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Word or phrase to bring you back to the path vs. deprivation mindsent

New member here wondering if anyone has a saying or thought that helps keep them on the path when craving sneaks up on you.

My drugs of choice are sugar, procrastination, and pornography. I understand that my attachment to these highs and distractions are the problem.

The thing that often makes me slip in the moment is knowing that life is finite, so why not just enjoy the highs and take the lows as a necessary cost? The only answer I have is a notion that my life will be happier, that I will get more out of my finite time, if I let these things go. But that is only a notion I have, not necessarily one of actual experience.

So another way to ask my question, I think, is that when thinking deeply doesn't work with a sneaky attachment, is there anything I can try in the moment to stay on path?

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I ask myself just what it's contributing to help me with my practice. Usually, the answer is 'bugger all'.
    If it feels good, do it.
    When in doubt, don't.

    All things considered, when you come down to where the rubber meets the road, the ultimate weapon at your disposal, is willpower, an the ability to say 'no'.

    Ren_in_black
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Unfortunately there is no one word or phrase that will suddenly end craving.

    And we all have different kamma so something that might work for me won’t necessarily work for you.

    Have you tried mindfulness I.e. just being aware of the craving as it comes and goes? Because it will pass if you leave it be.

    The thing I have slowly come to realise over the years is that the peace and happiness of letting things be rather than chasing a short term high is much more satisfying. I’m still working on it but we have to be patient on this path.

    Is there a temple or monastery near you? If so I’d suggest at least a few days there living by the eight precepts could be very beneficial.

    Ren_in_black
  • AlexAlex Explorer UK Explorer
    edited February 11

    I usually just ask myself “is this moving me closer, or further away, from who I want to be ?”.

    Ren_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black New Georgia New

    @Bunks said:

    Is there a temple or monastery near you? If so I’d suggest at least a few days there living by the eight precepts could be very beneficial.

    The nearest temple is just far enough away to make it unfeasible (for now), and there just aren't many resources where I live. That's a big part of why I joined this forum.

    I appreciate everyone's insights.

    AlexBunks
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Yeah I understand.

    Unfortunately there’s no magic bullet with this stuff. If you think the “drugs of choice” you mentioned above are starting to really have a negative effect on your life, I’d suggest seeking professional help.

    Porn addiction is a serious issue in our society and one that needs to be spoken about more. Unfortunately the shame around it means this generally doesn’t happen.

    I wish you well 🙏❤️

    Ren_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black New Georgia New

    The more I think about this, the more I realize that what I most likely want is the ability to not give myself a chance to even think about Doing or Not-doing. Just an automatic Not-Do response.

    Which I realize is a form of conditioning and not truly helpful in the long-term. But it might get me to work on time. :D

  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    Some monks advise Asubha meditation in order to reduce lust. See the disgusting in the body. Then, when lust arises, one can automatically conjure an image of disgust to remove it.

    Other monks believe this has too many nasty side effects.

    lobsterRen_in_black
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:

    My drugs of choice are sugar, procrastination, and pornography. I understand that my attachment to these highs and distractions are the problem.

    Start using stevia and using natural sugars in fruit and veg. Your palate over time will change. You need to develop right concentration which is related to will power.
    For example I have used 5 elements concentration ... there are others ...
    https://tinyurl.com/tctpekd

    💗🦞

    personRen_in_black
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Sugar, procrastination and pornography, eh? It’s tricky when you start to procrastinate about the dharma, that often means you have some deep-seated doubts which are driving the uncertainty within you.

    I’m afraid I don’t have a single easy answer for you, but gaining insight into what these things are doing to you, how they keep you attached, is a good place to start. Just the mere fact that you see them as problems is already a good step.

    These problems are not impossible to tackle, if you try them one at a time and just take a break from each one in turn. If you decide to take a two-week break from sugar that will be long enough for your body to adjust to being sugar-less, and you will find things will just taste differently.

