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RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)

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Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 3:49 AM
I've been cycling DN for almost a year now. I have had my ups and downs, and some nasty shifts into RO and back down into DN. I might have hit low eq a few times.

It seems like the fabrics of my personality have fallen apart and what's left is a dry disconnected mass of base emotions nurtured from birth. Sometimes I feel like it's all over and this is as good as being dead already, and nothing I do or dont do will change the fact.

Over a year ago since A&P I greatly reduced watching porn online. It doesn't feel the same anymore and I like to think I have no interest in orgasms anymore, because they are hardly comparable to before. I can go without jerking off for a few days before the desire fills me even though I know the actual joy from the act is fairly negligible. I guess It's because I'm young and my hormones are messing with me. If I dont do it, I keep getting distracted in the mind and eventually give in just to get rid of the desire. I know this is not the right way to overcome and it only comes back stronger than before, but the more days/weeks I spend without an orgasm the more tempting it gets.

I know some of you will suggest there's nothing wrong with it and one can freely indulge in a responsible manner. My argument is that since I'm already fairly free of most other desires, why should I let this one have any control over me or my mind?

Lastly, I have stopped meditating in the last week and I'm pretty much tired of it all. I do maybe 20-30 mins of anapana and vipassana combined after I wake up and before I sleep and metta whenever I feel like it. I find meditation boring and stressful and sometimes it gives me awful dreams. My concentration is also the worst it has ever been and I find it intimidating to solve any more than basic math problems.

I also dont feel like taking another retreat for a while as the last one was excruciating mentally.

What are my options?

Gratitude & Metta,

SN

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 7:38 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi SN,

It seems like the fabrics of my personality have fallen apart and what's left is a dry disconnected mass of base emotions nurtured from birth. Sometimes I feel like it's all over and this is as good as being dead already, and nothing I do or dont do will change the fact.
(...)
It doesn't feel the same anymore and I like to think I have no interest in orgasms anymore, because they are hardly comparable to before. I can go without jerking off for a few days before the desire fills me even though I know the actual joy from the act is fairly negligible. I guess It's because I'm young and my hormones are messing with me. If I dont do it, I keep getting distracted in the mind and eventually give in just to get rid of the desire. I know this is not the right way to overcome and it only comes back stronger than before, but the more days/weeks I spend without an orgasm the more tempting it gets.
(...)
Lastly, I have stopped meditating in the last week and I'm pretty much tired of it all. I do maybe 20-30 mins of anapana and vipassana combined after I wake up and before I sleep and metta whenever I feel like it. I find meditation boring and stressful and sometimes it gives me awful dreams. My concentration is also the worst it has ever been and I find it intimidating to solve any more than basic math problems.

I also dont feel like taking another retreat for a while as the last one was excruciating mentally.

What are my options?


It seems like you are studying yourself very well, including studying your rejection of self-study and stress arising from self-study/systems/methods. There is nothing satisfactory in following any system and there is often revulsion of anything we feel we cannot escape, but self-study like yours reported here is, to me, very spot-on. So I think your option is to continue with your study. If you can continue to sit meditation with no intention, and just sit now --- spend time relaxing the body and mind first such as with stretching and some exercise --- this is a period of self-study that is valuable, but may at first seem repulsive/dry/stressful.

If you have sweet, simple friendships, a quiet meal, a nice walk try to enjoy those very simply. Simplicity, not-adding-to/simple enjoyments can be a huge vacation/satisfying conduct.

About orgasms, nothing you have written indicates to me misconduct nor addiction, so you seem to have a harmless, useful lab in which to study yourself here, as well. It's only been a year since how you once related to porn. Personally, I think your option here is to keep studying what you are in this safe, unaddicted personal lab. At some point, you are likely to experiment with strict celibacy and strict restraint --- it is like a food fast --- because you'll probably want the knowledge that you are not ruled by "an act is fairly negligible" and then you may have a gentler regard for sexual fulfillment which is not misconduct nor addiction. And at some point you are likely to start considering what characteristics/actions make for satisfactory relationships with self/other (sex and non-sexual action). And that is a simple, subtle, often sweet creativity coming out of the lab of self-study.

There's a reactive period of meditation in which one studies sort of reactively/in hindsight what one is doing/feeling, a period of awareness of gross patterns, a deflation of gross patterns (releasing), an empty "what next/then what am I?", then creative potential with simpler thinking/feeling/acting/interacting, a sense of fresh/simplicity...and you are in such a process with yourself. It's a funny, open thing. Good luck.


_________
Edit: including more of your op, some clarification

Edit: and something from my own lab, SN --- if I am causing stress from my own perception/buy-in to stressful
perceptions, then I would be much more likely to pleasure-seek (which can become a perpetually dissatisfied state in which even former pleasures cannot please); food and sex are very pleasurable to the human animal; so if lots of people were dealing with stressing narratives/behaviours/perceived contexts then we could have society-wide obesity and a massive porn industry, and then some commercial sectors which benefit from encouraging stress. Oddly, terrible external stress has the opposite effect: I find that I have pacified and enjoyed simple things in the presence of/after terrible external events, and have no desire to encourage those events in order to have simple satisfaction; that simple great satisfaction can stay depending on my re-creation of perceived internal "little" stresses. So strangely, so-called minor stresses like dissatisfaction, boredom, creating adverse or inflated perceptions--- these "little" stresses can stir havoc. And so that's part of my lab, self-study, what do I create/cause? What are my options to create/cause?

