Triggers, temptations and turmoil

Submitted by Frank on
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Although I've declared counting number of days to be "unofficial", today is the 15th day of abstinence. I've got control over my actions -- I can refrain from masturbating/ejaculating -- but I don't have control over my thoughts. I currently have the self-control to not fantasize, but somehow if I notice a woman in a magazine or on the street, I somehow feel so attracted that traces of guilt and shame emerge. I look at the woman, trying to remove the attraction mechanism inside me. I think it's okay to just look at her and acknowledge she is beautiful, but getting turned on will only get me back into my addictive cycle. What I want to stop is the emotional reaction that is stirred up inside my body -- suddenly the sexual system becomes active (when I'm concentrating on other things, like academics, the sexual system seemingly disappears into oblivion). I just want to be able to acknowledge that that woman is beautiful (as in when you recognize symmetry), *not* have any emotional reaction like getting turned on. I hate myself when I get turned on, feel like beating myself up (physically). Why can't I control my own self? It almost seems like my sexual system is independent of my will, but affecting me in so many negative ways. I just don't seem to be able to calm this system down and cut the link between attractive women and sexual triggers. WHAT IS THE RIGHT APPROACH TO OVERCOMING ADDICTION?


Dealing with the desire

What I really am aiming at is first learning how to handle the desire/urge that comes up -- to learn how to abolish its effect on me. Next I'm aiming at abolishing the desire itself -- to make it go out of existence. This order is really important, first I have to kill its effect then I have to remove the desire itself, because if by any chance I remove the desire first, suppose it comes back in the distant future, I won't be able to cope with it.

kill? abolish? remove?

Good luck with trying to kill, abolish, or remove desire, since it drives everything we do. Even wanting to live purely from the intellect is a desire.

Check out this quote from Intro to Tantra:

"From the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep at night, and even in our dreams, we are driven by desire. Each of our senses is hungry for its own particular food. Our eye craves to see interesting shapes and colors, our ear wants to hear pleasing sounds; our nose actively sniffs out agreeable odors and turns away from smells that offend it; our tongue seeks exciting new tastes and our sense of touch is forever craving contact of one kind or another. This desire for sensory stimulation is so deeply ingrained that if we are isolated from sights, sounds, smells, and so forth for long enough we begin to hallucinate them. . . Our desires are not limited to the things we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Our mind itself runs after ideas as greedily as our tongue hungers for tastes. Abstractions such as knowledge, reputation, security, and contentment are pursued with as much vigor as if they were things that could be held int he hand or seen by the eye. Desire is so pervasive, in fact, that it is doubtful whether there is anything we do that is not motivated by it." (Intro to Tantra, Lama Yeshe, Wisdom Publications/Boston).

I hope you check out other ways of transforming your desire and using the energy it generates as a potent force for generosity.

It strikes me that a man who

It strikes me that a man who tries to kill, abolish, or remove desire, if he were unsucessful (which he would be, since desire is fundamental to life) might then take out his own frusteration with himself out onto another human being, particularly one perceived to be the source of his desire - a woman. This frusteration has taken the form of rape, opression, and objectification of women throughout history.

Don't supress it, frank, you can't remove an essential part of who you are. It could become not only damaging to yourself, but ultimately to others. Find an appropriate form of expression instead. You must learn to channel and transmute the energy.

You know what I realized some years ago?

Male energy is beautiful. Not only that, I'm convinced it's the "elevator power" in our spiritual climb upward. You need us for inspiration, and for balance so both energies can stay centered on the way up. Wink

Too often we see the chaos the yang energy on the planet is currently making, and conclude that it's the problem. It's not. Frustration and misdirection of the energy is the problem. It is seeking balance but not finding it. I think this search will lead to answers and techniques that solve the problem at a fundamental level.

Frankly, even the yang-generated problems are a spiritual gift. If we were all hunkered down happily in some yin-dominated birth-death machine, we wouldn't even be asking the hard questions about why we're here and whether it's Divine Will that we remain here, playing animal, forever.

All this is a long way of saying that the world NEEDS that energy you're trying to clamp down on, Frank. Smile, smile, smile! Share your skills and knowledge and advice and laughter with women (and the world). When I'm around men, I notice that I even THINK more clearly. It feels like sunshine, as I've said before.

Yang energy is effervescent. Find safe ways for it to bubble up and out of you through healthy interaction with others. And DON'T make yourself wrong, despite your frustration. You're a hero. Trust me. You have a sound goal. Be patient with the process and its ups and downs without getting discouraged.

The great error -- not knowing the distinction

Thanks for being so encouraging, Marnia. I now discover that one of my paradigm problems has been that of not being able to know the difference between true intimacy and the porn culture. An even major problem has been that of not being able to deal with the energy that emotions provide. Emotion is the fuel, intellect is the machine.

Thanks also to looking4balance and hotspring, they've provided me a lot of comments that are useful for the process.

I've now come to realize the importance of marriage and intimacy (from the point of view of yin-yang -- complementary forces of the universe), not just from the evolutionary point of view but from the spiritual point of view as well. Once again, I confused being single as being celibate.

I don't really have a problem being patient; I'm always worried about whether all this will work out at all -- will I get what I have worked for? Or will it just turn out to be a huge failure because of sheer stupidity on my part?

Like all of us

you may be a lot of things. You're definitely not stupid, though!

To answer your question seriously...none of us knows for sure whether we're on the right path or just doing something pointless. And yet, I know I'm a lot happier now than I used to be when I was running my own life, instead of asking for Divine inspiration. Wherever it's coming from, it has been comforting and inspiring. I wish you the same experience on your quest.