Habits are nothing more than a chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. The mind thinks a thought, which causes the endocrine system to release certain chemicals into the blood stream that employ the nervous system to cause us to react to in some way. Habits become addictions when this process repeats itself enough times as to create what yogis refer to as a samskara or conditioning. We become conditioned to react certain ways given certain stimuli. This is what we would call being stuck in a rut. For addicts, this stuckness can lead to insanity and death.
Looking at it from the perspective of the alcoholic, it might go like this. For whatever reason be it external stimuli like seeing someone drink a glass of wine or internal stimuli like experiencing a memory of a euphoric feeling produced by drinking alcohol, an individual’s mind begins to direct its energy toward the impression. An individual’s endocrine system is triggered by the vision or memory of the experience of alcohol and it sends chemicals into the bloodstream working with the nervous system to provoke a reaction to the stimuli, which might be to seek out a drink. This all happens in a nanosecond and takes place over and over reinforcing itself until an individual has an extremely difficult, if not impossible, time breaking this chain reaction in order to bring about a different reaction.
This is going to sound simple. Actually it is very simple, but very difficult. In order to break addictions, we have to build new habits. There is no other way. How do we do this?
From The Kundalini Yoga perspective it takes 40 days of practicing a particular set of yoga to break free from any negative habits that would get in the way of the expansion that is possible by practicing the set. It takes 90 days to establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of that set of yoga. This will change you in a very deep way.
It is very interesting that one of the suggestions given to newcomers in 12-Step programs is to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. Obviously, it is necessary for the newcomer to establish new patterns in their lives. Attending 12-Step meetings for 90 days in a row is certainly one way to help with that. I love the positive reinforcement that the 12-Steps and Yoga seem to offer each other.
The idea of including 12-Step meetings in your daily sadhana (daily spiritual practice) for 90 days is a powerful one from the yogic perspective. And there is no need to stop there. After 1000 days of doing a practice everyday, you master the new habit of consciousness that the practice has promised. It says in Kundalini texts that after 1000 days of vigilant practice, no matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
As with all things, we approach life one day at a time. The journey to a thousand days starts with day one. Developing a sadhana practice (daily spiritual practice) that you do everyday before you get out into the melee of life is a central component of a life well-lived. In my personal experience, sadhana
These are my thoughts from the foothills of the Himalayas today. And when I get home to Los Angeles in April, these will still be my thoughts on this topic. I really miss you all.