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 7:48 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing: Use the insight you have developed to cultivate jhana. It will provide a relatively harmless replacement for the sustenance you are grasping after when you pursue orgasm. This sustenance is something you have to give up in the end, like everything else, but it will be easier to do so when the time comes. It will also provide a much more stable and useful state of mind for the insight work you've been doing.

Feeding on Rapture (i.e., piti)

...if you don't feed [the mind] well, it starts going around looking for scraps in the garbage can, not only your own garbage cans, other people's garbage cans. It becomes a homeless mind.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 8:10 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
With masturbation I think you don't have much of a problem since you're not doing it every day and it's not an addiction. It's good you got off porn because as science has shown it can bore your mind towards sex. When you're in a good sexual relationship then much of this will be moot. Dropping porn is also dropping unrealistic images which will help with reducing desire so keep on avoiding it.

You're not the only one trying to find ways to reduce lust: emoticon

Don't break the chain.

With the practice just keep things subtle and allow your habits to be as they are while noticing how ALL of it is hitting the knowing part of your mind (consciousness) and if it is then it is not a self. These include intentions as well as thoughts. Let the mind wander here and there all the while just watching the mental movements and with enough watching your brain will gradually get disenchanted with repetitive thoughts and volitions. Try and go more subtle and just notice how thoughts feel in your body so you can train yourself to see how fixation on likes and dislikes creates mental stress. The trick when seeing this is to just see it and to not stop it but to let it stop on it's own. It's a balance where you don't repress what you don't like in your practice but at the same time you don't add any fixation to perceptions of likes and dislikes so the stress just drops on it's own. The more experience you pay attention to throughout the day the more insight you can gain. Pay attention all day so the brain can get you to equanimity of likes and dislikes sooner and beyond. The brain needs a lot of practice. BTW if you look at what shows up automatically and how it affects your choices you'll be looking directly at dependent origination.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 8:10 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Dear Katy,

Thanks for taking out the time to guide me. I am immensely grateful for your contribution.

Over a year ago, I was an entirely different person. My friends and parents know it better than I do. I was an incredibly passionate, creative, and funny guy who was always happy no matter what. Right now, I'm probably that same body but whoever lived here is gone !

In the conventional way, I wouldn't consider myself as someone who is dealing with stress issues. There are no unfulfilled wants or necessities and I live a comfortable existence. My parents are relatively happy and I have no work related stress. Yet, the "little" stress you talk about seems to be causing a great havoc.

I have had the same observation as you regarding the terrible external stress events. I have been calm and smiling through the worse tragedies in my life and it's always nice to come back from them, but it's the little daily things that beat us around.

I love the term "Personal lab". Ever since A&P I have been getting rid of all unwholesome patterns and this seems to be the only thing left even if it's "negligible" in comparison to the other unwholesome things we can get ourselves into. I feel any unwholesome habit is a tool for the ego to strengthen itself. This includes even the small sub reactions of jealousy or ill will that seems almost ingrained into us.

And at some point you are likely to start considering what characteristics/actions make for satisfactory relationships with self/other (sex and non-sexual action). And that is a simple, subtle, often sweet creativity coming out of the lab of self-study.


Spot on. Let's hope I get these lab results while I am still a bachelor.

There's a reactive period of meditation in which one studies sort of reactively/in hindsight what one is doing/feeling, a period of awareness of gross patterns, a deflation of gross patterns (releasing), an empty "what next/then what am I?", then creative potential with simpler thinking/feeling/acting/interacting, a sense of fresh/simplicity...and you are in such a process with yourself. It's a funny, open thing. Good luck.


This has been going on for some time now. "What Next" has been my motto since as far as I can remember.

If you have sweet, simple friendships, a quiet meal, a nice walk try to enjoy those very simply. Simplicity, not-adding-to/simple enjoyments can be a huge vacation/satisfying conduct.


I do get some satisfaction out of doing mundane things like taking a walk on the beach. Looking at nature and feeding birds/small animals. I have also been making some food and find it to be a nice outlet to let go of my stray energy. Lately I bought some seeds and looking after them, watching them grow and mature into plants is perhaps the most exciting thing in my life. Last year I stopped enjoying food and had to eat as a necessity but lately I have gotten used to the diluted levels of sensory appreciation.

So I think your option is to continue with your study.


I thought so too. emoticon

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 9:11 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
fivebells .:
Sweet Nothing: Use the insight you have developed to cultivate jhana. It will provide a relatively harmless replacement for the sustenance you are grasping after when you pursue orgasm. This sustenance is something you have to give up in the end, like everything else, but it will be easier to do so when the time comes. It will also provide a much more stable and useful state of mind for the insight work you've been doing.

