Monday, July 18, 2011

How To Break Free Of Old Habits

"How To Break Free Of Old Habits"
– by Kevin Schoeninger of

The phenomenal success of the book "The Four Agreements" has inspired many to apply Don Miguel Ruiz's insights in all areas of life.

As you've attempted to understand how the four agreements relate to your life, you've undoubtedly run up against some resistance. It's one thing to understand the four agreements intellectually and even to agree with them and decide to put them into practice. It's another thing to apply them in real-life situations. What do you do when it's a challenge to practice the four agreements? What do you do when you run into resistance? What do you do when old bad habits get in your way?

To begin to answer that question, let's take a look at the Core Values in the Toltec system. The better we understand these values the better we'll be able to put the agreements that flow from these values to work in our lives. The same applies to our own personal philosophy and value system. Unless you are conscious about "who you are" and "what you are about," it will be difficult to realize your highest potential. You'll find yourself living the life the world tells you to live instead of the life you are meant to live. You'll live your life by default instead of by intent.

The Toltec philosophy is based on an energetic view of life. According to the Toltec view we are beings of light. We are each mirrors that reflect the light that is the Life of all beings. It is our task to be the clearest and truest mirror that we can be. In order to do that, we must clear out that which fogs our view. We must become free from the Dream that fogs our mind. We must release ourselves from the lies that we have inherited, been taught, and agreed with. In other words, we must break away from our limiting agreements about what is real and possible.

Only then can we orient ourselves by the values of awareness, truth, freedom, and love. In order to live from these values, we must learn to master three skills. The Toltecs call these The Three Masteries. We'll go through each of these skills, one by one. They are:

  1. Mastery of Awareness: knowing who you are                                             
  2. Mastery of Transformation: having ability to change
  3. Mastery of Intent: living from freedom, choice, and love

Mastery of Awareness

As Ruiz says, "The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free." (p.98 TFA)

In the Toltec language, we must become aware that our perception of reality is like a dream. We do not see Reality as it is, we interpret reality according our beliefs, intentions, thoughts, and feelings each moment. We must first become aware that we are dreaming and understand the consequences of the agreements that define our dream, so that we can become conscious participants in the creation of our lives.

Ruiz says, "become aware of the fog that is in your own mind. You must become aware that you are dreaming all the time. . .If you have the awareness that the whole drama of your life is the result of what you believe, and what you believe is not real, then you can begin to change it. " (p.106 TFA)

Awareness is step one. Without awareness we blindly follow the mishmash of conditioned beliefs and viewpoints that are trained into us. You become aware by taking an inventory of all the beliefs that lie behind your perceptions. Once you become aware of the hidden meaning context from which you are viewing the world, then you can choose to step in and transform it in a conscious way. Awareness is the first step out of suffering.

Mastery of Transformation

Ruiz tells us that, "If you go into the dream and start challenging your beliefs, you will find that most of the beliefs that guided you into the wounded mind are not even true. ...the belief system that was put inside your mind is based on lies." (p.99 TFA)

You begin to transform your previously hidden beliefs and assumptions by testing them out. You challenge them to see what they are made of. You begin to understand where they came from and realize that they are simply made-up points of view that lead to certain consequences. If you don't like the consequences of looking at the world in a certain way, you can shift the way you are perceiving.

As Ruiz says, "You achieve the Mastery of Transformation by changing the fear-based agreements that make you suffer, and reprogramming your own mind, in your own way." (p.107 TFA)

Once you begin to get free from the subconscious agreements that have colored your perception, you are ready for the third mastery.

Mastery of Intent

Ruiz tells us that, "Dream masters create a masterpiece of life; they control the dream by making choices. Everything has consequences and a dream master is aware of the consequences. (p.100 TFA)

By mastering intent you become a conscious co-creator of your life. You understand who you are and tune into the unique purpose of your life. You make the expression and realization of who you are and what you are here to do your guiding light. You live from strong intent. When you do that you replace the messages of the Dream with guidance from the Core, from Life itself. When you do that, you replace suffering with happiness and fear with love.

As Ruiz says, "for every agreement you break that makes you suffer, you will need to replace it with a new agreement (habit) that makes you happy. This will keep the old agreement (habit) from coming back. If you occupy the same space with a new agreement, then the old agreement is gone forever and in its place is the new agreement." (p.110 TFA)

We must not think that this is an instant and everlasting event when we do it the first time. Breaking old agreements and establishing new ones takes time.

"All of the old agreements which rule our dream of life are the result of repeating them over and over again. Therefore, to adopt the Four Agreements, you need to put repetition in action. Practicing the new agreements in your life is how your best becomes better. Repetition makes the master." (p.110 TFA)

What is it, then, that fuels your practice? How do you generate the energy to break free from old habits and create something new in your life? The key is to tap into your Core Energy, the life-force within you. You do that by becoming aware of your inner feeling and by applying the three masteries to them.

Step One: Awareness

Become aware of how you are feeling as you move through life. Feel your body as a whole from the inside, right here and now. What is the quality of your inner feeling? If you're feeling great, go with flow, follow the inspirations that give you this good feeling.

If you're feeling uncomfortable, tense, stressed or afraid, observe these feelings. Identify the source of your tension and fear. Ask your body what your feeling is about. Once you have a sense for what the feeling is, where it is located in your body, and who or what it refers to, move to Step Two.

Step Two: Transformation

Let go of your uncomfortable feeling, the belief associated with it, and the event and other people associated with it with one simple act: forgiveness. Forgive yourself first. You did the best you could given what you knew and who you were at the time. Forgive anyone else involved. They also did their best, given what they knew and who they were at the time.

We forgive, not because what we did or what someone else did was right, or excusable, or even forgivable, but because we want to move on, we want to be free and we want others to be able to do the same. When you are able to forgive, you can move on to Step Three.

Step Three: Intent

Your highest intent is to come from a place of love. Love for yourself and love for others-in that order. If you see yourself through the eyes of love, this will naturally extend to the way that you see others. If you take loving actions toward yourself, this will naturally extend to the way that you treat others.

One way to do this is to cultivate the feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and trust in your heart. You can do this by actually generating these feelings in your heart. Think of something that makes you feel happy and grateful. This will make your heart smile. Focus your attention on your heart and feed this feeling. Then send your smiling energy throughout your body and to those that you encounter. Live your life from a heart filled with appreciation, gratitude, and trust.

My suggestion is to find at least one instance each day in which you practice the three masteries with your inner feeling. See the next uncomfortable feeling or tension in your body as an opportunity to go through the above, three-step process. As you master these three steps, you'll be able to transform negative emotion into creative power in a matter of moments.

Kevin Schoeninger teaches people how to discover the benefits of meditation. To learn a simple energetic and emotional releasing meditation technique (it only takes a few minutes) visit his website at

I hope you enjoyed this message from Kevin Schoeninger -- Happy Monday and as always, 'Make It' a Great Day! :)

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