DrukamaTM Radio Episode 20 – What is Habit Energy? How Do We Lose It?
Today Daishi speaks to Khepfer on the subject of habit energy. What is habit energy and how is it related to karma? How does overcoming habit energy put an end to suffering and help us lead peaceful and happy lives? What is the importance of the foundation and mystical aspects of the path?
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Episode 20 Extract
What is Habit Energy? How Do We Lose It?
“…habit energy at the beginning part of the path is one of the most important aspects that we are really highly critical of. We look at it, we understand it, we try to eliminate it because habit energy is the driving force that makes up the way that we think mentally, the mental aggregates, how they function, the emotional reactions, how they occur and why they occur and then the physical actions and speech that influence the way we act from day to day…
…these habit seeds or this habit energy, sometimes referred to as the karmic consequence or the karmic seeds, the cause and consequence are happening all the time and they are generated from our societal influences and our cultural influences ever since we were in the womb. So, the moment that we start gestating in that womb, we’re already being influenced by the sounds of the mother, the sounds of the father and the influences of the vibrations around us… ”
Drukama™ podcast extract – EP20
Full Transcript of This Episode
Khepfer: Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Drukama Radio. I am your co-host today, Khepfer Haru. We are very grateful to have Daishi with us today. It is an honor and a privilege to be here with you. How are you Daishi?
Daishi: I am doing great. Thanks for having me and I look forward to another interesting conversation.
Khepfer: Excellent. Today we are discussing habit energy, what it is and why in the spiritual path we want to reduce and remove it.
What is habit energy? Just jumping right in here. And how does it influence us as practitioners and also everyone in general?
Daishi: Habit energy, at the beginning part of the path, is one of the most important aspects that we are really highly critical of. We look at it, we understand it, we try to eliminate it, because habit energies are the driving forces that make up the way that we think mentally, the mental aggregates, how they function, the emotional reactions, how they occur and why they occur, and then the physical actions and speech that influence the way we act from day to day. And then subsequently, since all of that happens to reflect out into the mirror of the macrocosm or the outside world, it is important that habit energy be understood as a kind of boomerang loop. It sort of echoes out into the world and comes back at us. So if we were to look at the environment we are in as being created from one seed source, the habit energy would begin that flow of seed energy out through the mind, through the emotions, through the actions, and then into the world, and then reflect back at us.
So, these habit seeds or this habit energy, sometimes referred to as the karmic consequences or the karmic seeds, the cause and consequence, are happening all the time. And they are generated from our societal influences and our cultural influences ever since we were in the womb. So the moment that we start gestating in that womb we are already being influenced by the sounds of the mother, and the sounds of the father and the influences of the vibrations around us, and the nervous system reactions and the energies of the mother and so on and so forth.
So, we are being infiltrated and programmed by these energy patterns, vibrations and senses, etcetera, etcetera, and they continually form and shape the basis of all this habit energy from the moment we enter into this world, and it continues to impress upon us throughout our lives. So when we begin the path, we want to move back, back in our cognitive awareness or what we call ordinary awareness, far enough back so that we can actually watch this process happen. And we can begin to become untangled from it. We want to move back so that we are not unconsciously consistently empowering this habit energy over and over again. We are not empowering the emotional reactions and the mental fabrications and the stories and dramas that play out within us that then get reflected in the outside world.
So, habit energy is the key to the initial foundation for us to proceed forward. And then it leads, once we clean that plate to a certain extent, to the more advanced kinds of practices that you would find in a deeper, more advanced, mystical process.
Khepfer: Wow that is interesting, Daishi. Particularly you hit on karma and how it functions, how habit energy functions through the karmic rhythms.
Could you further elaborate on the different degrees or types of this habit energy? You mention maybe mental and emotional habit energy, and then also what we actually physically do. How are these different or how are they related and pop up?
Daishi: There are different levels of this influence, so they all kind of come from the same place. But they influence us in different ways, and we will see that they are all kind of tied together; so the mental undulations or iterations of the mind influence the emotional undulations and they influence the physical undulations.
