now, that is man’s predicament. On one hand, he greatly wants peace, on the other hand he very well knows that peace is his dissolution. So he plays a game with himself, he tells himself that he striving for peace, displays to himself that he is striving genuinely for peace, however, internally he despises peace. Peace is what he wants, and peace is what he blocks.

The only real change is the dissolution of the changer.

You being what you are, any change that you desire, will only be an extension of the very thing that desires that is your own self. And your own self is the very dis-ease that is not happy with himself and wants to change. You want to extend this dis-ease by asking for change? The real change then, is to see the futility of all change.

The real change then, is to see that no desire (all desires are for change) suffices. It does not matter whether the desire is fulfilled or unfulfilled, one desire is always followed by the next. Desire carries in it, a promise of fulfilment, a promise that is never kept. It keeps making us false promises, giving us false hopes, and like fools we keep on buying those promises. We keep hoping that the next desire and its fulfillment will bring us contentment and peace. That contentment and peace never comes as a result of desiring. Desire can never give to us, what it promises to give us, change can never give to us what change promises to give us.

When one sees that, then that is real change. Then there is an internal stopping of all movement.

There is movement outside, which we call as the World, and then there is also great inner movement which we call as the Mind. Mind moves about in desires. When you see the futility of expecting too much from desires, then that inner movement stops getting energy. Now, you may still desire, but you will not burden desire with the hope of fulfillment. You know that desire can only give you very little.

Hence, the Mind would not be chasing the Ultimate through desires which brings the Mind to a particular stillness. That stillness, is the real change. That is the only change that would ever work. The very change in understanding of the self, in ‘self-definition’ — In knowing what one is, and who one is.

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