Jump to the following topics:
- What is a habit?
- The benefits which we gain from habits.
- Techniques for creating, altering, or eliminating particular habits.
What is a habit? It is a pattern of behavior which we have learned. (The definition differentiates habits from "instincts," which were acquired without learning.) Habits exist in the various realms of our life: physical (as a repeated action), mental (as a way of thinking), and emotional (as a tendency to respond with the same emotion when a situation recurs).
The benefits which we gain from habits. The mind is continually challenged to deal with unique situations (each of which contains an infinite number of factors); this challenge is enormous, requiring an improvisation with each dynamic factor which is present. To simplify the processing of this data, the mind asks itself "how do I usually respond in this circumstance?" -- and it finds the answer by referring to the existing elements in the archetypal field which corresponds to the situation. (Those "elements" are the records of thoughts, images, energy tones, and behavioral patterns which we created in previous encounters with this archetype.) Then the mind uses those elements as a "template" upon which to formulate a response; in addition to those elements, it creates new thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions to adapt the response to this particular circumstance. Thus, habits make our lives simpler; they are shortcuts in our behavior, letting us perform acts automatically, with little or no thought. Without habits, we would be burdened by trivial decisions; for example, if we did not have habits in eating, we would be overwhelmed by the choices at a supermarket. When we can do actions without much thought, we are free to direct our attention toward new challenges and information. Ultimately, however, habits are merely "defaults," which the mind uses when it is not being guided by intuition; the mind employs habits to simplify the processing of information because it is incapable of processing that quantity of information. In contrast, intuition is capable of perceiving and processing all dynamics -- all information -- and delivering a simple, yet exquisitely refined, executable plan to the mind. We might imagine a state in which we are not semi-conscious, habit-driven creatures and instead we are fully conscious and intuitive -- responding directly to the unique dynamics of each situation -- but that state is only a distant goal for nearly all of us; in the meantime, we perform archetypal field-work to create the habits which will serve as the most-effective defaults when we are in the non-intuitive "automatic pilot" mode of habitual action.
Techniques for creating, altering, or eliminating particular habits.
- Archetypal field-work. Our habits are based in the a-field elements which remain from previous encounters with archetypes; thus, archetypal field-work is a direct means for changing our habits -- physical, mental, and emotional.
- Self-talk. For example: "I am free to change every aspect of my life." "I enjoy being creative in all situations." "I can do things in a new way." "I am spontaneous." (In addition to these general statements regarding habits, we can repeat statements which affirm the particular new habits which we want to create.)
- Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves performing the action which we want to develop into a habit.
- Energy toning. To confront familiar archetypal situations with a fresh, intuitive perspective, we can cultivate various energy tones: enthusiasm, playfulness, courage, adventurousness, etc. In an approach which has been used by behavioral psychologists, we are associating "pleasure" with the new behavior; while we implant the new thoughts, images, and actions, we dwell on the pleasure -- physical, mental, and emotional. (Some people perform a complimentary form of therapy -- associating the unwanted habit with displeasure; however, this action can actually reinforce the unwanted habit, because the therapy requires us to focus on that unwanted habit, thus generating additional thoughts and images regarding it.)
- The "as if" principle. We perform the physical behaviors which we want to develop into habits. And we perform the supporting behaviors; for example, if we want to create a habit of a cigarette-free life, we use the as-if principle to live in a home which does not have cigarettes, and we also act "as if" we are a person who does not go into situations where we tend to smoke (e.g., bars, particular friends' homes, etc.).
- Intuition can suggest the thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions which would be most appropriate in each archetypal encounter. These elements will linger in the a-field as a default "habit" for our next archetypal encounter. Ideally, we will be guided by intuition in that next encounter (such that we will not use the default at all); however, if we do revert to this default, it is likely to be more effective than any elements which would have been created in a non-intuitive state.
- Intuition can help us to resolve the charge of unresolved a-field elements. Every archetypal encounter (i.e., every real-life situation) has a particular dynamic; if we respond intuitively, we resolve that dynamic; i.e., we give what is meant to given, and we receive what is meant to be received, and we say what is meant to be said, etc. If we do not respond intuitively (and instead we respond with a default, e.g., a habit), our response is not entirely accurate, and so we do not fully resolve the dynamic, and the individual elements do not discharge; thus, the inappropriate elements retain their charge while they linger in the archetypal field until the next encounter (when their energy compels us to act in such a way that we will resolve that charge). This compulsion is a type of habit; we are compelled to act in that manner, repeatedly, until that energy is released. In contrast, if we had acted intuitively, the elements would have discharged during the original encounter, and they would have remained merely as "references" rather than as charged forces which demand expression.
- Intuition provides our goal in our study of habits. The goal is to be fully intuitive so that we can create a unique response (in contrast to the stereotyped response which would be generated by habit); our habits are still there, but we "override" them.
- We increase the critical mass of the constellations which form the basis of our new habits. When the mind is selecting a response to an archetypal situation, it tends to select the constellation which has the most elements (or the most highly charged elements). In archetypal field-work, we intentionally increase the critical mass of particular constellations which are most-likely to effective in future encounters with particular archetypes.
- We enhance our awareness of intuition. Our intuition overrides all habits -- both the new ones and the old ones.
- We increase our ability to manage stress and change. When we are overwhelmed by stress and change, we tend to revert to automatic habitual behavior, in an attempt to gain stability, and to reduce the mental challenges. This is a necessary protective action when we are overly stressed -- but it is not needed if we are dealing effectively with the challenges.