Feeding on Rapture (i.e., piti)

...if you don't feed [the mind] well, it starts going around looking for scraps in the garbage can, not only your own garbage cans, other people's garbage cans. It becomes a homeless mind.


Thanks for the wonderful talk. I am assuming the speaker is Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

I often try to see where in the body "I" am located. I narrow down to my throat and head. The feeling of me seems particularly strong around the throat but I am not able to "dissolve" it just by mere observation like with other sensations. I will definitely invest myself into cultivating Jhana and experiencing Piti.

I'm no longer keen on dissecting myself with Vipassana as I feel it is creating a lot of stress on my mind and body.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 10:27 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
This has been going on for some time now. "What Next" has been my motto since as far as I can remember.

(...)

I do get some satisfaction out of doing mundane things like taking a walk on the beach. Looking at nature and feeding birds/small animals. I have also been making some food and find it to be a nice outlet to let go of my stray energy. Lately I bought some seeds and looking after them, watching them grow and mature into plants is perhaps the most exciting thing in my life. Last year I stopped enjoying food and had to eat as a necessity but lately I have gotten used to the diluted levels of sensory appreciation.

Bold emphasis added.

This is a wonderful, but weird, common lab phenomenon: big learning curves and their underlying 'problems' are smoothed, followed by What to do, what to do? What has value? What has meaning? What next? What is worthwhile next? What is boredom?
It's an open time, study-lab-going-towards-art/creation.

This is good stress: provoking the mind (aka: mind is seeking) to relocate novelty, new action, new course, new discernment, closer looking, expanded looking.
But it can become over-stress without attention and with avoidance.
One is learning what is satisfaction, how do I give rise to dissatisfaction?

I am immensely grateful for your contribution.
Ditto. Thanks for your lab work. When you/me/people cause internal satisfaction/contented actions a lot of internal and outgoing community trouble stops or gets recognized in earlier stages, before bigger trouble is caused.

Then there is just room for improvement and expanding curiosity, natural outcomes of practice and effort so long as there is some basic health.


Thank you emoticon

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 10:31 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Yes, it's Thanissaro.

It's not a bad idea to set vipassana aside for a little while if it helps to develop Right Concentration. But the vipassana is actually useful to refining the concentration.

Your only protection here is to regard these assumptions [underlying states of concentration] as forms of perception, and to dismantle them as well. And here is where the four noble truths prove their worth, as tools for dismantling any assumption by detecting the stress that accompanies it. Ask if there's still some subtle stress in the concentration that has become your dwelling place. What goes along with that stress? What vagrant movements in the mind are creating it? What persistent movements in the mind are creating it? You have to watch for both.

In this way you come face to face with the perceptions that keep even the most subtle states of concentration going. And you see that even they are stressful. If you replace them with other perceptions, though, you'll simply exchange one type of stress for another. It's as if your ascending levels of concentration have brought you to the top of a flag pole. You look down and see aging, illness, and death coming up the pole, in pursuit. You've exhausted all the options that perception can offer, so what are you going to do? You can't just stay where you are. Your only option is to release your grip. And if you're letting go fully, you let go of gravity, too.


Audio

...this is why we try to comprehend the five aggregates, the six sense media in
terms of those three perceptions: to see that they're just soiled old rags. At
the same time, we're looking for where the gratification is in holding onto them
— our ignorant misunderstanding that they're something of value. Then you want
to comprehend the drawbacks of craving these things until you really do develop
a sense of dispassion. With the dispassion, you start letting go of the craving.
That's the second duty with regard to the noble truths: to let go of the cause
of suffering.

To get the mind in the right place to be able to do this and not feel threatened
by the idea of letting go, you develop the path, a healthy sense of self that
comes with virtue, the sense of well-being that comes with concentration that
also allows you to settle down and look at things clearly. You look first at
your other attachments — to things aside from the path — so that you're ready
for the insight that sees, "Oh, this isn't worth holding on to. All these things
that I've identified as me or mine: They're just soiled, oily rags. Or like that
Far Side cartoon of a cow, out in the pasture with a lot of other cows. It
suddenly jerks back its head, with a startled look on its face, and it spits out
a mouthful of grass, saying, "Grass! This is just grass! We've been eating
grass!" You see that the things you've been holding on to are just that: grass.
Nothing really worth holding on to, especially considering all the effort that
goes into trying to create a reliable happiness out of these things.


[url=http://dhammatalks.org/Archive/090420%20A%20Soiled,%20Oily%20Rag%20(3%20Perceptions%20in%20Context).mp3]Audio

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/29/13 11:26 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi!

