I need help with replacing means of gratification...

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Kaneki
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I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by Kaneki »

I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification. I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts. I don't know how to stop, and it leaves me feeling pretty agonized and it seems to cultivate resentment toward dhamma practice. So I'm running against the clock. I'm currently unable to use reasoning as a means of reforming my sources of gratification. I need help NOW.
JohnK
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by JohnK »

Kaneki wrote:...I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts...
Maybe you can explain this a bit: what you mean by an "act of dukkha," (do you mean acts that you know would produce dukkha for yourself and/or others?) "my unskillful acts" (same as what you are calling acts of dukkha?). I think you are saying you resist with aversion, but I'm not sure: aversion to the resisting? aversion to the thought of producing dukkha? Maybe a specific example would help?
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
Thisperson
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by Thisperson »

Kaneki wrote:I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification.
In trying to better understand your question, are you asking how to feel satisfied when not pursuing sense pleasures?
I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts.
We need to know dukkha for what it is, not be averse to it. Unpleasant mental or physical feelings are not self. The desire to not feel the unpleasant in mind or body leads to the creation of a sense of "me" which needs to "get away" from the unpleasant. We have this very human tendency to want to either fight with unpleasant feeling (by blaming ourselves or our environment) or run from it (by repressing or ignoring) when it arises. It's only the desire to be rid of the unpleasant (which leads to the sense of self arising) that is the problem. Likewise, it's the desire to keep the pleasant which causes the same type of "ownership" reaction to arise on the pleasant side of things.

So we need to know unpleasant mental feeling as unpleasant mental feeling, and not let it lead to the "victim" stories or stories about how everyone around you sucks or whatever. You might even get angry at inanimate objects :) A feeling of pain in the leg can lead to a story in our thinking. "I hope my leg isn't sprained" Maybe it'll lead to ill will in the same thought process "I should have never helped Joe move on Saturday, he didn't even seem to appreciate the help, now my leg hurts too. Lousy bum." What we need to do is watch and see how this story of "me" comes about. It doesn't need to come about. Unpleasant feeling can just be unpleasant feeling. An itch can just be an itch. Sharp pain can just be sharp pain. Anger can be anger. Sadness can be sadness. Pleasant feeling can just be pleasant as well.

Ajahn Paññavaddho put it nicely:
The self is a reference point, and that reference point is created by the kilesas.
Investigate where the pleasant/unpleasant turns into desire. That's where the story of "me" comes about.
I don't know how to stop, and it leaves me feeling pretty agonized and it seems to cultivate resentment toward dhamma practice. So I'm running against the clock. I'm currently unable to use reasoning as a means of reforming my sources of gratification. I need help NOW.
Concentration is essential for this type of investigation practice, be it on the breath, metta, or whatever. It can be a "resting place" for when things sometimes get overwhelming. We can get caught up in the intellect and really suffer if we start to judge and take personally all of the desires and aversions which are arising. "I'm such a bad person" "I shouldn't think these thoughts" on and on. Concentration also serves as a relative "still point" where we can observe the state of relative (and pleasant :) ) calm and then from that calm see how the defilements arise in the mind. It's also important to not neglect sila (morality), as it's the foundation for concentration/investigation.
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_anicca_
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by _anicca_ »

Kaneki wrote:I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification. I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts. I don't know how to stop, and it leaves me feeling pretty agonized and it seems to cultivate resentment toward dhamma practice. So I'm running against the clock. I'm currently unable to use reasoning as a means of reforming my sources of gratification. I need help NOW.
Relax and allow the suffering to be there.
It seems like you're trying to use Buddhism as a club to beat away dukkha, but this is impossible to do. The suffering is not yours and thus not under your control. Control creates the aversion.
Reasoning probably won't be of much help because you can't think a feeling away, so this will probably just make your suffering bigger and more intense.
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha made it clear that hatred never overcomes hatred, so send metta towards that source of suffering and out of this will develop equanimity.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia
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Mkoll
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by Mkoll »

