How To Overcome Your Addictions: Less Discipline & More Awareness

If you are on the self development path, then you're probably constantly bombarded with the idea of discipline:

— Repress urges.
— Shut down addictions.
— Discipline yourself.

Resist. Repress. Tough love.

All of these are fancy words for repressing bad behavior. And despite the popularity of discipline, it actually doesn't work for most people. Those compulsions have to go somewhere. And for those CAN discipline themselves, it's a pretty rough path.


A Better Way: Observe Closely

A much better way over disciplining your actions, is to heighten your awareness and observe yourself around your impulses.

In other words, less discipline and more watching.

Let’s say you want to quit smoking. Rather than FORCE yourself to quit smoking, watch closely what goes on before / during/ after going for a cigarette:

— Watch what thoughts TRIGGER you wanting a cigarette.
— Observe what your ego/bodymind is PROMISING you from that cigarette.
— Observe the REALITY of what that cigarette actually gives you (or in most cases, DOESN'T give you) after the fact.

You can do this for any bad behavior. E.g. Internet addiction, porn addiction, laziness, procrastination etc.

If you get really clear and honest, you’ll uncover a LOT of bullshit going on around your addiction/behavior. You see stories that you’ve been buying into, that simply aren’t true. You’ll see false promises offered by your mind. You’ll see the uncomfortable feelings that you're trying to hide from.

Through this approach, you don’t repress bad behavior - rather you shine a light on the lies that you’ve been believing.

... And from that clarity comes right behavior.

From my own personal experience, I've noticed mini temper tantrums. I notice lies that my mind whispers that I’ve fallen for (YEARS, in many cases). I notice false promises that never actually come true.

You peel back the layers and watch the compulsion dissolve. (E.g. Try it next time you catch yourself biting your nails).


Two Spiritual Practices For This

Here are two powerful spiritual practices to replace discipline and help overcome unwanted behavior:


1) Watch Everything That is Happening Within You

The arguments of your mind. Your impulses. The stories your mind feeds you. You don’t need to change anything- rather the only “discipline” required here is to keep watching.


2) Feel Into Everything as Deeply as you Can. Then Feel Even Deeper.

Feel into what comes up. Then feel into that even deeper. Keep feeling deeper and deeper into the source of whatever comes up. Go to the root and hang out there.

Look inside your heart: And keep looking. Keep listening, too, until the sights and the sounds disappear by themselves.
— Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell Translation

Why does this work? Because this practice creates CONNECTION, which is what deep down you’re seeking from your addiction anyways. It drills deep into compulsive that is no longer serving you. It address the addiction/compulsion at its ROOT, rather than ignoring the root cause and attacking its final expression.

 

Are You Willing to Call BS on Your Addictions?

So in summary, rather than disciplining unwanted actions, discipline yourself to have heightened awareness and observation around them. Have the courage to call out the false stories surrounding them, and question whether they are even true.

Are you ready to look at the inner mechanics of your bad behavior?