Last week I talked about the nature of itches and brought up in conclusion how everyone has their own “itches.” Just as a recap, what I discovered during my meditation was that itches beg for instantaneous gratification but that does not mean I have to give in. Itches come and go. At the end of my post, I asked the question, “What are your itches?” By this I meant what are habits that you have that seem to drive you to give them instant acknowledgement and gratification?
During this week I was able to ask myself the same question and it was a beneficial thought experiment. Habits are a much easier endeavor to become involved in and some lead down good roads while others can lead down an unfavorable one. We can even fall into these habits subconsciously and before you know it, itches begin to occur on a regular basis.
Now I am not a trained psychologist by any stretch of the imagination so take my advice with a grain of salt, but for dealing with minor habit trends, I have found a cure for my psychological itches that seems to work well for me. First and foremost is acknowledging the issue at hand because how can one solve that which one is unaware of? That sounded way too philosophical. What I meant was, how can you fix what you don’t know is broken? That’s better. The second step is to become more mindful or aware of the itch as it begins to take place. How do you feel when you have the urge to act upon your habit’s desire? Due to habits coming in many shapes and sizes, I am going to leave this pretty open-ended. After becoming aware of these habitual itches, I found it beneficial to simply sit with them, meaning, not acting or not non-acting on them, just allowing them to be. By doing so, you get to see the itch for what it really is, which for me appears in the form of a whinny child demanding to get his way. Not a pretty picture but it does lead to a confidence boost. In my particular case, I am confident that I can withstand the barrage of a psychological child and simply refuse to give in to his itch. Allowing yourself to stand up to its resistance, you disempower it. As I said earlier, itches come and go.
Now, given that habitual itches come in varying degrees of strength, my technique may not seem fit when dealing with a real barn burning itch but as for taking on the little guys, this method may be enough. Give it a try!