If, for instance, in the most basic form, if somebody jumps out and scares us, the first thing we do is our hands go up typically and we shriek out, and we go into a sympathetic nervous system reaction panic, right? So that would be a kind of a habit energy through the natural process of us knowing that we have to be aware of the pains that come from us walking walls or being hit by somebody, or being in a physical confrontation. That happens as we grow up, but if a person was not necessarily ever scared, if we had them in a pristine perfect sphere where they never got influenced by that kind of experience, then they would probably not react that way. And that habit energy would not have been formed. So, you know, if you jumped out and scared them, they would probably just look at you and say “What are you doing?” you know, they did not know that there was any inherent fear there or worry that anxiety should be coming up with an action like that, so they sort of just let that go.
But you can see in that really raw example that previous historical injuries or fears that have been generated through the stories told by family members or friends, or the ideas in the way that we understood the reality around us to be intimidating and scary, influences us as habit energy the way that we react when we are scared by somebody. So there is one little example, and then to go a little deeper into the mind, the defense of the self, right, the transient or illusory self that keeps being recreated, we feel that we have to stick up for it, there is some inherent egoic connection with that that it has to be right. It needs to be better than others, it needs to have more than others, it needs to be ahead of others. And this creates a competitiveness in myself being promoted over yourself, right? I always want to be a little bit more than you, I always want to have a little bit more than you, I always want to be higher than you, better than you. And we chase the idea that the selfing nature is supremely important, it has to be held up and it has to be continued. And this is also a form of habit energy, this is also something that is instilled and programmed in us from society and culture. You have to be first, you have to win, you have to be better, you have to achieve, you have to accomplish your goals, you have got to make money, you have got to be in control, you have got to have all the knowledge and so on and so forth.
As this gets programmed into us, loops are empowered by us. In other words, this habit energy sort of just comes up and we reinforce it because we give it our conscious awareness. We agree with it, in other words. So, once the idea comes up that, you know, the mental fabrications says, you know – “You have to be first”, right – “You have to be the best”, right. And we look at that and go – “Yeah, yeah, we do! We do!” and unconsciously we keep enforcing this groove, and I liken it to a piece of paper; if you fold a piece of paper over and you make a really good fold in that paper, the paper is more easily going to fold at that area rather than any other area in the paper, again and again and again. And this is what happens with our habit energies as we reinforce that fold, that groove, over and over again. And that dictates how we live. And we have enough of these grooves, enough of this karmic impact, these kinds of karmic loops and channels grooved into our synaptic mind, that we are generating the same circumstances over and over and over again.
It may appear that we are having different experiences, but really at the heart of it, it is the same grooves replaying themselves with a little bit different macrocosmic outcomes. And also microcosmic, internal outcomes, like I might feel fear but it might be a different kind of fear. I might, you know, generally be afraid of things, but it shows itself in different ways.
So, obviously this subject deserves, you know, fifteen hours of really delving into to understand it all, within are practices and process to undo the folds, but in terms of this conversation, just to understand it on a basic level, it is really just looking at and observing and knowing that those folds are there, those habit energy folds are there. And then learning how do I empower myself to undo them? How can I rid myself of these reactionary emotions and mental undulations that create stories and fantasies and dramas and keep me into anxiety and neurotic behavior and stuff that is just not healthy for my energy, it is not healthy for my physiological body, it is not healthy for my surroundings, the people around me and so on.
So, in the beginning we want to really untangle from those habit energy grooves and then inevitably wipe them all away. We want to clear the slate, we want to clean the attic and make sure that everything is cleared up there so that these consistent unconscious kinds of echoings of the habit energy do not happen any longer. And I can begin to take control of what does happen on a conscious level, and that means that I need to understand the conscious and unconscious mind clearly enough so that I can begin to put action in process through deliberate and conscious control, rather than complete subservience to an unconscious slavery that happens to those habit energy grooves.