About sexual stuff in general: you can take the sensations building up sexual arousal and making them flow throught your body, directing them to more sensible areas of your body (hands and foot for me are very useful), expanding them and so on, until the thing becomes very plaesent and whole-bodied.
What I have found is something like this: if sexual sensations can flow, they are just very plaesent sensations moving throught your body; the moment they become painful is when they hit some kind of blockage, and then desire/irritation arise; if you find the point when plaesent sexual sensations hit a wall and turn into desire, you can use your attention/intention to make them flow there, and then desire is gone, and you are left with blissful sensations flowing.
So, to answer the question: the more you get used to enjoy sexual arousal, the less there is desire.

What can go wrong (meaning, what went wrong in my experience):
-if you put your attention on a single spot for a long time, it can get dangerous; if attention is more open, moving, then it's safe
-bad emotions can arise as a consequence of theese practices, as they can arise as a consequence of any other kind of meditation; however, there is something really particoularthat happens when they are combined with sexual excitement that makes them plaesent and painful at the same time in a very weird way, like you want them to stop but when you get away you want more...
-Painful sensations can arise in the body, in a way that is similar to how they can arise as a consequence of the Goenka tecnique
-since theese sensations are unlikely to go away at will, at the beginning you might find yourself nervous in daily life

On the other hand I noticed that, if I have semi-orgasmic sensations going on in daily life, they tend to make me more soft and open, in the same opposite way that if you have some chronic pain this will likely make you hard and irritable... as far as I can tell, apart for the fact that are obviously plaesent, this is one of the best thing that comes from sexual-oriented practices.

For more info on sexual stuff, see Yogani's tantra lessons...

Bye!

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/30/13 2:11 AM as a reply to fivebells ..
Richard Zen:
With masturbation I think you don't have much of a problem since you're not doing it every day and it's not an addiction. It's good you got off porn because as science has shown it can bore your mind towards sex. When you're in a good sexual relationship then much of this will be moot. Dropping porn is also dropping unrealistic images which will help with reducing desire so keep on avoiding it.



I know it's harmless and doctors even recommend masturbation to keep everything in working order as well as to prevent premature ejaculation. Even if it's not every day but once or twice a week, I still consider it an addiction. I just dont want to be controlled by anything, more so for something so transient as an orgasm. At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.

You're not the only one trying to find ways to reduce lust: emoticon

Don't break the chain.


Awesome stuff.. I could definitely use some of this.


With the practice just keep things subtle and allow your habits to be as they are while noticing how ALL of it is hitting the knowing part of your mind (consciousness) and if it is then it is not a self. These include intentions as well as thoughts. Let the mind wander here and there all the while just watching the mental movements and with enough watching your brain will gradually get disenchanted with repetitive thoughts and volitions. Try and go more subtle and just notice how thoughts feel in your body so you can train yourself to see how fixation on likes and dislikes creates mental stress. The trick when seeing this is to just see it and to not stop it but to let it stop on it's own. It's a balance where you don't repress what you don't like in your practice but at the same time you don't add any fixation to perceptions of likes and dislikes so the stress just drops on it's own. The more experience you pay attention to throughout the day the more insight you can gain. Pay attention all day so the brain can get you to equanimity of likes and dislikes sooner and beyond. The brain needs a lot of practice. BTW if you look at what shows up automatically and how it affects your choices you'll be looking directly at dependent origination.


This is exactly what I've been doing. One reason why I cut down on Vipassana is because it made me so aware that I would be hearing my thoughts all night while asleep, and I was getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn't stop it. I guess I was getting frustrated and creating stress because I was trying to repress it, and in future I'll add acceptance and keep the balance. Thanks.

fivebells .:
Yes, it's Thanissaro.

It's not a bad idea to set vipassana aside for a little while if it helps to develop Right Concentration. But the vipassana is actually useful to refining the concentration.


Excellent talks as usual. I love the tone of his voice. It's soothing and reminiscent of how awake he is. I will definitely read his book and listen to his dhamma talks whenever I can. I feel I am developing dispassion without right knowledge, which is leading to stress and Thanissaro's words are a huge help with this. It's all grass ! emoticon

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/30/13 2:24 AM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
Hi!

About sexual stuff in general: you can take the sensations building up sexual arousal and making them flow throught your body.


The sensations are not so evident. What's more evident is the background chatter in my mind and sexual mental imagery. Sound advice none the less. I will give it a try when I'm able to catch/identify these sensations.


For more info on sexual stuff, see Yogani's tantra lessons...

Bye!


Interesting stuff. Currently I am learning to be equanimous to pleasant and unpleasant sensations. Wouldn't creating more pleasant sensations/abiding in such a state, also give rise to craving for those sensations ?

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
7/30/13 3:54 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:
Wouldn't creating more pleasant sensations/abiding in such a state, also give rise to craving for those sensations ?


In my experience, equanimity is not really a problem in relation to pain, strong emotions, blissful sensations and the like; what tend to create a problem are subtle sensations, 'cause equanimity is basically what happens when you percieve things clearly, and subtle sensations are harder to percieve clearly; so, my guess would be, the more you make them obvious, the easier being equanimous will become.

EDIT
However, it's completely possible that you'll end up being irritable and with eccessive amounts of desire/adversion and whatnot; my advice would be to try a few times, and if the thing doesn't get better, obviously there is no reason to insist.

