There are all kinds of habits, from the ones we fall into through repetition, to those we mindfully shape (what needs to be done, our ability to do this, and, our desire to do this.
Habits are basically ways of thinking, relating, and acting which allow us to do things.
John O’Donohue focuses more on the emptiness of habits which rob a person of the wonder of their life:
‘We confine our mystery within the prison of routine and repetition.”*
I appreciate his sentiment, but I love habits with creativity and purpose, providing habitats for the new to be grown and developed and sustained.
Whether religious or not, we all realise there is something different about Humans. This can feel like a blessing and a curse at the same time. We can look out on and wonder at the vastness of universe, and at the same time struggle with the enormity of it and hide away in mundaneness.
We see Humans to be at their best when they are making all things thrive: the lives of others, the lives of other species, the habitation we share, and ourselves. Thriving is about the future, and the future requires we bring our best imagining, and imagining is a habit which can be developed.
Habits, then, ought to serve the future rather than trap us in the past. We need habits which will bring us to places of reflection, new learning, new connections, new experimenting, and new creating.
This responsibility to make all things thrive is our common spirituality. A person’s sense of wholeness, it seems, comes from accepting this mantle borne of awe and wonder in life.
Each person must create their own habits or habitats for creativity, generosity, and enjoyment. We can gain ideas from one another, but when we create our own, they are intrinsic to us.
There are public demonstrations of habit (organisations and institutions) which can give provide us with support and ideas, allowing us to explore together, but, being extrinsic, these will never substitute for our daily habitats for exploring: reflecting, learning, connecting, experimenting, creating.
(From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)