Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
Post Reply
iHappy
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:30 pm

Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

Post by iHappy »

Here is a definition in case some you don't know what rationalization actually is:
rationalized, rationalizing - to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
Basically, those are simply thoughts which seems perfectly okay in that particular moment. For example, I am dealing with porn addiction and I've made a firm decision to stop watching porn and stop masturbating. That was a year ago...
I had a couple of good NoFap "streaks" and I've even managed to go one month without it, but eventually, I came back to it.
It's always the same, I do not relapse because of biological need, I do it because of the fact that I can't be mindful of my thoughts when experiencing an urge. Mostly, those urges has nothing to do with my penis, it's all in the head.
I've already tried mindfulness meditation, but it simply doesn't work in that particular moments. It has a opposite effect. By being mindful of my thought I feed this urge even more, until it gains complete control over me and there is no going back.

My common rationalizations are:
I'll start tomorrow
It's been a hard day..
I'll do it just once and continue like it didn't happen
I'll do it without porn...

And so on on and so on....
Those thoughts are so powerful and I don't know how to stop following and acting on them.


A little background, I am meditating for nearly a year. Siting twice a day for a hour a day on average. I am practicing Vipassana meditation and I've learned in the past that my thoughts are simply visitors, they doesn't mean anything. They come and they come.
But, the problem arises when we give them power....

I am open for any kind of tips :)
User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6551
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

Post by Mkoll »

iHappy wrote:It's always the same, I do not relapse because of biological need, I do it because of the fact that I can't be mindful of my thoughts when experiencing an urge. Mostly, those urges has nothing to do with my penis, it's all in the head.
IME, it involves both the head and the body. Thinking lustful thoughts and then attending to pleasant bodily feelings lustfully leads to a sort of positive feedback loop that only ends one way if you give yourself up to it.

And when you act upon the urges, it most certainly involves the body. There is also what conditions the urge, which IME is usually something from the 5 other senses that the mind picks up and runs with. Perhaps a little less focus on thoughts and more mindfulness of the other 5 sense consciousnesses would help. Perhaps tracing the conditions back to exactly what sense object that got the cycle restarted would help.

Anyway, it doesn't sound like you're beating yourself up over it. That would be counterproductive.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Pinetree
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:25 am

Re: Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

Post by Pinetree »

It has a opposite effect. By being mindful of my thought I feed this urge even more, until it gains complete control over me and there is no going back.
Be flexible about your mindfulness.

The mindfulness needs to adjust and adapt to your changing flow of mental state changes. So, don't be mindful of the thought, but instead - be mindful of the process, the whole process.
I can't be mindful of my thoughts when experiencing an urge.
You are not supposed to be mindful of your thoughts when you're experiencing the urge.

When you experience thoughts - be mindful of the thoughts

When you experience urge - be mindful of the urge

Be mindful of all the features of the urge that you can discern: where is the urge, how it feels, how it arises and ceases, whether it grows stronger or weaker, etc.

Back to "flexibility" - be mindful of whatever is happening:

- the thoughts coming, the thoughts going
- the inability to be mindful of your thoughts when experiencing the urge
- the body feeling
- the desire to procrastinate - which you report later, or whatever else comes up.

----

Next, be mindful of your intentions. I get the feeling there isn't enough clarity about the distinction between your urge and your intention.

Intentions are important as they guide you through the actions you perform.

Also, if you aren't practicing walking meditation, you should start, it helps with determination, mindfulness of the body, and concentration.
It's been a hard day..
The day is much more pleasant and peaceful if one is being mindful :)

Finally, this is a video link, on the topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5Lg9P-VekA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
_anicca_
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:44 pm

Re: Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

Post by _anicca_ »

I have a lot of experience dealing with urges. Indeed, the feelings are very uncomfortable, but the rationalization is optional. You're adding stress on top of stress. An approach that works is to accept that the feeling is there (it's nonself, impermanent, and cause to suffering), send forgiveness and metta to this feeling, and return back to the present moment or continue to send metta and forgiveness towards this feeling.

Afterall, urges are only a feeling, but the rationalizations are where you're making it personal. It is just a feeling; it cannot hurt you or make you do anything, so just extend friendliness and acceptance towards it. This is a simple practice, but it takes a while to fully dismiss the urges. As can be seen through kamma, acting on urges only makes the impulse to do them stronger. It took a while to form this habit, so it will take a long time to succesfully overcome this. Please be kind to yourself and be patient (this is where I often fall short :tongue: )!

Remember, thinking/ rationalizing on the urges is personalizing it and this just makes the feeling bigger and more intense. The urge/feeling is the dhamma of the present moment (there is nothing you can do about it), accept it, extend metta and forgiveness towards the feeling, and return your attention to a wholesome activity.

Adding a regular metta practice would be of great benefit as well.


:anjali:
"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
iHappy
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:30 pm

Re: Rationalizations - following your thoughts even thought you know you shouldn't

Post by iHappy »

Thank you very much for your inputs :) Those very helpful more :namaste:

Looking at the broader picture makes much more sense.
Observing the thought never led me to anything expect for doing unwanted behavior.
Post Reply