A lot of people struggle with turbulent emotions and addictive behavior. They spend years in psychotherapy and at times they are able to overcome addictive habits through will power, only to have a recurrence and go back to old ways. From my experience, and also through observation of many people , I have discovered that a lasting change from unwanted behavior can be achieved through the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been interpreted as many things. My view of it is that it is remembering to bring your awareness to the present moment without getting emotionally or mentally engaged in the situations and circumstances surrounding that moment. When we do this we get the insight that most of our turbulent emotions and addictive behaviors are conditioned responses in our nervous system, which have been programmed during our childhood and growing years.

For some people, bringing their awareness to the present moment seems like an abstract or confusing instruction. In fact, it is quite simple. You can come to the present moment by shifting your awareness to your breath, or you can bring your awareness to the sensations in your body. Others may find it easier to let their attention rest in the space between objects. This can be the space between breaths, or the space between movements. Once you find the method of mindfulness that suits you best, it becomes easy to access your silent presence.
For many years I would periodically take a few days of absolute silence. During these periods after the initial adjustment of not engaging in conversation, not reading a book, not watching TV, or going even on a computer, I found I would then slip into a profound silence which allowed me to experience something that cannot be described. I was bathed in mystery and felt that I was inside God’s mind. These days when I’m on a long trip on an airline, say 17 hours from India to the US, I will practice total silence with my eyes closed during the entire time. It will frequently bring me into the same exquisite realm of silence or mindfulness.
As a result of this “vipassana” practice there is spontaneous awakening of intuition and conscious choice making. It’s like taking a spiritual bath and renewing yourself. Old habits and behaviors die hard, but silence and witnessing awareness are definitely a means of stepping out of river of memory and conditioning and seeing the world again as if for the first time.
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