good or habit

A recent fruitful intellectual exchange had me thinking again about the notion of a “good habit”. For some time now, “good habit” has been an oxymoron for me. It still is.

Good for me is that which, in my eyes, comes as bestowal from my maker and sustainer as a sign that takes me back to Him, brings me to His presence, brings me awareness of Him as my refuge and helper and carer. I generally call habit that which I am doing now be”cause” I have done it before, again and again and again so that my doing it now is an instance or expression of this stablized repetition, a habit. Habit looks to me as the one who does something again and again – a good habit is my way of saying that I am constantly associated with something good (a good action generally) or that something good is regularly associated with me. In saying ‘a good habit’, I try to stabilize an association between me and something I like or want. Good, in truth, is that which is His. Even if it is death. If and when death is under the command of the Living One and the giver of death, not itself some force that annihilates life, death too becomes a good in my eyes for death points up His power of existence and life and the sustainership of all that is beautiful.

In this sense, something I do is either a habit of mine in my eyes or a bestowal from my sustainer and hence good. The good of something done again are the divine meanings (i.e. meanings that point to the divine) that are possible for me to read and affirm and be grateful about, again. And in that sense, what might be a physical repetition is not a repetition of meaning but a potential repetition of meaning (and realization of the divine). In each instance, a choice is involved, the potential to be heedless or in denial or failure is ever-present. In this sense, there is not habit but a new choice with new rewards of witnessing the divine or new darknesses and loss of divine meanings.

In my world, for now, something is either a good or a habit. But nothing can be a good habit.

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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