Oh, another thing: if the problem is mainly on the mental side of the thing, you can also try to amplify that, and observing it in the process; I have found many times that, when a pattern of physical sensations was not clear, enlarging the mental side of it led to physical sensations becoming much more obvious and observable...

Bye!

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/1/13 3:25 PM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
Hi!

About sexual stuff in general: you can take the sensations building up sexual arousal and making them flow throught your body, directing them to more sensible areas of your body (hands and foot for me are very useful), expanding them and so on, until the thing becomes very plaesent and whole-bodied.
What I have found is something like this: if sexual sensations can flow, they are just very plaesent sensations moving throught your body; the moment they become painful is when they hit some kind of blockage, and then desire/irritation arise; if you find the point when plaesent sexual sensations hit a wall and turn into desire, you can use your attention/intention to make them flow there, and then desire is gone, and you are left with blissful sensations flowing.
So, to answer the question: the more you get used to enjoy sexual arousal, the less there is desire.


tnx will try it out.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/2/13 12:44 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:
Richard Zen:
With masturbation I think you don't have much of a problem since you're not doing it every day and it's not an addiction. It's good you got off porn because as science has shown it can bore your mind towards sex. When you're in a good sexual relationship then much of this will be moot. Dropping porn is also dropping unrealistic images which will help with reducing desire so keep on avoiding it.



I know it's harmless and doctors even recommend masturbation to keep everything in working order as well as to prevent premature ejaculation. Even if it's not every day but once or twice a week, I still consider it an addiction. I just dont want to be controlled by anything, more so for something so transient as an orgasm. At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.

You're not the only one trying to find ways to reduce lust: emoticon

Don't break the chain.


Awesome stuff.. I could definitely use some of this.


With the practice just keep things subtle and allow your habits to be as they are while noticing how ALL of it is hitting the knowing part of your mind (consciousness) and if it is then it is not a self. These include intentions as well as thoughts. Let the mind wander here and there all the while just watching the mental movements and with enough watching your brain will gradually get disenchanted with repetitive thoughts and volitions. Try and go more subtle and just notice how thoughts feel in your body so you can train yourself to see how fixation on likes and dislikes creates mental stress. The trick when seeing this is to just see it and to not stop it but to let it stop on it's own. It's a balance where you don't repress what you don't like in your practice but at the same time you don't add any fixation to perceptions of likes and dislikes so the stress just drops on it's own. The more experience you pay attention to throughout the day the more insight you can gain. Pay attention all day so the brain can get you to equanimity of likes and dislikes sooner and beyond. The brain needs a lot of practice. BTW if you look at what shows up automatically and how it affects your choices you'll be looking directly at dependent origination.


This is exactly what I've been doing. One reason why I cut down on Vipassana is because it made me so aware that I would be hearing my thoughts all night while asleep, and I was getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn't stop it. I guess I was getting frustrated and creating stress because I was trying to repress it, and in future I'll add acceptance and keep the balance. Thanks.


The quickest things to see that are often unconscious that you need to make conscious of is feeling tone and perception. Start with perception and notice throughout the day when the "I crave this" and "I hate this" recognitions appear in your mind. When you're just starting to feel stress (clinging) you probably can recall which perception happened just before the stress. When you get good at this you can actually get a similar feeling to equanimity (or at least that's my experience) by paying attention to that. Again you don't add fixation or any blocking just watch it naturally go away. Next go into the most difficult one: feeling tone. Pay attention to how thoughts feel in your body and how the other 5 sensations feel. How pleasant or unpleasant you feel has a big determination on the type of perceptions you'll latch onto. I would also echo others in saying that jhana can help.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/2/13 1:21 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:

I know it's harmless and doctors even recommend masturbation to keep everything in working order as well as to prevent premature ejaculation. Even if it's not every day but once or twice a week, I still consider it an addiction. I just dont want to be controlled by anything, more so for something so transient as an orgasm. At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.


At the risk of sounding obvious: If you're on this quest, as I have been for many years, porn is dangerous even in small quantities. I only discovered this fairly recently. The desire you speak of, the feeling that it has been so many days or even weeks since the last orgasm, thoughts like these are reduced to a much lower level if I stop looking at any porn whatsoever.

Other than that, I agree that masturbation is relatively harmless. It's not like you're smoking cigarettes or watching the news.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/11/13 10:07 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Hi there! I highly recommend cutting out masturbation and any other such pollutants completely. Your life will be changed, keep on it. I find he easiest way to do so is to declare celibacy. Just do it the way the buddha would want you to and watch as joy arises in your life. Dont stare at girls, work on your metta and morality, be happy as joy continues to flow over time, and watch as lust starts to go away over time. It is hard at first, but it gets easier gradually, and you will look back astounded at how far you have come in your goal.

