Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

K B, modified 8 Years ago.

Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
Hello everyone

By way of my first post here let me introduce myself.

I'm engaging in an explicitly Christian spiritual practice as promulgated by the world community of christian contemplatives(www.wcc.org).

Though i understand the discussion side to this website to be primarily Buddhist in orientation i observe this to be a very diverse environment. So why am i posting here in particular?...well i have a longstanding fascination with Buddhism even though(as i understand it) it is very much about relinquishing beliefs rather than making them the basis of ones practice.

I try to be generous as my ego allows in respecting people's spiritual traditions no matter what they are, i really am not here out of the desire to 'convert' others to what i believe. I think the fellow-travelers here are well-informed, experienced and helpful, so here i am seeking your assistance.

With that as a preface, I'll get onto to the topic which is as much as a confession as a question to you all.

My practice is stumbling / bumping off the ground because i am riven by concupiscent lust, essentially my persistent efforts at contiguous daily meditation are being stymied by repeated sexual lapse and relapse.

It starts with phantasisation and then terminates in the physical act, basically 'lust' is the problem, but as with everyone else, it has a particular incarnation, so my sexual hang-ups and predelictions are destroying every effort at regular practice and i know not the solution.

I intimate that there are practices, yogic or kabbalistic, for converting or harmlessly dissipating this lust. If any one of you has advice to give with respect to these two traditions then I'm looking forward to what you have to say.

I'm not after a quick and easy solution as such - an Rx pill that has instant effect - but i do prefer a solution or method that is not elaborate or has complex underpinnings/beliefs which i have to absorb.

I'm sorry i am foisting on you an extremely neophyte question, that is to say, personally speaking, i have been meditating in an extremely on-off kind of way for 2 years with no maturation or development to my practice.

Thanks.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Have you tried masturbating before you meditate?

Sexual thoughts are a hindrance for sure, but it would be quite ironic if the hindrance to your meditation practice was making you feel bad about yourself. If you don't currently have the mental stability to experience them without reaction, it might be better to just work around the problem for the time being.

Group meditation would probably help, too. If you end up having sex with another participant, it's not that big a deal. Just keep plugging away. At the meditation, that is.

It's a good thing the Buddha is not a vengeful God. He would probably strike me down for saying this.

If you really want to tackle this head-on, I would cultivate awareness of compassion or joy. For compassion, you'll probably find there's a contemplation based on the crucifixion you could use. There must be something in Christian contemplative practices for joy, too. Try compassion first, then joy. Joy for abstaining, not joy in getting off. emoticon

But in the context of my own practice compassion and joy are at the least intermediate practices because they require quite stable attention, so this may be a difficult and untimely choice.
Hail Mary, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
I don't really want to "work around it" because i can't integrate the noble aspirational aspect of myself with the unholy desiring aspect of myself.

Thanks for your suggestions.
End in Sight, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hail Mary:
My practice is stumbling / bumping off the ground because i am riven by concupiscent lust, essentially my persistent efforts at contiguous daily meditation are being stymied by repeated sexual lapse and relapse.

It starts with phantasisation and then terminates in the physical act, basically 'lust' is the problem, but as with everyone else, it has a particular incarnation, so my sexual hang-ups and predelictions are destroying every effort at regular practice and i know not the solution.

I intimate that there are practices, yogic or kabbalistic, for converting or harmlessly dissipating this lust. If any one of you has advice to give with respect to these two traditions then I'm looking forward to what you have to say.


What do you see as undesirable about your experiences of lust and sex?

What do you see as desirable about your experiences of lust and sex? (You must see something desirable concerning them, for your mind to continue to pull in that direction.)
Hail Mary, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
To render things somewhat opaque by talking in the abstract, i have what might be termed in buddhist terminology, a thirst-for-becoming, but what i want to become is something perverse, a realisation of my desire. Total self-actualisation of concupiscence.

It comes over me in waves, after i masturbate i realise - "dammit fooled again - just been deluded!!"...and i give my meditation session a miss as it seems inappropriate now, and besides the enthusiasm and will to in me has long since dissipated...from the moment my mind entertained a phantasy.