This well-known sutta might help. It's about a monk's practice, but I think the idea behind it can apply to a layperson's life too.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Kaneki
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by Kaneki »

JohnK wrote:
Kaneki wrote:...I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts...
Maybe you can explain this a bit: what you mean by an "act of dukkha," (do you mean acts that you know would produce dukkha for yourself and/or others?) "my unskillful acts" (same as what you are calling acts of dukkha?). I think you are saying you resist with aversion, but I'm not sure: aversion to the resisting? aversion to the thought of producing dukkha? Maybe a specific example would help?
"act of dukkha" was a wrong choice of words for me. I meant every thought, action, or feeling that leads to and cultivates dukkha. I'll reactively recoil. It's not intentional. Some have commented on how hard I am on myself or that I'm doing too much, but I can't help it. I haven't enlightened myself to the higher measures of gratification one can feel from doing good so I have no genuine inclinations to do such things and get little out of them unless I do them with wisdom, but unfortunately wisdom comes and goes, it's unreliable in the presence of ego.

Now you might think, why do anything in the name of gratification? The same reason as why we try to instill the brahma-viharas in ourselves as a replacement for detrimental mental abodes, or why we attach to doing good just to throw it away as we do "the raft" used to reach "the shore". I want to condition my mind to be attached to activities for gratification so that I do not buckle under the pain and reach for unwholesome gratification only because I can't find it anywhere else given my lacking depth of awareness of more wholesome forms of gratification.

As for resistance and aversion, my recoiling away from unskillfulness, f..........I just realized I was mixing up the words dukkha and akusala, SORRY! My recoiling away from akusala is aversion. I can cease doing so through equanimity, but I need wisdom and concentration for that and I can't always wake up on the right side of the bed to be able to re-equip myself with such qualities.

An example would be....something like yelling at your kid out of personal frustration while in an unclear messy mindset, or feeling a feverish craving/addiction toward something that goes on days because of your life long developed obsessiveness. When your mind isn't clear it's not a vacation to observe the foolish things you're doing out of ignorance with equanimity, in fact I might gander it's impossible. 2nd darts, reactions to pain, reactions to reactions, these simply don't happen when I observe my actions with equanimity, mainly because I've gotta be pretty clear and concentrated to do that, and when you are clear and concentrated, ignorant, frustration originated actions or thoughts don't happen. So is the only actual option just to resist, struggle, and agonize helplessly until you don't and THEN develop equanimity and maintain it?
Thisperson wrote:
Kaneki wrote:I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification.
In trying to better understand your question, are you asking how to feel satisfied when not pursuing sense pleasures?
I compulsively resist every act of dukkha that comes through my mind or body with aversion and I am very aware of my unskillful acts.
We need to know dukkha for what it is, not be averse to it. Unpleasant mental or physical feelings are not self. The desire to not feel the unpleasant in mind or body leads to the creation of a sense of "me" which needs to "get away" from the unpleasant. We have this very human tendency to want to either fight with unpleasant feeling (by blaming ourselves or our environment) or run from it (by repressing or ignoring) when it arises. It's only the desire to be rid of the unpleasant (which leads to the sense of self arising) that is the problem. Likewise, it's the desire to keep the pleasant which causes the same type of "ownership" reaction to arise on the pleasant side of things.

So we need to know unpleasant mental feeling as unpleasant mental feeling, and not let it lead to the "victim" stories or stories about how everyone around you sucks or whatever. You might even get angry at inanimate objects :) A feeling of pain in the leg can lead to a story in our thinking. "I hope my leg isn't sprained" Maybe it'll lead to ill will in the same thought process "I should have never helped Joe move on Saturday, he didn't even seem to appreciate the help, now my leg hurts too. Lousy bum." What we need to do is watch and see how this story of "me" comes about. It doesn't need to come about. Unpleasant feeling can just be unpleasant feeling. An itch can just be an itch. Sharp pain can just be sharp pain. Anger can be anger. Sadness can be sadness. Pleasant feeling can just be pleasant as well.