    BunkspersonlobsterRen_in_black
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I've been trying to live a healthier, more spiritual life for long enough now that I have actual experience to fall back on showing me how most bad habits are pleasant in the moment but lead to more unhappiness in the long run and good habits are generally difficult or unpleasant in the moment but lead to longer term happiness.

    Even knowing that I still allow myself cheat days where I can feel free to engage in those bad habits. I gradually worked my way up to longer periods of healthy behavior in between cheat days, so just abstaining for one or two days a week, then every other day, then a few days in a row, then just one day a week for the bad habits. Now during the week I rarely even think about my bad habits and I feel better for it. And as I can engage with my bad habits with mindfulness I can see much more clearly the suffering aspect involved, especially the negative aftermath on my physical and mental well being.

    I've been able to cut back a lot on my bad habits and my craving for them has reduced substantially, but I haven't been able to completely let them go. So maybe cold turkey would be a better option, or maybe its alright and I'm avoiding the perfect being the enemy of the good.

    BunkslobsterRen_in_black
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    New member here wondering if anyone has a saying or thought that helps keep them on the path when craving sneaks up on you.

    "Craving"....

    BunksRen_in_black
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    So another way to ask my question, I think, is that when thinking deeply doesn't work with a sneaky attachment, is there anything I can try in the moment to stay on path?

    Think deeper. Analyze the problem, and keep doing it for as long as it takes to get a handle on it, something you can actually work with. I use verbal, semi-verbal, and non-verbal formulas all the time to make course corrections - but the thing is, these formulas are temporary expedients only. They are useful for a day, a week, or maybe even two weeks, then they don't work any more.

    Why not? Because the problems change - they seem like the same old problems, but in fact they - and everything else - change constantly on a very subtle level. The verbal reminders have to change along with them. It takes constant work, constant attention, a running meditation in real time.

    lobsterBunksRen_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black New Georgia New

    @Bunks said:
    If you think the “drugs of choice” you mentioned above are starting to really have a negative effect on your life, I’d suggest seeking professional help.
    Porn addiction is a serious issue in our society and one that needs to be spoken about more. Unfortunately the shame around it means this generally doesn’t happen.

    Honestly it's not so much a negative effect so much as a stagnating effect. I don't feel like I'm on the - side of the integer line but I also don't feel like I am moving to the + side either.

    And I figured a Buddhist forum was a good place to be straight with people. :) I'm not exactly thrilled that I enjoy porn but the real issue for me is the attachment I have to the state of mind it provides. Same with the more socially acceptable sugar. Procrastination comes in many forms of course but my favorite lately has been Twitter, which is sneakier because it actually provides useful things like breaking news and perspectives from people of color and women that I find valuable.

    As many have said, I will just have to keep trying.

  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black New Georgia New

    @Kerome said:
    It’s tricky when you start to procrastinate about the dharma, that often means you have some deep-seated doubts which are driving the uncertainty within you.

    I'm afraid this is probably the case. But I'm not giving up. Seeking and then joining a forum like this was another indication to me that I am really just starting out.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    I am really just starting out

    Aren't we all.

    Welcome to the boat/raft ... Always room for beginners ...

    We are all drips in the ocean and we are all waves amidst friendly waters 🙋🏼‍♂️

    In other words, you are not a loan but a karmic payment system. Some know, as a constant failure, as a dakini/practitioner (that is just me) we encourage each others:

    Efforts
    Practice
    Reframing
    Positive Well Being.

    Here I am in my yab-yum form on a big pile of sweetness ...

    Here to be helpless 🤦🏼‍♀️💁‍♀️👼🏽

    Ren_in_black
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:

    @Bunks said:
    If you think the “drugs of choice” you mentioned above are starting to really have a negative effect on your life, I’d suggest seeking professional help.
    Porn addiction is a serious issue in our society and one that needs to be spoken about more. Unfortunately the shame around it means this generally doesn’t happen.

    Honestly it's not so much a negative effect so much as a stagnating effect. I don't feel like I'm on the - side of the integer line but I also don't feel like I am moving to the + side either.

