Did the title excite your senses? lol
I know essentially it's another form of craving, but I think there is a unique quality to titillation. I see it as a pleasurable feeling that instigates a craving. Sometimes we walk around with long-held cravings and desires but aren't actively seeking to fulfill them. Then a sight, sound, or thought surprises us and boom.
Depending on where we are in our practice, we might feel a struggle coming on, or feel frustrated that a desire showed up uninvited. But for a moment, the feeling before the craving is pleasurable. And it's instantaneous. You don't "give in" to titillation the way you might for a craving. It just happens.
I don't know, maybe staying mindful requires a different approach for titillation than it does for a craving that you sort of "know about" and can plan for? If that makes sense. If anyone has any insight on this, I'd love to hear your perspective.
I think this quality, titillation as the beginning of a craving, doesn’t really disappear until you reach the later stages of letting go. Then equanimity takes over and you start viewing things that used to titillate as more neutral. It then takes quite a long time to start assuming it’s former qualities.
Probably that’s why many spiritual people avoid titillating subjects.
Yes, I guess that's what I'm realizing. Doesn't that mean there is "effort" involved in reaching equanimity? As opposed to letting things come and letting things go. It's fine with me, if that's the case. I'm not critiquing the difference. Just wondering.
I think it is the muddy waters of the mind settling. No actual effort, but rather an avoidance of stirring the water. And titillation is the pleasurable frisson that eventually leads us into full-on desire. And desire can lead us to craving.
Notice the difference between titillation and the appreciation of beauty and attractive design. Beauty and elegance in one’s surroundings does not always arouse desire, look at Japanese Zen temples and gardens, which are beautiful places but also restful in their energy.
Titillation, in contrast, is something that stimulates and excites rather than brings home to the center of the heart. It is a revenge flick, as opposed to a nature documentary.
To titillate means 'to tickle'.
As in "to tickle one's fancy".
Many people assume it to have an anatomical connection.
I am easily titillated. All the usual, expected cravings and ravings.
What to do?
Found this in the discourse in that second link. A nice thought:
"So we’re not trying to get rid of desire (which would take another kind of desire, wouldn’t it). Instead, we are trying to transmute it, take it out of the shadow of gratification and need, and use its aspiration and vigor to bring us into light and clarity."
Hmm I'm reminded of this...
It's the desire/titillation that we currently struggle with that requires more attention. Desires that we overcame do not pose any real threat. In the same manner we can discern upon them to oblivion. Let them play out in our minds and see the outcome beforehand. If we are moving in the right direction we will do so feeling lighter and lighter free of titillation and desires.
Shoshin, great video! I had never heard of Alan Watts. Then you and another person both brought him up within the last two weeks.
I was really struck by how he placed nirvana closer to "breathing out" than "blowing out." Do you know if he got a lot of push back for this?
If you mean whether some disagree with his definition of Nirvana...Then I would have to say no doubt there are people who disagree with him....he was for the most part somewhat controversial, however many Dharma teachers have benefited from his understanding of Eastern philosophical thought...
Anyhow you may find his 1950s/60s TV series of interest ...
Thanks! I thought I'd heard of every notable Westerner in this tradition but somehow I've missed Watts all this time.
Also, I know it's public television, but still it's wild to me that there was a time when people like this had their own TV shows.
In those days TV was in its infancy, with regard to being able to air programmes of universal interest, and as its main purpose was to inform and entertain, they were quick to allow people and programme makers to air their views... Now...? Oh much improved, I'm sure * sarcasm *....