So, compulsion normally is based on habit, I think. We override the thought, and we go directly to the habit. In the same way, we have maybe muscle memory, we also have mind memory. Just to clarify, the muscles memory is like riding a bicycle – once you learn how to ride the bicycle, even twenty years later, even if you don’t ride at all, when you catch the bicycle, no problem, you know how to do it, because there’s a connection, the brain neurons already have a neural pathway, so it’s also there with the muscle, it’s connected. It’s like in the forest, you know, the more you walk your path, the easiest it is to walk.
The first time you walk, you must go with a machete. If you go into the Amazon, you must discover this; it’s a little bit like that, so you must create the new habit. The first time is very difficult but every time you walk that, the more you do, the easier it is, the faster it is. The compulsions can be like that, from past life can come.
So, the compulsion can be a positive compulsion or a negative compulsion, depending on the habits that you’ve created this life or last life or many lives before. Compulsion normally is things that you do without thinking, and then you let it be, you give in to the compulsion. For example, like you see an animal drowning in the water, without thinking you jump directly – even if you have the phone in your pants, I’m joking – you just, you jump directly, you don’t think, you are automatically saving, even your own life you don’t care, you forget, for one second you forget. Or the compulsion of maybe if you have the habit of smoking, even if you stopped smoking completely, suddenly you are in a group of people who are smoking, and you have the compulsion to smoke. Then you override the thought like, “Oh, I don’t know, why?” It’s a compulsion, then it comes; many examples like that, that’s what we must be aware of, the compulsion, where they come from.
Of course, sometimes, the positive compulsion can also be dangerous, so we have to always be in control of our mind, the habits, the compulsions. For many people, the compulsion is much stronger, very strong. Compulsion, many times it wins. I have many friends who are drug addicts; for them, the compulsion is so strong, they have no power over their mind because a compulsion based on a habit overpowers all. It’s also the same, for example, for positiveness. Like for Lama Zopa Rinpoche, his compulsion is he doesn’t want to sleep, it’s a waste of time, sleeping. Even for his own health, he doesn’t care. For his own comfort, he doesn’t care. A hundred per cent, thousand per cent, always, always compulsion, sentient beings, sentient beings, helping sentient beings all the time. This I can say, I personally, I knew Rinpoche for my whole life. Since I know him, every second, his compulsion’s to help, to be of benefit, service, all the time, all the time, non-stop. We are so lucky like that. His Holiness is the same. They completely dedicated their whole entire life for benefiting sentient beings. We are so lucky to be able to share this planet with them, to be alive at the same time, so precious, so precious! We can watch Livestream or on YouTube, the teachings anytime we want. I think it’s almost like a golden age if we can see it that way.
Of course, it’s also a habit that we overvalue negativity; a hundred good things happen, “Oh it’s OK”, and one bad thing happens and we’ll say, “Oh, my god!”, and then this becomes so important, so big, then there is no space for the positive. This also, we must switch this kind of mentality: even if a hundred bad things happen, if one positive happens, focus on that, “Wow, the positive happened!” In that way, the negative becomes meaningless, it dissolves, and then the positive becomes important, that’s what prevails, that’s what stays. It’s the way we see things based on how we think: the way we think creates the attitude, the state of mind, so it’s very important to be aware of that. So, the next time you get a compulsion, try to differentiate if it’s good or bad. Before you do it, think of the result, and if the intention isn’t egoist intention. If the intention is egoist, then most surely, the result is going to bring suffering. And the same goes for the positive: if the intention is positive, the result will bring satisfaction and happiness. So, compulsion is also, can be very dangerous, but is always based on the habit.