Khepfer: Wow thank you Daishi, that was a wonderful explanation and you hit on several important examples. And you also mention not only what we want to do in the path, but kind of a process that we begin with, which is observing this energy, which, correct me if I am wrong, but sounds like we are given all this potential energy and we have that energy, is kind of like an unconscious usage of that energy, which sounds like a huge waste. Something we could be better utilizing.
Daishi: There is a huge amount of vitality loss in our daily life that goes to, you know, it is spilled away in this neurosis. I use the word, you know, being “neurotic”, because we are like chasing phantoms in the wind. The way that most human beings operate, and it is a shame because it really does kill us and it makes our lives terrible is that we chase these phantom thoughts and phantom emotions that are really anchored in nothingness.
Most of the stuff that we experience is mind generated, and so you can argue that all of it is if you wanted to, but for the sake of this conversation we will just say that the majority of it is mind generated. And that mind generated habit energy is terribly destructive, because it is going to use most of my life up with me unconsciously chasing and empowering it. That is a terrible way to live. That creates almost all of the suffering I experience in life. And that suffering leads to violence and hatred and anger and jealousy and greed and envy toward everybody else.
Because I feel like I lack, and that I have ailments and problems within, whether I am conscious of it or not, I still have the awareness underlying that something is wrong, and because of that I go after everybody else. Or I seek outside of me some type of remedy and never find it. So it perpetuates a terribly neurotic state of behavior, and it does not really matter how much morality or dogmatic laws and rules we put into place, unless we cure that ailment – and this is the first parts of the path, the rest of it is much more mystically based in terms of experiencing the phenomenon beyond the five sense reality, but, in the beginning, this cleaning must happen. And if it does not happen, if we do not understand it well enough and release our entanglements to it, we are never going to find pure satisfaction and pure happiness or peacefulness in the outside environment. And that is why you hear so many teachers, you know, we have in the Christian tradition that the Kingdom of Heaven is within; we have to be able to understand how it is operating inside of us first, and then make the changes there. Otherwise no changes will ever happen outside of us, it is just impossible.
Khepfer: Wow, ok.
So, I would like to dig in just a little bit deeper there. What does observing how we empower this energy better do for us as practitioners?
Daishi: Well, when we are conscious of something, when we are actually watching something consciously and we are seeing it playing out, there are lots of things happening. But the most important thing that happens there is knowledge is gained.
When I witness the experience of a reaction and I am no longer unconscious to the experience of the reaction, I become wiser. In other words, I see it functionally; the ignorance of it kind of dissipates. And so I can say “Well, you know, I notice that to defend the little illusory body, the reaction of anger comes up when so and so says this to me”. And as soon as I recognize that it sort of adds to my wisdom and removes some ignorance, and I think to myself – whether or not there was a need to defend the illusory body, in other words, regardless of what the problem was, the actual instance, whether somebody was yelling at me and I needed to defend myself or if somebody was trying to harm me physically and I needed to defend myself, or whether it was just complete nonsense, they said something that should not have bothered me at all, it is not that that is important. It is the unconscious reaction to that that is important.
And once we start to notice that, again in the preliminary stages here, we begin to see that, you know, I do not want to be a slave to that process. This is what is generating all of the slavery that happens in the continuum of my life, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. And it is happening on so many different levels that I want to free myself from this and gain back my life, I want to gain back control. And I want to start dictating how I live. I like to have a healthy, happy and peaceful life rather than this crazy neurotic life that is being dragged behind the wild horses of my mind, or my emotions, etc.
So, the first thing we try to do is we get right to the heart of the matter and start working on processes that allow us to start seeing the five aggregates of the mind and noticing the reactions of the emotions and the reactions of speech and action, and how they influence in the echo chamber of the outside world. So we can begin to settle down.
You know, like the beginning of the path is really just settling back and settling down, and being able to witness from the ordinary awareness everything that is happening in the vehicle. Once that is established, then we can move back into the vehicle and operate it in really radical new ways. But that first part is a major portion of the foundation preliminary side of this.
