How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby mpcahn » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:36 am

So I have a problem in my practice: I vacillate from being really into the practice to being pulled into more worldly concerns. I will get some solid momentum going in my meditation sitting for an hour in the morning and the evening and keeping my citta on a pretty short leash during the day. Then after a couple weeks to a month of this my meditation will go stale and I'll get lonely and get pulled into pursuing worldly concerns, mostly girls.

Before I started getting really into the practice I was into picking up women. I would go out to bars sober and alone and approach girls I was attracted to I manage to keep my 5 precepts while engaging in this practice by screening girls for boyfriends and trying to be honest. I got pretty good at it too though it simply wasn't and still isn't fulfilling. So after I fall out of the practice I would go out and get my pick up skill set back and get a girl or two and start feeling that the worldly life is dusty and all I want to do is meditate and make my mind calm again.

Then the cycle begins anew. Does anyone have any experience dealing with issues like this in the practice?
is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:47 am

As you continue applying effort those pendulum swings will become gentler. I'm wondering whether the fervour that you are devoting to your practice when its "on" is probably too intense? Maybe what you require is to be a bit more relaxed with your attitude with regards to practice. Maintain your precepts and your daily sittings. There's no need to turn every waking moment into a constant meditation session. And also make a decision with adhitthana (strong determination) not to pick up chicks with the aim of having casual sex.
Wishign you all the best,
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby Kamran » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:55 am

Maybe its time get a wife, and grow out of girl chasing like the way kids grow out of playing with toys :)
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:57 am

Sometimes you have to do something time and time again observing how unfulfiling it is before you give it up.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby reflection » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:08 am

A lot of people have a similar pattern in their practice, I've had the same for a while. I think the reasons differ for everybody, however. I can only guess what they are in your case, which I'm not going to do, because I don't have enough information. Let me just say that it's not always easy to balance the practice. But in time, once you really see the benefits, I'm sure you'll find a way to integrate it into your life consistently, with or without a girl in your life.

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too taut, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too loose, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned[1] to be right on pitch, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune[2]the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:56 am

mpcahn wrote:So I have a problem in my practice: I vacillate from being really into the practice to being pulled into more worldly concerns. I will get some solid momentum going in my meditation sitting for an hour in the morning and the evening and keeping my citta on a pretty short leash during the day. Then after a couple weeks to a month of this my meditation will go stale and I'll get lonely and get pulled into pursuing worldly concerns, mostly girls.

have you thought about keeping an eye one the map?
are there any signal posts which tell you you have gone on a wrong path, or not fully on the right path?

Before I started getting really into the practice I was into picking up women. I would go out to bars sober and alone and approach girls I was attracted to I manage to keep my 5 precepts while engaging in this practice by screening girls for boyfriends and trying to be honest. I got pretty good at it too though it simply wasn't and still isn't fulfilling. So after I fall out of the practice I would go out and get my pick up skill set back and get a girl or two and start feeling that the worldly life is dusty and all I want to do is meditate and make my mind calm again.

maybe here you need to be harsher on yourself, you maybe being truthful and not specifically breaking any of the pancasila, however are you being honest with yourself? are you reflecting on the practice and where it is going? are you reflecting on the intention (which is different from the motivation, which seams to be boredom in the practice) to engage in this act?

Then the cycle begins anew. Does anyone have any experience dealing with issues like this in the practice?

try to develop a stronger moment to moment practice, sitting is great but if you are being pulled about when off the cussion then you may need to ballance the faculties & strengths in other areas i.e. off the cussion.

There is nothing specifically wrong with this activity you engage in, and I used to do it myself, but there are side effects and underlying problems which surface as loneliness which you may need to address through more real life group activity with Kalyanamitta.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby pegembara » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:34 am

Goofaholix wrote:Sometimes you have to do something time and time again observing how unfulfiling it is before you give it up.


An excellent point.


"Suppose a dog, overcome with weakness & hunger, were to come across a slaughterhouse, and there a dexterous butcher or butcher's apprentice were to fling him a chain of bones — thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, smeared with blood. What do you think: Would the dog, gnawing on that chain of bones — thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, smeared with blood — appease its weakness & hunger?"

"No, lord. And why is that? Because the chain of bones is thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, & smeared with blood. The dog would get nothing but its share of weariness & vexation."

"In the same way, householder, a disciple of the noble ones considers this point: 'The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a chain of bones, of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks.' Seeing this with right discernment, as it actually is, then avoiding the equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity, he develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases without trace."

— MN 54
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby Alobha » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:02 am

mpcahn wrote: Does anyone have any experience dealing with issues like this in the practice?


Yes. You could try these things:

MN 61:
"Whatever action you intend to perform, by body, speech or mind, you should consider that action... If, in considering it, you realize: 'This action which I intend to perform will be harmful to myself, or harmful to others or harmful to both; it will be an unwholesome action, producing suffering, resulting in suffering' — then you should certainly not perform that action.

Apart from that, do the 10 contemplations before you're about to go out.

Best wishes,
Alobha
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Re: How do I stop cycling back into worldliness?

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:09 pm

@mpcahn, you said it happens whenever your practice gets stale.
But in reality, that period of staleness is the best time for practice Dhamma.
And the period of pain, agony, and suffering is also great time to practice Dhamma.
Dhamma grows when one gets through those tough periods without wavering.
And you are not alone in the experience of staleness.
Even the most dedicated among us, even the strictest hardcore practitioner gets through those period.
Don't be afraid or baffled by staleness.
Take it as it comes, take a notice, observe, then keep walking the path.
Because no matter what, staleness will fade away too just like any other difficult dhammas.
And the word "CONSISTENCY" is the absolute necessity for the fruition of Dhamma practice.
Many have no shortage of motivation when things go well.
However, if one truly wishes success in Dhamma practice, the practice must go on whether rain or shine.
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