Video: How We Get Hooked, & How to Unlearn Our Patterns

By Leo Babauta

In more ways than we often realize, we get caught up in our stories, and get latched into mental patterns that leave us frustrated, angry, full of resentment … or cause us to procrastinate.

In other words, getting caught up is the cause of lots of our problems.

I recorded a webinar this weekend for my Sea Change members about how we get hooked into our patterns of fear, reaction, resentment, and more … and how to start changing our patterns to something new.

I’d like to share this video with you because I believe it will be helpful for many. If you’re interested in more on this topic, join my Sea Change Program today to take my newly launched video course, the Path of Fearlessness.

I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:

  1. Part I: My talk on the patterns of getting hooked, how to interrupt them, and how to form new mental habits.
  2. Part II: I answered questions on practicing at work and elsewhere, forgiving yourself, big past fears resurfacing, and more!

But if you want to watch or listen to the full webinar in one piece, you can download the full video here, or the full audio here.

Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)

You can download this video here, or download just the audio. Or watch below.

Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):

  • Fear has so much power over us because it happens when we don’t notice, and we just immediately get caught up in it.
  • We procrastinate, we lash out, we get caught up in anxiety, we hide in our comfortable activities.
  • It’s a mental habit, of running from discomfort and running to comfort or pleasure. It’s hoping for something better, and then fearing we won’t get it.
  • Instead, we can be present with what is right in front of us … opening up to the task, to the situation unfolding, even to our feelings of fear and resentment and frustration.
  • There’s a feeling of getting hooked, and then going into a chain reaction of thoughts … the initial feeling of “I don’t like this” and then building up a case against the other person, against the situation we don’t like, or against ourselves.
  • It’s a physical feeling, this “getting hooked,” and we can learn to notice it. Spend the day today trying to catch yourself getting hooked, and pause. Notice how it feels. Try to become familiar with this, just as you start to get caught up in the chain reaction.
  • When you notice yourself getting hooked … and you learn to pause … you can actually change your patterns.

For me, I’ve noticed patterns of:

  • Procrastinating and wanting to avoid or run from discomfort
  • Anxiety
  • Rushing
  • Resentment
  • Comparing myself to others

In the webinar video, I talk about some of the replacement patterns I’ve been trying to form instead of these patterns.

Part II: Questions and Answers

You can download this video here, or download just the audio. Or watch below.

Questions answered in this video:

  • How to best remind yourself to pause and interrupt the patterns? It happens so automatically and fast. The idea of a practice day is great–but what about at work etc?

  • Besides focusing on the breath and pausing, is it helpful to ask ourselves “How can I best help this feeling in my body?”

  • I get especially hooked when there is some truth in “the story”. Any thoughts on this?

  • I like the idea of going below the story and I’ve done this and it works. Do you also find that sometimes you have to use the story to better understand the harmful patterns/attachments?

  • How do you go about forgiving yourself for automatically getting hooked in the past – for so much of your life?

  • The more I contemplate my fears, the more I seem to uncover. Am I missing something, or is this normal?

  • In the Fearless Sessions, I’ve been focusing on current fears, but after those seem less powerful, old big past fears are surfacing. I thought the old were gone, so does it ever end?
  • I learned that there are many people that are unenlightened and attempt to try to deny my importance. Am I justified to ignore them?

  • When we have the pattern of comparing ourselves and our ways of doing things with ours and when we feel better, sometimes I feel I can help others by telling them my/our way is better. But how can I tell whether my way is really better or I just feel so?

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