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Avoiding the Seduction of a Habit — with A New Habit

A Siren of TemptationA metaphor for breaking habits

This quote comes from the Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, Autumn 2005 and was introduced to the meditation group recently by one of the participants.

“When Ulysses was finally returning to his home in Greece after the Trojan War victory, a place along the way was noted for its danger: sirens sang so sweetly, so enticingly that sailors were lured to find them, only to meet their death on dangerous shoals. So Ullysses had all his sailors cover their ears to protect them from these sounds, but he, himself, was curious and wanted this experience. Therefore, he asked to be firmly tied down while keeping his ears open to hear. It just about drove him crazy and he demanded to be release d to follow the siren songs. Since he’d given those guarding him the warning not to let him free regardless of his commands, he safely made it through.

Like Ulysses we need to find a firm post to be tied to so that we don’t follow the sirens, seducing us into our bad habits, whether they’re negative self-talk, food, alcohol, narcissism, non-assertiveness or any behavior that causes consequences that we don’t like or want.

The post you tie yourself to can be meditating, jogging, exercising, painting, breathing, laughing, listening to others who know better  — or other activities that will detach you from the tempting and damaging habitual behavior and engage you in a healthy, substitute behavior.

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