Friday, July 14, 2006


I'm not any kind of expert at dealing with addiction. But I think changing habits must be a similar thing, when there's some kind of addiction of the mind ~ of the heart. When a habit is so deeply ingrained that you can hardly remember yourself as separate from it, transformation requires that level of attention.

I'm thinking it requires staying absolutely present with yourself. Keeing constant company with your own thoughts so that they don't drag back into old habit - staying awake and alert to every nuance of what's happening, to see triggers and patterns. Exhausting and consuming work really, but a requirement for laying the foundation of something new. And it requires attention to detail on a miniscule level.

In Boston, the major highway system was replaced by tunnels that run under the Boston Bay Harbor. This project was called the Big Dig, and began in 1991, and was just completed a couple of years ago. The new tunnel system has been beset by problems ranging from inferior grade cement to actual leaks in the tunnel. Sadly, the other day, a tie back holding huge concrete slabs broke, and a woman was killed in her car in the tunnel. The level of bad work gets scarier and scarier to Bostonians who ride these tunnels everyday and depend on them. This death is being treated as a crime.

I mention this just to say that when the care and quality of work at the foundation is ignored, everything built on it is compromised. So in trying to change a habit - overcome a mental addiction of sorts - nothing can be ignored, overlooked or disregarded. Attention must be paid to every detail to ensure that the result will be congruent with the foundation, with the intention, with the destination.

There are no big leaps with this kind of change. The progress moves forward in teeny tiny increments, leaving one small thing behind as the head and heart and hands grasp onto something new. Grand proclamations of change are meaningless against the backdrop of ordinary life, where the tests emerge again and again. And the tests are not designed so that you fail. They are just there to show you where more work is needed, where there is skill and strength, and where additional effort is required.

And if you're serious about this change, then you welcome the tests and every bit if understanding they illuminate for you. Because you're not doing this to prove something to someone else. You're really learning about the self and a certain kind of mastery that requires absolute truth and awareness.

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