Your post resonated with me, because it is very similar to how I myself have felt. You might find that with only cutting out your self pollution, a majority of your internal issues will be solved. Try it out, please! Feel the benifits, feel the love and clean innocence it spreads into your life. Your practice will naturally increase and improve as well. Some days will be so much more difficult then you can imagine, but keep your resolve. If you dont quit, if you dont stop now, then when will you? Everytime could be your last failure, you just have to choose to keep on going and succeed. A much better, happier life awaits you!

with peace and love

sohil nanavati

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/12/13 2:32 AM as a reply to sohil shrenik nanavati.
sohil shrenik nanavati:
Hi there! I highly recommend cutting out masturbation and any other such pollutants completely. Your life will be changed, keep on it. I find he easiest way to do so is to declare celibacy. Just do it the way the buddha would want you to and watch as joy arises in your life. Dont stare at girls, work on your metta and morality, be happy as joy continues to flow over time, and watch as lust starts to go away over time. It is hard at first, but it gets easier gradually, and you will look back astounded at how far you have come in your goal.

Your post resonated with me, because it is very similar to how I myself have felt. You might find that with only cutting out your self pollution, a majority of your internal issues will be solved. Try it out, please! Feel the benifits, feel the love and clean innocence it spreads into your life. Your practice will naturally increase and improve as well. Some days will be so much more difficult then you can imagine, but keep your resolve. If you dont quit, if you dont stop now, then when will you? Everytime could be your last failure, you just have to choose to keep on going and succeed. A much better, happier life awaits you!

with peace and love

sohil nanavati


I agree entirely with you. This is what I have been trying to do, but after a few weeks the mental tension builds up and my thoughts go haywire and I find some excuse like it doesn't matter that much. Maybe this is because I am not being regular with meditation practice and I lose my equanimity. The main reason is of course the environment we live in. Pretty much the entire cosmetics and entertainment industry revolves around sex. Orgasms are considered the epitome of pleasure in the society and whether they admit it or not everyone is looking out to "getting laid". This is why as humans have evolved more cultural freedom and buried the old taboos, wearing more revealing clothing and sometimes even barely any clothing has come to become an acceptable practice in many societies. Pornography has become mainstream so mainstream that parents no longer care about their children watching porn.Some female minds judge their self worth solely by the no. of eye balls that stared at them that day. All this is contributing to the silent epidemic of depression that is prevalent in the collective society.

I found that it helps a lot if I avoid watching tv shows or other content that deal with sex in a way that gives rise to impulse, and it also helps to contemplate the true nature of the human body (beneath the skin). I am planning another 10 day retreat in 2 months from now, and will try to keep my resolve until then.

If you dont mind, which part of India are you from ?

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/12/13 5:02 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
A lot of responses here propose some kind of renunciation (quit watching porn, quit consuming sexual material, quit masturbating, quit staring at women, etc.), as if the things, activities and persons themselves were the problem and not your relationship with them (and the reasons behind the existence of said relationship).

This is not a social problem per se either. It doesn't matter (that much) if in western countries we have a sexual-oriented culture. It only matters to detect the shape that your human condition takes in a given society (there needs to be a condition in order to create a conditioning in the first place). So, lust is lust and it's been present in every person in every society in the history of humankind, regardless of geography and culture. What, then, is the main reason for that gravity towards sexual activity that you are suffering?

This line by you it's a great point to start that investigation, as it is what we all have in common and the root cause behind this kind of human distress:

At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.


Maybe trying to investigate that on an experiential level --and not just intellectual-- could give you some answers.

Regards,

Felipe

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/13/13 12:40 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Im actually from Michigan :p

You will find that over time, similar to how we build concentration, your ability to remain clean and continent will naturally increase over time. The longer you go onward, counter intuitively , the easier it will become. Your resolve will increase as with right intentions, even each failure will bring you closer to your goal. (This is similar to how when working on concentration, each distraction noted as impermanent brings us closer to our goal). What this also means, is that over time the shame and guilt felt by each failure will increase DRAMATICALLY, to the point in which you will decide, at some point in life, that you are DONE. Done for good, and will resolve to never commit such an act again. Shame is the true mark of the contemplative when he is aware he has done wrong.

Getting to such a point is unpleasant, and painful. I recommend just sticking it out one attempt and just quitting before falling of your path in life and failing delivers horrendous consequences, at the very least mentally, and possibly physically in your life. (Ie; divorce, losing job, etc).

There is no reason to fail! To masturbate! When you become more clear of mind, when the haze and dust arises from your mind you will see that. It truly is a foul act, we have somehow convinced ourselves it is not.

Dont worry though! That mental urge is just your clinging to your desire, your fetters (I guess?) arising. Can you see how hard it is to get rid of such an attachment? How difficult? Do you sense how easy it becomes for the mind to trick itself into allowing something clearly not right into occurring?

As long as you resolve yourself to your goal of living a life free of self pollution, truly resolve ones self to that goal, and bring heedfulness and mindfulness to this goal, you will success. But be honest to yourself, it is very easy to fool ones self especially with this subject, personal and intimate as it is.