As we move past that, we go into amplifying the emotional energy, we call intention energy, or deeper even, the pranic energy, the subtle energies of the body, and we also razor sharpen the will itself, the way that we can focus in on the objects of contemplation so that we can make change and unify and do all sorts of wilder mystical things.
But at first we have to get a basis, there has to be a foundation. And so typically what people do is they jump over the foundation work, whatever that may be in their particular group, order, ashram, their school, and they want to go right into the heavy duty stuff – I want to learn how to alter reality around me and change the way that I perceive. But you cannot do anything without that foundation build first. And it can go very quickly depending on the practitioner’s quality and quantity of effort, but that has to be done first and it is of major importance.
Khepfer: Absolutely. And you may have answered this a bit Daishi, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that we are dealing with a practitioner who has begun observing this habit energy.
What are some ways that that practitioner, while they are still forming the foundation, can begin making better use of this energy so it does not become empowered unconsciously?
Daishi: If we take back some of the loss of vitality that we would normally lose empowering this unconscious chain of mental and emotional experiences, or processes, we should, if we are going to use time wisely, begin to empower a new kind of groove, in other words, a new kind of habit energy. And that should be compassion and joy and happiness and peacefulness and all these things.
So on one hand we want to be able to back up and watch the societally influenced habit energy, and then inevitably take control and create our own kinds of habit energy that reinforce the kinds of state we want to live in, the kinds of state we want to be in. Again this is more of a preliminary kind of foundational process and just sets up to the grander mystical kind of stuff that we can do, but it is really important that we put into play the way that we want to be, and we activate the habit energy of the way we want to be. And really habit energy is the wrong word there because it is conscious, but we still want to instill within ourselves a new program.
So we are going to hack out the old program and install the new one, and the new program is going to be productive and happy, compassionate, loving, blissful, etc. That is the new program. And the old program of worry and stress and depression and apathy and etc – that is going to be flushed away. Because typically we find that in most cases, unfortunately, in the majority of cases with human beings, we are pre-programmed societally and culturally to be fearful and, you know, despise others, and have anger and kind of jealousy and greed and envy and all these weird kind of things are enforced on us; left brain memory and all sorts of ways of imbalancing the mental process so that it favors the conditions of control.
And if we look across the broad scheme of things we can see that the way that we are influenced societally and culturally really favors a hierarchical controlling process of not really being clear and aware and creative and able to look at things objectively and have reason behind the way that we see the world. Because it is just easier to… listen – I do not want the cows knowing anything. You know, not me personally, of course I would not do this, but if I was a farmer and I want to make money, I want the cows to be thinking that the little booths I put them in are like heaven, and producing enough milk and enough meat so that I can continually replace them and get as much out of them as I can. That would be a productive farm in terms of capital gains, right? I do not want the cows to be enlightened, I do not want them to know what is going on and that they actually have power in masses and so on and so forth.
So, we can see that society and culture has favored control, and through the influences have pressed in measures that continue to enhance that control and sharpen that control through the influences that they provide. Once we get wise to it a little bit, we can then say – Ok, listen, this is my program, I am running under it, I want to deactivate and dump it, and I am going to create a new program now of wisdom and knowledge and intelligence that is backed by reason and sound perception, etc; and I also want to create a condition where this dream that I am in, or whatever we want to call this very short experience in the middle of nowhere, you know, I want it to be fun and exciting, and I want to be able to enjoy it while I am here. And also help others find that as well.
So, it is a huge paradigm shift. But the key here is that if we do not know how to do that process specifically, we are probably not going to fall back into it. So it is really hard to just kind of guess the way that works. That is the trouble. So, it is not that people do not recognize there is a problem, because a lot of people that I have talked to over the many many years I have done this is – basically, I realize something is wrong. I do not feel right, I do not live right, I am not feeling at the height of my happiness and joyfulness and I have to succumb to this radical, weird, strange world I live in. But I do not know what to do. I do not know how to change that. And so this is the point where you got to have a structured attack, you have got to have a structured plan in place, and if it is not clear and concise, if you are not flowing along and understanding it, failure is bound to happen.
