My writing fingers seem to have become somewhat rusty. Simply getting out of the habit of writing every day means the words do not come so easily. And I know that, with repeated effort, the writing habit will come back again. This is just the way of things. So even if it feels like ‘pulling teeth’ to sit here and type I’ll continue because it seems ‘good’ to do. Hay ho.
In life effort/energy is applied and gradually a habit is (re)formed. Obviously for Preceptual reasons one has to be really mindful about how and where one devotes ones efforts. As one of the seniors often says, ‘It’s important to do the right thing, for the right reasons’. There is much to be said on this whole subject of habit energy. That will have to come on another day though.
I’ve been contemplating habits and how repartition strengthens their energy, which in turn can lead to a hard-wired habit, hard to break. For example, as a child and young adult, my very first thought on waking was, ‘What have a got to dread to-day’? Usually it would be some event at school, the school nurse visiting, an exam. And often in the calculation would be the dentist, how many days left before my next dentist appointment. Fear and dread of the dentist, because what he did hurt. He must have dreaded me coming and I visited frequently too.
This morning, as Nicola lowered me in the chair for a closer look, there was no fear and thankfully no, ‘Ooopeeeen Wiiiiide’! That dentists catch phrase destined to make me clench my jaw tighter. And thankfully no pulling of teeth needed either, just a couple of ‘restorations’. Everything is so much kinder and more gentle than I ever remember it being, back in the bad old days of fillings, drillings and that huge needle advancing over ones right shoulder.
What finally got me out of my thought habit on waking was the wake-up bell. Every morning in the monastery a novice monks rings a bell to wake everybody up. Then, for novices, there is just a short time to get up, dress, put away bedding, do basic bathroom business and then back in place for meditation. There was simply no time to be thinking dread thoughts.
There is much to be said for the wake-up bell, and the many bells that call one away from one activity and towards another. In the monastery it is a bell and for the majority of trainees, at home and work, there is the inner prompting to stop and move to the next thing. It is a kinder and more gentle movement than you’d think.