Swami Satchidananda is a respected yoga teacher, who studied under the Spiritual Master Swami Sivananda. In this short extract Swami Satchidanada offers a spiritual approach to breaking bad habits
How can you trick your baby so you can take away something that would hurt it? Suppose the baby is playing with something sharp. What kind of trick would you use? You would give her something nice to distract her.
In the same way, find some nice positive habits. Present them to the mind. Admire them ?Oh, look how terrific this habit is. So useful. Something to be proud of.? Certainly your little baby mind will jump to grab it. As soon as it jumps for the good habit, take away the bad one.
If you want to be rid of bad company, what should you do? Just get into good company; the bad company will automatically stay away. It?s simple. You won?t be available to the bad people because you will always be mingling with good people. That?s a very good beginning toward a very high goal. Sir Patanjali calls it pratipaksha bhavanam ? substituting positive thoughts for negative ones. Think of the opposite, develop the opposite. If you have hatred, develop love. That is the trick. You cannot simply beat the darkness, telling it to get out. Instead, just bring in a candle. Without even saying goodbye, the darkness will run away.