Khepfer: In this world it can be extremely difficult to see the forest for the trees and kind of navigate this path while we are still entangled with mindstream. I mean, you have mentioned this in previous podcasts and I can personally vow for how helpful has been to have guidance and proper instruction to help with progress and illuminating, and dealing with I guess better forms of habit energy, consciously generated energy.
I was wondering if you could just touch briefly on the role of the teacher in eliminating habit energy?
Daishi: Absolutely. So, since I am entangled within myself, for lack of a better world, so the transient self has sort of become so sticky to the cognitive ordinary awareness that I am not sure where I am and where it is, I do know any person that has any kind of awareness at all will notice that some thoughts are not generated by them, whoever them is.
So they can look at a thought and say, or, you know, like we always use as the example, you know, there is a song playing in my head but I did not request that, I do not know why it is there and it will not stop. So what other power or authority is generating this and why is it in my head, right? So where is this coming from?
So we can at least say there is one other authority in the mind somewhere doing whatever it wants to do that does not seem to be in favor of or wanting to give me the best possible results, it is not in favor of my accomplishment and my attainment. It is doing whatever it wants to do randomly and either is trying to coerce me into, you know, projections of the future that may be filled with wild daydreaming or panic or reminiscence of the past that may be involved with the pleasures or pains. But it is definitely trying to guide and push me in different directions that do not seem helpful in becoming more aware.
So, once we notice this, then we can begin to understand that we are entangled deep enough that I do not know where these are coming from, I am not sure how they are generated, and I do not know where I am from this external power. And for that, we need an expert person to come in and say – I do understand this, so let’s look at this deeper – and also not just understanding where the ordinary awareness begins, because that is just a preliminary, but also how do I activate the energy centers within the body that are going to eventually generate high blissfulness.
And the reason why that is important, once I cut through the selfing side and I am able to get satiation in ordinary awareness deep enough, I have to also generate the energy within the body that generates high blissfulness. And the reason this is important is because once I generate the blissfulness of the energy body, in other words, I dictate how the physiological body feels, and how it is generating a kind of happy state, a joyful state, if I can take control of that process, emotionally, mentally and physically, then I no longer feel a lack, I no longer feel the suffering of the day to day grind that happens to most people. Like, you know, I need to go get a beer this week, I am just exhausted or I am angry at somebody, I need to get out of here, I need to go somewhere else, I need to go on vacation so that I can get away from the pains of a body-vehicle that I do not understand.
So inevitably I have to understand: how can I activate the energies within me to generate joyful blissfulness? So, there are two things we should take from this – one is clarity of mind, clarity of perception, that is one side. In other words, I need balanced peacefulness within the mental, emotional body. And the other side is I need access to the energies of the body so that I can make them radically blissful so that I am satiating the desire, and I am remaining wise and peaceful and clear and have that kind of clear light radiant awareness. Those two things come together – in the Tibetan tradition it is called Yab-Yum, it is the marriage, we always see the Thangka where you see a female and a male deity sitting on each other, usually Buddha or something like that with a female consort, and it is typically tied to sex, but really it means these two things marry each other. The blissfulness of the body is heightened and sustained and joins the wisdom of the clear light mind.
And so, to get these two things together, that requires somebody who understands at a very deep level how the process drives toward each other, and that is really where mysticism begins, because you can have the outer body experiences and the experiences in the upper realms, experiences in the nadis and the channels of the body that generate great blissfulness and, those things need to be expressed and taught through an expert. They cannot just, I mean there are dangers if you try to do it yourself, there could be congestion of prana, can cause, you know, in the East they used to call it psychic or pranic illness.
So you have got to make sure you have somebody along with you that has been through it, otherwise, you know, again, it is like trying to put together a 747 when you do not even know how to fly a plane. You are just sort of reading a manual or trying to read others’ ideas about it – to get that plane off the ground and put together is probably not happening within your lifetime. So, having a guide is going to save you lifetimes, if not decades, of wasted efforts and potential illness and all of those things.
