Article #2: Overcoming Compulsive Habits by Stanley Bass, D.C.
Habits determine success or failure. I don’t care what you want to achieve in life, you can train yourself to be a success or you can train yourself to be a failure. If you allow yourself to swim in bad habits, you are going to be trapped. Walker, one of the great early Hygienists had the ability to inspire people to right living, as did other early Hygienists. It seems that since the early days of the 1920’s somehow the writers of Natural Hygiene took out the inspirational, the spiritual aspects of it. We were living in a scientific age and everyone wanted to be scientific and Hygienic doctors did not want to be thought of as quacks or mystics or strange people so they left out the inspirational part, but I have come to the conclusion that the only thing that makes people change is inspiration. You can give them all the facts in the world and convince them in black and white that this is the right way but that doesn’t mean they will do it. The only way they will do it is if you get them emotionally excited.
Habits determine success or failure. If you are willing to go through these changes we have been talking about and get rid of the bad habits, reintroduce some new habits, you can do anything you want to do with your life. I don’t care what you have done. As I mentioned before, for 15 years I failed. I tried to fast to the finish. I fasted 10 days, 12 days, 14 days, 17 days and I would get caught with the wrong thought and I’d be pulled off. All my friends said to me, “Stanley, forget it; it can’t be done.” But I didn’t give up; I kept doing it until I succeeded. The only failure, mark one thing well, is if you try to do something 1,000 times and you fail, then you quit trying. You are not a failure until you stop trying, and if you stop trying you are going to be a failure for sure. If you keep trying, eventually you’re going to do it. So the only failure is the person who stops trying, not the one who tries 1,000 times and doesn’t do it. Remember that and don’t get discouraged. Every time you fall back, remember this is normal in learning any new habits. Don’t let it discourage you; keep going; never give up!
You shouldn’t condemn yourself for failure. Some people have a bad habit of saying, when they try something and they don’t succeed, “What a damn fool I am, what a louse.” They start criticizing themselves and they tell all their friends about how stupid they are. “I’m so stupid, how could I do this?” They want everyone to know about it and by the time they get through they have lost all their energy and they can’t do anything. They condemn themselves to the point that they lose all their drive. Don’t do it, don’t condemn yourself. You’re divine. Everyone in this world is God-like but doesn’t know it. Let it come out. Don’t condemn yourself. Remember you can start all over again. Keep going.
Now, I must talk about procrastination. It’s the worst thing you can do. It’s the most vicious technique devised by the human brain since the beginning of time. That was my chief failing for a long time, so I am familiar with it and know all the tricks of it. What is procrastination? Procrastination is saying to yourself, “Oh, today is not a good day for me to do this; I’ll start tomorrow.” I’m a Natural Hygienist. When I opened up my institution a few summers ago in Woodridge, four out of five persons who checked in said, “I’m a Natural Hygienist.” Do you know what they are doing? Two of them were bugging me for meat and chicken. I saw them eating bread, cake and candy bars. When they left, we had to turn the mattresses over and found chewing gum wrappers and candy bar wrappers. They called themselves Natural Hygienists. What they mean by that is that they are procrastinators. They are telling themselves, “I ate well on Sunday. I’m really a Natural Hygienist, but today I’m under a lot of stress. It is not a good day for me, I’ll start tomorrow.” Then when tomorrow comes, “Oh! Gee I’ve got this problem. It’s not good, I’ll have to start next week. It will be easier. It’s snowing out, or I have to meet people.” You know the mind can rationalize anything. The mind is beautiful.
Hitler felt that he was a good man. Do you know that “Two-Gun” Crowley killed two policemen right before they sent him to the electric chair? He felt that he was a good man and a benefactor to humanity. You know people rationalize anything, even murder. If you can rationalize murder, if the greatest murderers that ever lived, the most famous ones felt that they were good human beings, what about a Natural Hygienist who is going to start tomorrow? How easy it is for him to rationalize if “Two-Gun” Crowley could do it. The mind will, rationalize anything you want, but don’t play that game, because its too easy. I did that for 18 years.
What is procrastination? It’s telling yourself that you are going to start tomorrow; that you are really doing what you think you are doing, but for some reason it is inconvenient. It’s lying to yourself and saying you are going to postpone something. You don’t say you’re not going to do this, you say you’re going to postpone it. “I’m really this but I’ll start tomorrow.” So you see, you want to fool yourself.
I know a man who takes long fasts, lasting 30 days or more. After the fast he says, “Gee, I really purified my body so well.” Then he starts with foods that are borderline and says, “Well, with a 30-day fast, I must have cleaned out six months of wrong living.” Then he eats more and more garbage and before a few weeks go by he is eating the worst garbage in the world and he rationalizes that too. He says, “Well, I can eat meat and candy bars because the fasts will eliminate anything.” So he eats worse than the average person who is afraid to do that. He seesaws between fasting and bingeing. I know one man who has been doing it for 30 years. I did it for 18. I know how easy it is. So don’t play the game of procrastination. It is the most insidious of all. It’s a liar’s game. It’s a fool’s game, and it is a failing game. Face up to it. If you are going to do something, do it this second. There is no tomorrow; only the present is real; the past is a memory, the future a hope. Only this second is real. If you are not doing it now, you are playing a game with yourself.
The law of vital accommodation needs a balance wheel. You can poison yourself but there is no true adaptation to these poisons. Your body only tolerates them. I explained that. It’s stimulation first, then depression. All bad habits and addictions are expressed in stimulation and depression. You introduce poisons and you get “high.” Then the body throws you down into a state of recuperation which is interpreted by the brain as depression, because the metabolism slows down to recuperate.