    And I figured a Buddhist forum was a good place to be straight with people. :) I'm not exactly thrilled that I enjoy porn but the real issue for me is the attachment I have to the state of mind it provides. Same with the more socially acceptable sugar. Procrastination comes in many forms of course but my favorite lately has been Twitter, which is sneakier because it actually provides useful things like breaking news and perspectives from people of color and women that I find valuable.

    As many have said, I will just have to keep trying.

    It's difficult to give up the phone, television and social media.

    I find after a weekend at the monastery with no screens or phone I am so much calmer.

    Try locking your tv / phone / ipad etc away for a weekend? You'll be the better for it trust me!

    Ren_in_blacklobster
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:

    my favorite lately has been Twitter, which is sneakier because it actually provides useful things like breaking news and perspectives from people of color and women that I find valuable.

    I would have to disagree - 98% of this stuff you mention is not useful....it's just more junk food for the brain (with apologies to people of colour and women!)

    Ren_in_blacklobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    You can fool some of the people some of the time ... but who always starts with fooling themself?
    [lobster raises twittering claw from junk] 🤭🤐🤦🏼‍♀️

    BunksRen_in_black
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Ren_in_black would you know what certainty was? It’s basically this solid feeling of having made a choice without flipping backwards and forwards in the mind. It really comes down to calmness. Uncertainty and doubt and procrastination burns up a lot of energy as you mentally “run around”, there is a lot of wavering.

    Have you ever tried calmness meditation, shamatha? It might do you good...

    AlexlobsterBunksRen_in_black
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Ok, bit of straight-talking, here.

    @Ren_in_black it also sounds to me as if you might be under the impression that as newbie, you're the only one who suffers, or has suffered from these addictions or distractions.

    You're not.

    Every single one of us has had to, at one point or another, face the fact that were were failing, half-hearted, playing along... hating being pulled by the source of our diversion, but too lazy to give it up altogether and let it go, because, hey, it's not too harmful, and it feels kinda nice, doesn't it? So it can't be all bad, can it?

    It's this lazy, crazy half-measure that fucks things up.

    So it comes to this:
    You either wish to adopt a 'cleaner', more wholesome, dedicated, better-informed lifestyle - or you don't.

    If you do, the name of the game is study, will-power, determination and decision.
    If you don't, then, procrastinate away.
    But make sure your leg is strong.

    Because that's all you will ever be standing on, while you remain 'this or that'.
    or even, this AND that.

    You're a layperson. You are not governed by the strictures of an ordained man.

    But if you do decide to Follow a Buddhist Path, then lip-service is insufficient. Sometimes, the rubber hits the road, and the buck always, but always, stops with you.
    You have no-one to answer to. Nobody judges you, condemns you or can tell you what do do.

    But you have the 4 Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path and the 5 Precepts (at least) to steer by.

    Those 17 alone, are more than enough study for a lifetime. More, if you're lucky.
    So, rather than focus on what distracts you, turn, with just as much desire and enthusiasm, to what will deal with it.
    Focus.
    Simplify.
    And start your hike on the Right Foot.

    Nobody says this shit is easy.
    But at least, you won;t be on your own,

    AlexlobsterBunksRen_in_black
  • AlexAlex Explorer UK Explorer

    I think @federica advice there is rather excellent.

    When we meditate using the breath, the mind wanders, but we gently return our attention to the breath.

    With the ‘17’ that Federica refers to - I try and live by these and keep them in mind. Yes, I stumble and fail, but just like the breath meditation, I gently return my attention to the 17 and then endeavour to adhere to them with vigour.

    I tend to find that absorbing myself in something, shuts off radio noise from other distractions. I’d get on Amazon, get some Thich Nhat Hanh / Dalai Lama / Steve Hagen books ordered and throw myself into it.

    Highly recommended for the ‘17’ is TNH’s ‘the Heart of the Buddha’s teaching’ 👍

    lobsterBunksRen_in_black
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