Opening up about our lifelong “secret” Habitual Patterns—so we can let go.
All my life, I’ve picked at zits. Even zits that aren’t there.
Gross, right? Well I see so many of my friends do it—a sort of nervous worrying of their fingers across their face or shoulders–that it seems like many of us have this habitual pattern.
From a Buddhist point of view, habitual patterns are the crux of suffering. So it’s important to look at these patterns, openly, honestly, genuinely—and thereby to let them go.
From a Buddhist point of view, fidgeting is a sign of fear. Nervous energy that doesn’t allow us to be present. That’s all it is. Perhaps I’ve had too much coffee, or I’m insecure, or speedy, or anxious. Whatever it is, the fidgeting and picking is a sign of that fundamental fear, a fear that doesn’t allow me to be present. And being present is the most important thing, in this life—it allows us to
1) enjoy our life
2) to be of service to others, to animals, to our planet
If we aren’t present, after all, we’re nowhere. We’re spreading neurosis, selfishness. When we’re present, our egos can dissolve—or, let go—and we regain a sense of humor and availability to our world.
So, whenever I find my fingers twiddling or itching or picking, I simply relax them, now. If I find my knee bopping up and down, I simply stop, now. I don’t do so with self-condemnation—I simply do it gently, ordinarily, as a happy chance to practice a sort of meditation-in-action.
Now, I don’t pick at my face or shoulders or whatever. And if I do, I try and notice that, and stop. It’s sad, how much neurotic anxious time I spent picking at zits, when I was young. It was hard on my face and neck and most of all, my mind.
Hopefully, this weird, personal little offering is helpful to some others who are overfull of nervous energy. May you learn (the easy way) from my lifelong habitual pattern.