Why are bad habits hard to break? It’s because they are stimulating, and the more stimulating the habit, the harder is to break because the lower down you go in depression to recuperate. That’s ,all; that’s the secret of habits explained. If you study all the addicts around you, you will find this true. The worse the habit, the more poisonous it is, the more difficult it is to break because of the greater “down” you go through when you try to stop it. But if you know that stopping it puts you into the recuperation phase, and when you are feeling “down,” the body is trying to balance matters and rebuild to make you over again, and if you are willing to face it, you can give up any habit you desire. That is how I gave up tobacco. I took the depression “cure.” I stayed in bed and slept through all the downs until my energy was recharged.
You see, energy comes, not from the thing that makes you feel good—that stimulated you—you can get high on fruit. If you get up in the morning feeling pretty good, and you start eating fruit and you eat more sugar and then more sugar, this will stimulate you and you will get your high. If you overeat fruit it may make you nervous, even restless, and if you eat enough of it, you are going to go down, because you overstimulated your pancreas, and your pancreas is burning up this deadly enemy of extra sugar and in so doing, it produces a temporary state of low blood sugar, which is interpreted as depression. The body intends for you to be depressed so you can recuperate. It can only do it by reducing your blood sugar to the point at it stops the excitation and allows you to recuperate. So you see, there is a rationale in all of nature. Whenever you go down, it is because you have to go down to become normal again. If you know that, and you don’t care—you’re not afraid of being “depressed”—you can break any habit and then some.
Now I want to bring up the secret of changing anything in a second. This took me 30 years to learn through trial and error and suffering. When I discovered it, I could do anything I wanted to at any moment. I could give up anything, any object or any possessive attachments of a person if I had to. This is a secret of learning to do without anything and changing anything.
The only suffering we can experience is due to the emotions. We experience suffering due to emotions and feelings and this comes from identification, from locking into something. In other words, if you are watching a movie and you see this little child and the child falls down and gets hurt, you may cry. You are identifying with the child—you are becoming the child—you are experiencing the child’s problems so you are suffering. You’re crying. If your broker calls and tells you that your $30,000 in A.T.&T. stock has collapsed and hit the skids and you are now worth $10.00, you either decide whether you want to continue living at that point, or try to get out of this somehow. You have just lost a fortune in the market, but then when you go to sleep there is no suffering. There is no stock market once you dream, and after your dream you go into a dreamless state of sleep and there is no suffering—there is no stockmarket—there are no more family problems—there are no problems—there is no more crime in the streets, there is nothing but peace. So you see, suffering is related to identification with and idea.
At the time I was studying Yoga, there was something in a book that triggered me off. The author said, “Nothing exists that thinking makes it so” or “I, think, therefore I am,” or “nothing exists but our thoughts.” In other words, it doesn’t mean that if you are unconscious that the world, has no reality, it means that for you, if you are not thinking, there’s no suffering for you. If you’re asleep, there’s no suffering for you because you’re not in a state of identification with the object which evokes an emotion. So I said to myself, “If that’s the story, that’s why I failed.”
You see, everytime I tried to fast and I didn’t lose my appetite, I’d look at the food and I’d smell it and I’d think of how good it smelled and how good it would taste going down and then before I realized it, I would get emotionally worked up. My juices began flowing and then I couldn’t turn back anymore, I was finished. I had to eat and I’d wrestle or fight with anyone who’d try to stop me. Since I never lost my appetite, I knew that I had to master myself mentally. The average person loses his appetite after a few days of fasting. So there is no struggle—no problem. I didn’t lose my appetite so I had to win the battle in the mental realm somewhere. I said, “It’s got to be done on the battleground of thought.”
At that time I had finished college and I was called to go into town on a job. I was part of a band in a place that had a smorgasbord. Every day they put the food in front of the band. People would march up and down for hours and eat. I was on a fast and I fasted for 38 days and I looked at the food and I said, “Ah ha, you’re the culprit, you trapped me before and you are not going to trap me again.” I looked at that food and refused to smell it, and I refused to see it. So, here I was, walking and playing, and the aromas were permeating my body, but I refused to acknowledge the existence of the food so there was no suffering. Even though I never lost my appetite and fasted for 38 days. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. There was no pain at all. There was the secret of learning how to do anything immediately.
That’s it. I wrote extensively on that in a book “Achieving Supreme Nutrition by Several Progressive Weekly Diets.” You have to go through everything. Determine your goal. Expect to practice. These are long term concepts but the immediate battleground is in the territory of thought. If you know that you are dealing with a thought and you decide who is going to be the boss, you can succeed. The secret is, when you get the desire or the temptation, at that moment you must not consider it at all, but simply move your mind to another subject. Transpose your thoughts at that point. You have got to move fast because it only takes a few second of emotions to get into the picture and the emotions are very strong. They are stronger than the intellect, and if you allow yourself to get emotionally involved, you can easily lose. So you must win the battle before that happens. You have a couple of seconds to win the battle, and if you understand how thought works, you will win every time. You’ll be in control.
- 1. What Do You Mean By “Change In Lifestyle?”
- 2. The Need To Inspire The Client
- 3. The Practitioner Presents The Plan
- 4. The Client Must Be In Charge
- 5. What Kinds Of Changes Are Required
- 6. Outmoded Beliefs And Superstitions
- 7. I Can!
- 8. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Great Awakener By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Overcoming Compulsive Habits By Stanley Bass, D.C.
- Article #3: The Negative Power of “If” By Charles M. Simmons
- Article #4: Excerpt from “In Tune With the Infinite” by Ralph Waldo Trine