Sometimes we learn a great deal about ourselves by observing how we cope with change. If, during the course of a day, a person was to meticulously list all the actions, procedures and movements into which we lock ourselves through habit, we would be amazed at how little we do spontaneously. We create these habituated zones of comfort to avoid the effort involved in looking at things in new ways, being creative, or being spontaneous. The realization is jarring when we are forced, through whatever circumstances, to “jump” our track and change direction. If you have shaved, brushed your teeth and combed your hair at a certain time and in a certain way for 20 or 30 years, doing it any other way seems uncomfortable until a new habit is formed over time. This could extend, obviously, to many other daily routines including the ways we approach You. In a real sense we can easily see how life is a series of habits we settle into. We may, with effort, eliminate a habit we dislike only to begin another; and we truly try to avoid the discomfort of changing our habits because - it hurts!
I suppose most of the habits of daily life into which we settle are fairly innocuous, but they do set a pattern in our psyche for settling into habits in our spiritual life which aren’t so innocuous. Habit, of course, does not deal with intention, but it does blur it. I know in myself that it’s possible to get so caught up by routines of time, place and manner that reasons or intentions simply dissolve.
Anthony DeMello speaks eloquently of opening ourselves up daily to the possibility of change and to the reality of it. There are so many ways You genuinely speak to us in our lives. Only we widen or narrow the bounds of this grace. It may seem ironic but settling into comfortable habits can be a terrible constrictor of the spiritual life and, yet, they just seem to happen – unintentionally. However, the moment we settle into them we limit our possibilities. They’re not necessarily bad in and of themselves, sometimes we need the discipline of habit simply to accomplish that which we would otherwise ignore or let slide. The point is to not allow our habits to block out our intention of discovering new ways of finding You.