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overcoming upbringing

justwannabe2010-07-05 07:21:25 +0000 #1
why is it that it can be so hard to overcome personality traits of our parents.. any thoughts on the matter
amritaraj2010-07-05 07:25:39 +0000 #2
Overcoming habits in general is extremely difficult; in fact it has been said that we are two things - habits and the atman - so if we overcome our habits then we're enlightened.

As far as addressing your question, I can only offer some speculations. Essentially you're talking about the strength of certain habits, and yogic literature, which has analyzed habit formation (and destruction) in depth, says that habits grow in strength due to repetition, so I assume that you started imitating your parents early on, perhaps initially as a form of unconscious identification with them, a common sign of love or submission, depending on the kind of relationship you had. Years of repetition would have deeply engrained the habit.

And perhaps, and since I know nothing about your situation, this is highly speculative (forgive me) continued repetition of the hacould be a kind of defense mechanism, an unconscious action expressing the statement 'By doing X I'm am expressing my identification (closeness) with my parent'. This might be the case if their is conflict (distance) and resultant guilt in the relationship.

You didn't ask, but I'm taking the liberty of assuming there's some interest in ending the habit. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras advises that a habit can be ended by replacing it with its opposite. Another approach is to strengthen the will, for this training in raja yoga is unsurpassable. Another approach is training in mindfulness, so that you can recognize (and end) the habitual action before it starts.

Ultimately you're talking about the degree of control we have (or don't have)over our minds and so a focus on the parental (?) origins of the habit might be misplaced, unless yours was just an academic question. Of contemporary masters writing about habits, their origins, and ending them, I've found that Paramahansa Yogananda is by far the most useful.

One last thought. Perhaps this 'parental' habit was carried over from previous lifetimes, and so is even deeper than something modelled in and copied from childhood. Maybe somebody knows whether any of the scientists researching reincarnation have written about whether similarity of mental traits are characterist of people who reincarnate in families? Did Dr. Stevenson write about this?




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