The Impact of Habits on Our Evolution
[00:45] Who Am I? What Am I?
Jai Guru Deva. Welcome to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles. Today I’m going to talk about the subject of habit. And this is, in a way, promotional of my new course on the subject of habit, which you will see appearing in email form invitationally, and also on my website.
The biggest thing about habit is the habit of identifying oneself merely as the human being who grew up in a particular body who came from a particular place. That idea, that, when I think about myself, “Who am I? What am I?” I can go back in my memory, go back, go back, go back, and depending on who I am, and what the history of the body is, I can retrieve memories from perhaps my single-digit years.
Maybe going back, some people can go all the way back to being 18 months old. It’s very rare, but can do so. Others can only go back to being two and a half. Others can go back to being three or four. But things start getting pretty dim when you go back that far in your memory. A little bit vague, some vague impressions, some vague memories and so on.
And then, one’s history begins to grow, and then “Who am I? What am I? I am whatever this is that is doing this remembering. And what am I remembering about? I’m remembering about the history of a body. And the body went here. The body went there.”
[02:43] Your Habits Shape Your Reality
The consciousness that was sitting inside the body was taken to school, perhaps, if schooling was part of your upbringing. And the body then graduated from that, and graduated from that, and so on and so forth. The consciousness went for a ride in a body.
And then, as the consciousness grew and I became more and more aware of different things, and also my body, my physiology grew, and the demands that it was making on my consciousness made me have different kinds of consciousness realizations.
Body, mind, mind, body. “I am a body with a mind. I’m a mind with a body. That’s what I am. This is my habit of thinking about myself.” And whatever it was, whatever it is that you thought about yourself, whatever it is you thought yourself to be, what entity are you?
Even one year ago, that was different to today. Two years ago, different to one year ago. Three years ago, different to two years ago. And so, our self-reckoning about what we are is constantly going through change.
Having examined this, we have to look at what is our habit of self-identification. What is my habit of what it is I consider myself to be? When I’m considering what I want, what I need, what I’m doing, what I’ve done, what am I actually? What’s my habit of understanding this?
And based on whatever that habit may be, my behavior is either going to be more evolutionary or less evolutionary. And naturally, we want the most evolutionary behavior. Most evolutionary, what does it mean? Let’s really define terms here.
[04:53] The Big Bang
Evolution means the movement of our inner capability from a less sophisticated capability to a more sophisticated capability. I’m wearing a watch, a wristwatch, right now. And if I were to take it apart and scatter the 3000 parts over a table and take a picture of that. And if I didn’t know, if I didn’t record carefully how it came apart, I would have 3000 parts all laying across the table.
And what is that? It’s a scattered bunch of little wheels and gears and springs and hands and all sorts of things that, if they were put back together again with a sequential elaboration that was well designed, it could turn back into a wristwatch again.
And so what is the process of sequential elaboration that takes all of the parts, the disparate parts of the exploded creation?
Big Bang come. Boom! And out come all of the gasses and the different elements and their relationship with space, and the curvature of space, which we call gravitation, and the way in which they heat up and cool down with reference to each, eventually creating stars.
And around some of those stars, the conglomeration of big rocks that we call planets, some of which have the great good fortune of having liquid water on them. Liquid water can only exist in a very narrow temperature range, a little bit too warm, and it turns into steam. Not very useful for life, in fact, anti-life. A little bit too cold, and it turns into a solid called ice. But inside of a very narrow temperature band, water is liquid and can flow and is very helpful to life.
[07:17] Evolution is Inexorable
Water, oxygen, nitrogen, certain proteins, carbons all coming together, and certain atoms make the jump into being non-sentient, non-reproducing molecules, into being sentient, thinking, reproducing molecules.
And then, over a period of what seems to us as humans to be a long time, but from the geological perspective, just a wink of the eye, suddenly we end up with upright, neuro-centric anthropods.
Human beings who have these big brains encased inside of cranium that can walk around on two feet, that keep the brain away from all the bushes and the rocks. And we can sit around playing chess and having big debates about economics and who has politics right or who doesn’t.
And so there we are. Here we are. What are you? What is your habit of thinking about what you are? And based on whatever that habit is, you’re either going to live a life of ever-increasing speed of growth, of sophistication, and elegance of thinking and capability, or you will evolve at a lower speed.
Evolution itself is inexorable. That means it can’t be changed, and it’s uncompromising. That you are evolving is not ever a question. The question is, speed of evolution. At what speed are you evolving? Those of you who feel high and mighty, and feel as though you’ve always been rather a superior being compared with other people don’t have as good a memory as perhaps other people have.
[09:15] This Entity I Call Myself
And from the Vedic perspective, this is not the only life that we’ve led. Our consciousness moves from body to body, as one body becomes too old or not seaworthy and starts to lose its capacity to be a good carrier of the consciousness. As the body drops away, the consciousness will adopt a new body and then grow through that next body.
Generation after generation, one continues evolving. And what it is that’s evolving is the sense of self, the sense of, “What is this entity I call myself?”
Now we’re getting right down to habit. What is the habit that you have with regard to considering what you are? Not just who you are. Because the who has to do with where your body went.
“Body was here. Body was there. I stayed with Auntie for a little while. Then I visited my grandparents and I went to school and body did this. Body did that. Body got malaria when I went to Burma. I recovered from the malaria. All well and good. Now there’s this. Now there’s that.
