Overcoming Past Bad Habits


Even though I’ve committed to the path of Yogananda for 9 years, I find old habits stealing away my time that could be devoted to longer meditation. I was willing to renounce them easily in the beginning but now they have somehow subtly worked their way back into my life. I feel like I am like the Pandava brothers when they kept agreeing to gamble with Shakuni! Will this pass if I just keep on trying my best to meditate and serve Guruji’s work?

—Devine, USA


To put this in perspective — I remember Swami Kriyananda once said that he always had a lot of respect for anyone that continued to remain committed to the spiritual path as the years go by. Why? It’s because life is always going to be a test that includes our past karma, as well as the karma from our present day choices. To remain firm and steady on our spiritual journey, no matter what challenges we face, is a tremendous blessing.

One way to deal with those pesky habits is to start shifting the energy, even if it’s in small increments, to a more uplifting consciousness, even in the midst of what seems like a backward slip. Take for example the attraction toward watching movies – go ahead and enjoy the experience but feel the divine with you as you do so. You might even want to take a moment to do some deep breathing, and even briefly meditate, before watching the film. Then check in with yourself every so often so you’re not so engrossed that you lose your center.

In The Essence of Self-Realization there’s a wonderful quote from Paramhansa Yogananda: “A good rule to follow in life is to be ‘other’-minded. No matter what you behold, try to be conscious of that ‘other’, greater reality behind what you are beholding. Ask yourself, ‘What is God trying to teach me through this experience?’”

The best solution is what you, yourself, mentioned in your last question. By meditating faithfully and regularly, along with devotion and selfless service to God and Guru, you will indeed be transformed and freed from all past desires and attachments.

Blessings on your journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba