Thought Bite: The Power of Habits

In his book, The Art of Joyful Living, Swami Rama tells a story to illustrate the power of habits. 

"Once I went to a police station to observe criminals, because the Deputy Inspector General was my disciple. I wanted to understand about the habit patterns of criminals, so when he interrogated criminals I went, but I didn't dress like a swami. I wore a suit, and went in and sat down quietly. Twelve convicts were imprisoned there, and he asked them, "You have been in jail four, five, or six times, so why are you here again?"

One said, "Sir, I know what I did is a bad thing. My crime is not a good thing; I don't like it, but, I am helpless. I have formed a habit and I just want to do it."

Another said, "I don't know what else to do. I only know how to steal. It's my habit. If I learn how to do anything better, perhaps I will not steal."

The third said, "I love to trick people! The truth is I love to trick people and I like to see how intelligent I am. I want to see how much I can steal from others, but I have not yet perfected the art, because I get arrested."

Everybody gave a different sort of explanation, but finally it all came down to one answer, and that is their habits. Habits can lead you either to jail or to heaven. That is why the Upanishads say, Manayiva manushyanam kara nama handa moksha ho. “It is mind that creates heaven and hell for you. These two concepts exist in the mind. Heaven is a concept of tranquility; hell is a concept of great distress. It is the mind that creates both."

So, take care regarding what habits you form. Also, know that destructive habits can be overcome and replaced by new, wholesome habits. 

The choice is yours.


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020