Ajahn Paññavaddho put it nicely:
The self is a reference point, and that reference point is created by the kilesas.
Investigate where the pleasant/unpleasant turns into desire. That's where the story of "me" comes about.
I don't know how to stop, and it leaves me feeling pretty agonized and it seems to cultivate resentment toward dhamma practice. So I'm running against the clock. I'm currently unable to use reasoning as a means of reforming my sources of gratification. I need help NOW.
Concentration is essential for this type of investigation practice, be it on the breath, metta, or whatever. It can be a "resting place" for when things sometimes get overwhelming. We can get caught up in the intellect and really suffer if we start to judge and take personally all of the desires and aversions which are arising. "I'm such a bad person" "I shouldn't think these thoughts" on and on. Concentration also serves as a relative "still point" where we can observe the state of relative (and pleasant :) ) calm and then from that calm see how the defilements arise in the mind. It's also important to not neglect sila (morality), as it's the foundation for concentration/investigation.
Restraint without aversion, in my opinion, takes equanimity, which for me, requires being in a state where I'm not prone to desire things that need restraining from. Actually, I don't know how to dissolve my reaction of recoiling with aversion. I don't know how to meditate on it. Really, I need a little time to sort this out. I'll finish my replies later. Thanks guys.
paul
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by paul »

Kaneki wrote:I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification.
The process of replacing fabricated states with more skilful fabricated ones is the only way of progression in practice. In 'Right Mindfulness', by Thanissaro Bikkhu that process is fundamental to the book and constantly referred to, although the writing style in general may not be easy to follow.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ulness.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by paul on Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Pinetree
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

Post by Pinetree »

Generally speaking, the answer to your question is a solid insight meditation practice.

Which requires a lot of time and effort. You can start to practice NOW, but the results will only come with time. Maybe find a teacher or plan for a retreat sometimes.
I need advice and/or an article, book, whatever focused on replacing one's past means of gratification with skillful means of gratification.
You don't mention what kind of unskillful gratification do you have more issues with. If I had to guess, addiction to thinking seems to be part of the problem.

I want to condition my mind to be attached to activities for gratification so that I do not buckle under the pain and reach for unwholesome gratification only because I can't find it anywhere else given my lacking depth of awareness of more wholesome forms of gratification.
In theory, maybe ...

Haven't heard much about this in Buddhist terms. Not sure, but the concern might be that you're replacing an attachment with another attachment.

The hindu Vedic approach, has this thing about three states of being: tamas, rajas and sattva.

Which shortly is a gradual progression from unwholesome to wholesome. The principle is to be applied in all aspects of the daily life. So there will be more or less wholesome thoughts, emotional states, pictures, music, foods, spices, scents and smells, physical activities, charities, jobs, social entourage, etc.

This is a whole science, the approach is supposed to be customized by body types, mental types, chakras, constitutive elements of the universe.

If you are interested, I should be able to find more info. I mean, I have extensive information on the topic, sadly most of it is not readily available, since I wasn't using it recently.
I don't know how to meditate on it.
This must be learned. Otherwise, of course you can't know how to do it.

Personally, I found great benefit from Ven. Yuttadhammo's booklet on meditation (he teaches Vipassana in the Mahasi tradition).

This is the download link to the booklet in PDF form (there are more resources on the site):
http://www.sirimangalo.org/text/how-to-meditate/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What I liked most is that it's concise, clearly explained and nicely organized in progressive steps.
Restraint without aversion, in my opinion, takes equanimity, which for me, requires being in a state where I'm not prone to desire things that need restraining from.
This is achieved by training your awareness to observe all mental states, including desires. Meaning: watch your desire, not your object of desire.
DC2R
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Re: I need help with replacing means of gratification...

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