So as I always end these little talks, I say, you know, if you do not find it through us, find it somewhere, but get the expert advice from some source that can help you navigate through what is a very sticky and tangled situation that you begin from.
Khepfer: Wow, thank you so much Daishi. Feels like you hit on the entire crux of the path there at the end and as much as I would love to continue going with you in great detail, like you mentioned, we do not have the hours in the day. But there will be future podcasts, and Daishi I understand there is a new website up and running soon, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Daishi: Each time we do this I keep mentioning the website and I am really excited for the people who are anxious to get involved with it and I just feel awful that we do not have an actual date yet, but we look like we are going to be able to put one out this week.
So hang in there for the launching of drukama.com, it will have a step by step, week by week, hand holding of all the process from start to finish, along with a whole host of tutors that are there to help and guide you through the process from the comfort of your own home.
I am really happy to be a part of it, although it is not my brain child really at this point, I am sort of working with a group of wonderful people that really put it together. But it is going to be a way for somebody who just is at home and, you know, has a normal life, and says “I would like to take this journey but I am not able to find the kind of teaching or teacher or group that will be able to assist me in a true authentic mystery path” and so, this will do that week by week.
And you will have the opportunity to get in touch with me and other tutors and be part of the forum there and the group community there. But more importantly, you will be able to go at your own pace with week by week instructions, sort of walk you through very clearly video instruction on what to do, how to sit, how to act in your waking state, how to move from stage to stage. And then you take it as fast or as slow as you want to.
I think it is something really unique and perfect for our time, because the generation today is really good at being able to understand social connection through a distance, and also learn from a distance, whereas I do not think my generation, I am older of course, but my generation could not have really grasped that, you know, and I think more so today, the new generation can definitely understand that process and pull it off. So, I am excited, but as far as dates go I think we will announce it this week at some point, and I am happy everyone has been really patient with us as we put it together, we want it to be perfect.
Khepfer: That is exciting news. I know we have all been waiting very patiently for it and it definitely will be worth it. Just the platform where we can come and constantly get advice and guidance and support on the path with authentic practices that deliver real results, so…
Daishi: It is important and, you know, what you just said was a key thing. The support that is provided by the group members is key. Because there is a lot of people, as you know, in that group, that are highly experienced; whether they are from the Eastern philosophies or the Western philosophies, they have decades of experience behind them.
So it is not just that you are getting week by week teachings, but you are getting a whole host of really talented and advanced practitioners that are willing to help and go way out of their way, and as you know our family there is really close and really tight.
So, you are getting a lot there, and I think it is a great opportunity for someone who just says – Hey I want to learn the path but I cannot go anywhere to learn it, I have got to learn it from home, I have got a life, I have got either, you know, school or family or whatever it is, can you help me? This is the way they can get it, you know, in the privacy of their own home, with the inclusion of really radically intense practitioners who have been around the block.
So, you know, I am proud to be part of it, I am happy to be able to be around all of the practitioners that are in our group currently that have been around for years and are doing so well, and having them be able to step up and help. And then eventually, as the new people continually grow, they can turn around and help, and it sorts of feeds and seeds itself, you know, students that continue to move up the ranks can help the ones underneath them, and eventually just becomes a self-serving kind of environment where everybody is helping each other grow.
And it does not need to be one teacher, two teachers or three teachers, it can be the whole group teaching itself the basis of the path from different perspectives and angles and I think that is a beautiful thing. So that is inevitably the goal. It is coming soon, hang in there, I appreciate your patience, we will have an announcement shortly about it.
Khepfer: Thanks so much for that Daishi and I know we are going to say goodbye for today, so thank you so much for joining us today Daishi. It has been lovely co-hosting the show with you.
Daishi: I appreciate you being here and I really appreciate you coming back and doing it again soon if you have the time, so thank you very much.
Khepfer: Absolutely. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you next time.