And that is not even taking into account how easy it is to just ignore the issue all together and rationalize this act into being a *healthy desire*

you can see that in action by just taking a look at all the posters here, none of which are willing to commit to such a seemingly difficult task and most of which will without a second of hesitation, bring up something or the other telling you that "its okay" because they dont like to take into account and deal with the connotations that it brings up about themselves. Similar to how a stoner reacts when his old buddy who quit the drug tells him to quit. (not the best analogy but this is a hard one!)

The immensity of how attached we all are to lust astounds me, daily. You are right, our entire society seems to revolve around it. But something amazing happens when you start to let insight affect these fettered areas.

You can still watch tv, I watch shows such as Game of thrones but hilariously enough I have reverted to the 6 year old me version of doing things, and tend to cover my eyes at the unwholesome parts (HAH!)

With best wishes and goodwill, feel free to message me with any questions about this form of renunciation, Many including myself find defeating masturbation one of, if not the hardest thing to quit of all but I promise it can be done and a richness of life like none other will follow. If you remember this, it may help because it is always true: You will always feel better if you restrain yourself than if you had fallen to your most vile desires. Watch as true self esteem blossoms into your newly virtue fulfilling life!

with metta
sohil nanavati

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/13/13 3:39 AM as a reply to sohil shrenik nanavati.
sohil shrenik nanavati:
. What this also means, is that over time the shame and guilt felt by each failure will increase DRAMATICALLY, to the point in which you will decide, at some point in life, that you are DONE. Done for good, and will resolve to never commit such an act again. Shame is the true mark of the contemplative when he is aware he has done wrong.


This is perhaps the reason I started the thread. It was a combination of frustration, shame and dissatisfaction.



Dont worry though! That mental urge is just your clinging to your desire, your fetters (I guess?) arising. Can you see how hard it is to get rid of such an attachment? How difficult? Do you sense how easy it becomes for the mind to trick itself into allowing something clearly not right into occurring?

As long as you resolve yourself to your goal of living a life free of self pollution, truly resolve ones self to that goal, and bring heedfulness and mindfulness to this goal, you will success. But be honest to yourself, it is very easy to fool ones self especially with this subject, personal and intimate as it is.

And that is not even taking into account how easy it is to just ignore the issue all together and rationalize this act into being a *healthy desire*


I feel that the environment we are in also has an influence on our intention or the intensity of lust in our minds. For example, whenever I am holidaying or in a tourist zone I feel that the influence is the highest, possibly because of the collective intentions of the people who inhabit that micro society. Possibly because of my mind experiencing freedom from authority or possibly both. When I am at home and engaged in the daily grind, the influence is relatively low in comparison and almost eliminated if I meditate routinely.


Similar to how a stoner reacts when his old buddy who quit the drug tells him to quit. (not the best analogy but this is a hard one!)


Funny how this relates to me. I was a light stoner for a year before I began walking the path. I became so accustomed to the drug that towards the end my baseline was almost the same as the high and yet I got cranky when denied the opportunity to get high. At the time I felt it was completely harmless or at least "less harmful than tobacco" (in a similar way that masturbation is less harmful than watching porn). Now I know that I was simply kidding myself, and my life would still be in a downward spiral had I not been introduced to the path. I see a lot of people getting into drug related depression and then assuming they are in DN. I have to watch so many of my friends suffer as they get deeper into addiction, graduate into other substances and some even starting to deal without having a clue of the suffering they are creating for themselves and their families. I tried explaining them, they think they understand but they wont until they get sober. One of my stoner buddies went for a 10 day course but he couldn't make it past day 3 and returned home to get high on day 4. He still feels meditation is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable activity and when things get hard it means it's not right. The only option left for me is to share metta with them and will that they make their way out.



You can still watch tv, I watch shows such as Game of thrones but hilariously enough I have reverted to the 6 year old me version of doing things, and tend to cover my eyes at the unwholesome parts (HAH!)


Wow, GoT simply supercharges the urge for me. Especially the first season with Deanerys being undressed at every possible opportunity. I'm glad she has refused to do it anymore and wants to be known for her acting !

With best wishes and goodwill, feel free to message me with any questions about this form of renunciation, Many including myself find defeating masturbation one of, if not the hardest thing to quit of all but I promise it can be done and a richness of life like none other will follow. If you remember this, it may help because it is always true: You will always feel better if you restrain yourself than if you had fallen to your most vile desires. Watch as true self esteem blossoms into your newly virtue fulfilling life!

with metta
sohil nanavati


Well, thanks but, what do you feel about marriage? Marriage is born out of a selfish kind of love, which is generally born out of lust.

If I choose to be celibate, I would prefer not to marry and give rise to more unhelpful sankharas that will anchor me on the path. However, there's a small biological and a much larger social need for it in the lay life, especially if you're born in a traditional Indian family like me.

Btw, from one of the threads I came across it seemed you were leaning more towards Actualism. What are your current thoughts on the vs debate?

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
8/13/13 11:54 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
I actually do lean towards marriage! Unless of course I end up taking the major vows...

