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Personal growth and the dangers of life’s routines March 20, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development, Personal Growth Books.
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One of the more pronounced areas of focus in personal development literature is habits: the need to reduce, minimize or eliminate bad or non-helpful habits; and the desirability of developing good habits.

We are told that if we want to help ourselves achieve progress in our human journey, attention must be paid to habits.

An interesting question is whether a good or seemingly harmless habit or routine could be undesirable or harmful.

There is an interesting take on this speculation in Carlos Castaneda’s book, Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan* in which Castaneda relates a conversation with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui sorcerer.

In a chapter entitled Disrupting the Routines of Life, don Juan discussed the importance of not having predictable routines, because such predictability can weaken us.

Don Juan uses the analogy of  a deer being hunted, and says that there are certain types of deer that are very rarely  caught or even seen  by hunters or animal predators.

“What do you think makes them so difficult to find?” don Juan asked.

Answer: “They have no routines. That’s what makes them magical.”

The implication is that if a deer came the to  the same water hole every day, or habitually slept in the same place, its routines would make it an easy target for predators, who would rely on the deer’s habits or routines in in order to kill it.

Perhaps less dramatic analogies could be made with our own personal habits or routines.

Something to think about.

* Note:

Castaneda wrote three major books which involve extensive “conversations” with don Juan Matus:

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge  

Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan

A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan.

There is some question among anthropological students and scholars as to whether don Juan Matus was an actual person or a composite personality Castaneda created, based on his anthropological research and knowledge of Mexican first peoples.

A Wikipedia article about Carlos Castaneda explores this in some detail

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