Loud voices, overlapped arguments, heightened emotions, inflated egos: the cause – unfair promotions, nepotism. While physically I am part of this unplanned Armageddon, emotionally I start detaching myself, without any warning, exactly like the sailboat leaves the shore. Without thinking, I pull out my secret weapon wrapped up in brown paper, a small, crunchy piece of dark Ritter chocolate with whole hazelnuts. Its taste carries a wisp of melancholy, certain tenderness, and an elevated state of the universal.
The chatter diminishes; the canned music fades. The velvety, creamy, rich piece of heaven somehow connects me to my inner desires, my romantic, sensual side. I feel caressed, loved, in touch with the meaning of life through my Ritter, a habit formed when I was seven years old. My mind rushes into memories so vivid they seem to belong to another dimension in time, in the way that Marcel Proust famously described tea and cake in Swann’s Way, the first volume of Remembrance of Things Past:
An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory—this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, and mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy?
An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.
If Swann’s pleasure transported him to his amazing childhood memories with his aunt, my piece of chocolate has given me the sweet and sour taste of oppression of a country whose borders were closed by a merciless communist regime combined with the warmth and love my uncle and aunt felt for me while they were shipping to Romania these chunky delights.
Ritter chocolate is not just any lump of chocolate. In my childhood in Transylvania, Dracula’s world, it stood for the outside world, the forbidden universe we were severed from. There was a story behind every piece, centering on the caring thoughts my uncle and aunt held for us of a sweeter future. Small packages containing Ritter Sport Minis would arrive from Germany. A royal blue wrapper meant plain milk chocolate; azure, plain medium dark chocolate; burgundy, plain dark chocolate; and so on. I knew all the specific forms of bliss just by the color.
My relatives abroad enjoyed a freedom we could not even imagine, but chocolate stood for the fact that it did exist and nourished our hopes for the future. Eating chocolate felt like a subversive act, linking me to my rebellion against the omnipotent regime. The chocolate was a ray of sunlight, and I was a sunflower, soaking it in. The less I was able to obtain it, the more I desired it, and so it became an addiction that followed me around like a long shadow.
I can eat chocolate and mindlessly connect to a condition of profound bliss while the rest of my brain grades homework or plans a presentation or endures an uncomfortable conversation.
Over three decades have elapsed since I was exposed to my first piece of Ritter chocolate, but without my conscious knowledge, my brain grasped and retained this substance-association, so that I could experience its powerful reward without analyzing the pros and cons. I can eat chocolate and mindlessly connect to a condition of profound bliss while the rest of my brain grades homework or plans a presentation or endures an uncomfortable conversation.
That piece of chocolate takes me to a sweet, secret garden of mine inside my brain where everything is perfectly aligned and in synch with the universe. It takes me upstream to the spring of my life’s river, back to a childhood that was pure, warm and non-judgmental. It takes me back in time to relieve the good feelings I have felt for the first time when I have tasted that piece of heaven. Fortunately, eating chocolate isn’t as destructive as alcohol or drugs, but if it were, could I ever be able to change a habit with such deep, powerful, and invisible roots?
Overcoming old habits starts with a conscious decision to observe and acknowledge them. First and foremost those habits are rivers springing from our person; we must find the rivers in the woods that provides momentum for our habitual fear and fear-based thoughts and responses to life. After detecting those rivers of habits, the next step is to begin to affect those rivers energetically, altering their currents.
We need to change habits at the source of the river instead of downstream. If downstream is our conscious mind, upstream is the unconscious mind, which has so much more power to affect us than our conscious thoughts will do! If going upstream will take us to the pure source of our existence where the long forgotten unique US lies, the downstream course will infect us even more with the pick-ups from our surrounding environment, will poison our untainted flow with societal debris, with cultural and religious “pebbles.”
Spirit is our essence, and energy is the way we communicate with and affect our essence. Our true selves aren’t our personalities or identities with formed habits, but our spirits and they are untainted, tarnished, and pure.
Aura Imbarus is a Clinical hypnotherapist, motivational speaker, and author of the Amazon best-seller – “Out of the Transylvania Night: A Story of Tyranny, Freedom, Love and Identity”