As lay people I see nothing wrong towards that end, the celibacy we may choose to uptake is just to not go chasing girls, picking them up, staring, lusting after them, etc. I spent to much time down that rabbit hole and it just led me wrong time after time. It was never worth it.

I used to be a huge stoner not that long ago. Many times a day, every day, for a few years. Stopping was a big point of improvement for me. I dont miss it, that should say enough.

Honestly, I most likely see myself being married, I have abstained from masturbation long enough that the idea of love seems clean and innocent to me, and to be *fully* honest unless in the years to come I becomes a Monk (you never know right) I do imagine myself married. I love the idea of family. But who knows right? I think we do the best we can do as shown by our teachers and those farther ahead of us, and then we live.

Im not really sure what actualism would be, so I wont fool myself into saying I am, or am not. I have a very odd view of things, a lot of buddhism and a bit of jainism. I do find myself often stuck between the high standards of the pali cannon, and my jain heritage, and life as we know it. I have made huge mistakes, and have large regrets but I try my best to learn from them and attempt to becomes cleaner, purer, more innocent, and a better more heedful person overall in time.

cheers!
- sohil

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
9/23/13 4:07 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:


I know it's harmless and doctors even recommend masturbation to keep everything in working order as well as to prevent premature ejaculation. Even if it's not every day but once or twice a week, I still consider it an addiction. I just dont want to be controlled by anything, more so for something so transient as an orgasm. At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.



Reading some of your posts I am very reminded of my own mind and my own thoughts. Lust is a challenge for me too, although I am probably a little older than you and I would hope that you have not suffered from the unskillful behavior that I have due to these internal desires.

That said I'm going to take a slightly different angle on this. Who's in control here? You say that you don't want to be controlled, but the thing which you feel is controlling you is none other than yourself. It seems to me to be futile to battle it? I'm not suggesting that you go on a wild sex mad rampage (tried it, didn't work haha!), I'm just saying that if our sex drive is a part of us then it deserves as much love and respect as any other part of us. Not only that but those feelings can be very pleasurable, even when not fulfilled, if we do not consider them in some way negative.

RE: Overcoming Desire (Lust)
Answer
10/14/13 10:56 AM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Kenny Whitman:
Sweet Nothing:


I know it's harmless and doctors even recommend masturbation to keep everything in working order as well as to prevent premature ejaculation. Even if it's not every day but once or twice a week, I still consider it an addiction. I just dont want to be controlled by anything, more so for something so transient as an orgasm. At this point lust driven sex seems to me like animalistic behavior we're forced into for the propagation of our species, and most of our worlds revolve around it.



Reading some of your posts I am very reminded of my own mind and my own thoughts. Lust is a challenge for me too, although I am probably a little older than you and I would hope that you have not suffered from the unskillful behavior that I have due to these internal desires.

That said I'm going to take a slightly different angle on this. Who's in control here? You say that you don't want to be controlled, but the thing which you feel is controlling you is none other than yourself. It seems to me to be futile to battle it? I'm not suggesting that you go on a wild sex mad rampage (tried it, didn't work haha!), I'm just saying that if our sex drive is a part of us then it deserves as much love and respect as any other part of us. Not only that but those feelings can be very pleasurable, even when not fulfilled, if we do not consider them in some way negative.


I did it.

I came back from a 10 day retreat yesterday. It was incredible. Lots of clarity and lot of stuff got cleared up. Many knots were untangled and many doubts were removed.

I have not overcome lust completely but it has lost it's hold over me. In the retreat I made a strong determination to sit through every hour without moving at all if possible and being mindful every moment. As awareness purified deeper layers of my subconscious, I was able to see how sensual desire sowed its seed in me. From there on I saw how my actions nourished that seed in ignorance and curiosity until it quickly became a tree that nourishes and grows by itself. I had flashbacks of countless impressions leftover in my mind over the countless times that I tried to satisfy this desire and also how the fantasies propagated themselves such as ever bearing fruits of that tree. My mind was truly sick. The strongest impressions were of the times I had actual physical sex and took the longest to rid of. Fortunately they were very few and I am glad I did this when I am so young, in a relatively conservative country.

I am feeling so good that it feels like a "bright morning" as opposed to the "dark night" and everything is so mesmerizing that there is no room for the impulses that cause us to start the chain of unskillful behavior. I know that eventually I might make the mistake of giving in when my mindfulness becomes weak and then I might regress, filled with regret and hopefully strengthen my commitment after that. As of now, I can appreciate a womans body like a flower, without arousing any desire within me and I am too happy to perceive every attractive female passing by as she is, as a child does, and not as a sexual object/check her out like the pervert I had become. By my current understanding all ordinary sexually active humans have been perverted so we as a society have raised our standards so high that we recognize only those who actually act out on their subconscious intentions.

I learnt that the best way to deal with sexual desire is to first become aware of it. Then think of all the times you have satisfied it in all possible ways, all the "fun" you have had. Then ask yourself "Where is it now? What have I gained ? Has it made me happy ?". I did this during the retreat to keep me going. Hope this helps you and others who are interested.