“Now I make my living by making sure that trains stay on the train tracks and don’t fall off the tracks. And this is what I am, a railroad engineer.”
What are you actually? You are a consciousness living inside of a 70 trillion cell body. Not one of those 70-trillion cells is more than seven years old. This is a very interesting consideration. Consciousness continues to be, but the body in which we’re living is a flow of flux, like a river.
[11:09] You Can’t Step Into the Same Body Twice
It was Heraclitus who said that you cannot step into the same river twice because new water is always flowing through. And so, like that, you can’t step into the same body twice, because your skin cells change every month. Your fascia cells change every three years. Your muscles cell cells change over every five years.
It’s the bones, and we’ve skipped over a few things intentionally, but it’s the bones that last the longest. The bone cells change over about once every seven years. You have items sitting around in your closet that are older than any cell that you have right now in your body today.
And so this body is a flow. You think you’re a body. Think again. It’s a river of energy and intelligence. And the body that you’re sitting in right now is also a product. It’s a product of whatever you’ve been thinking about yourself and who you are, and what you are and what the world is.
If you have sad thoughts because somehow you think your body and the mind that’s trapped in it don’t have as many options as you would like to have, so you’re sad about that, then right away, that consciousness will conceive a sad body. That consciousness will construct a sad body. That consciousness will govern a sad body. That consciousness will print itself out as a sad body.
[12:47] Your Thoughts Shape Your Physical Self
If your consciousness changes its mind about what your options in life are, your possibilities, and then you go from being sad to being a little frightened because new possibilities await you, then your anxious consciousness will, within seconds, print out a different body.
Your consciousness will conceive an anxious body. It’ll construct an anxious body. It will govern an anxious body. Your consciousness will print itself out as an anxious body.
So if you think you’re a body, think again. The body is merely the printout of whatever it is that you are at a given time.
“I am sad” – sad body. “I am anxious” – fear body. “I am anger, because I’m convinced that other people or other phenomena are dictating my experience, and I’m not able to dictate my own experience. Ooh, angry, angry.” Anger body.
So what is it that you are at any given time? To what extent is it possible for you to change your habit about your sense, your fundamental sense of what you are?
How habituated are you in thinking about yourself as merely a body? That body, which in fact you’ve conceived and constructed, which you’ve governed and become. Your own consciousness has produced the whole thing.
[14:36] The Fundamental Aspect of Habituation
Now, when we start to look at habit, we have to find the fundamental one, most fundamental, aspect of habituation.
What is the worst bad habit? The worst bad habit is the habit of thinking about yourself merely as an individual body that happened to be born on the earth at a particular time, and with a mind hitchhiking in the body that is subject to all kinds of forces, some of which were within your control, and some of which were outside your control.
All of these attitudes that I’ve just mentioned are a mistake. What does a mistake mean? A mistake, but it’s a mis-take. It’s the wrong take on what you are. We need to develop a new habit based on a new experience.
“I have the experience of, I am one indivisible whole consciousness field.” This is the experience upon emerging from transcendence. Transcendence means, in Vedic Meditation, we take the awareness to subtler and subtler and subtler activity levels until we transcend the subtlest.
[16:02] A Very Positive Change
Transcend means to step beyond. We step beyond the least excited consciousness state, and experience oneness with the state of Being. That state of Being is, in fact, the one indivisible, whole consciousness field, which we like to call the Unified Field of Consciousness.
And that Unified Field of Consciousness imprints itself on your ego structure every time you experience it during Vedic Meditation, which properly should be twice every day, in the morning before starting the day’s activity, and sometime late afternoon or early evening, before commencing the evening’s activity.
We take pause, and we sit for at least 20 minutes, close our eyes and settle down into that transcendental — transcendental means that which is beyond, beyond the obvious — settle into that transcendental identity.
Coming out from there, having done this twice every day, strategically, systematically, then our inner sense of what we are begins naturally to go through change, and that change is a very positive change.
[17:22] The Habit of Identifying Oneself Correctly
This is the fundamental change of habituation, the change of habit that changes all other habits and brings good habitations into daily life. The good dependencies, the things upon which we should be dependent. Good water, good food, good nutrients, good ways of relating. We should be dependent on these things. Not all dependencies are bad. There are good dependencies and bad dependencies. And we turn those good dependencies into our new habit base.
But this is all fundamentally based upon the habit, the correct habit of identifying oneself correctly.
“My individuality evidently is cosmic. My individuality has a narrow, applicable end, like a funnel, the narrow end of the funnel, and has this wide catchment end, the Unified Field side of my inner truth.
“My inner truth of what I am has two aspects, being the wide end of the funnel, the Unified Field catchment, and the narrow into the funnel, individuality. And what is happening at any given time is that my Universality is funneling itself into my individuality, guiding me in the process of evolution.”
This needs to be the new habit. And based on that, we can look at all other habits and see how they go through flux, through change as a result of the impact of changing that one habituation. “What am I?”
If you’re fascinated by this subject matter, please go to my website, and get yourself registered for my new course on the subject of habits. You’ll find it very, very fulfilling.
If you’d like to find out more about Thom’s course – Enlightened Habits, please visit thomknoles.com/habits-course/.