I don't have that much of a moral hang-up over what i do in terms of masturbation, it's just that it's such a waste of psychic energy which knocks me off course in my practice.

I haven't directly answered your two questions but that's my explanation.

One thing more, lust in me seems all pervasive in my soul(figuratvely speaking here (anatman!)), i have the constant "roving eye" for female form.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Hail Mary:
after i masturbate i realise - "dammit fooled again - just been deluded!!"...and i give my meditation session a miss as it seems inappropriate now


That's a perfect context for metta meditation. If you want to leave Jesus out of it for now, that's perfectly understandable, but try cultivating warm regard for someone else (preferably male), then when you're fluent with that cultivate it for yourself, your sexual conditioning, and your disappointment.

This won't directly fix the problem, but it might help develop the stable attention you'll need to fix it.
End in Sight, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hail Mary:
It comes over me in waves, after i masturbate i realise - "dammit fooled again - just been deluded!!"


When you masturbate, why are you doing it? What, specifically, do you see in the experience or the act that keeps drawing you to it?

One thing more, lust in me seems all pervasive in my soul(figuratvely speaking here (anatman!)), i have the constant "roving eye" for female form.


Why?

These are not rhetorical questions...in Buddhist terms, lust is done away with via insight, and the first step, in my opinion, is to understand exactly what you're experiencing when you refer to lust and desire and etc.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
[...in Buddhist terms, lust is done away with via insight...


In some frameworks. In others, it's transformed to compassion. But these are good questions to investigate, in any case.
Hail Mary, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
When i masturbate it is the act which in its performance i am seeking at its end the affirmative signal to become what is the object of my fantasy

I don't know whether than makes any sense to you, i imagine you could do without the nitty-gritty details which is probably better given as confession to a priest.

What i get, thankfully i guess, is disaffirmation(of the phantasy) and a back to a ground-state. Though also personal unhappiness, and feelings of failure.

Basically i was undeliberately imprinted with a fetter (fetish in fact) at an early age, in teenagehood i cultivated it further, and in the last few years i've really been knocking my head against a brick wall trying to overcome it.

The greater "Why?" as to why things are this way with me is: i suppose i'll find that out in the course of things.

If only i had the sheer will-power to hold of from consummating my lust
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Andrew Jones, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
being an ex christian (birth to 25 years), i will be blunt as only a 'brother' can; there is no way you will successfully hijack the dis-satisfaction you feel towards this situation without questioning everything about the situation, including your decision to convert to Christianity.

masturbation has a high degree of 'control' in it. it is a means of feeling 'in control', and as such does work. you imagine that there is some method with which you will control this need for control, but that is fantasy. sort of like walking on water, nice trick and really handy if you are about to drown, but I would leave it as a last resort if i was you (of course you could waste 10 years like i did working that out.)

all the best.

edit :for the record i am a 'nothing' , 'n/a', 'are you still talking to me?' when it comes to officially belonging to a religious persuasion, so do not take this as a 'convert to buddhism' post. if anything 'convert to yourself' through self-inquiry.
End in Sight, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hail Mary:
When i masturbate it is the act which in its performance i am seeking at its end the affirmative signal to become what is the object of my fantasy


Can you give a low-level, purely experiential re-description of what you're getting out of the experience?

For example, if you ask a person why they eat dessert despite being overweight and wanting to be thinner, they might say "because the taste of the dessert is influencing my decisions in the moment, whereas my beliefs about my weight are not". And then that person could further examine what their experience of "the taste of the dessert" is, and analyze whether "the taste of the dessert" was the fundamental motivation while eating, or whether it glossed over more relevant and more interesting experiential details but was believed because it conformed to some platitudes concerning possible motivations for eating that people have come (for cultural reasons, or simply from hearing them repeated by others quite often) to accept as plausible.
Hail Mary, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
End in Sight:

Can you give a low-level, purely experiential re-description of what you're getting out of the experience?


You raise an interesting request, i guess i've never examined what i do on the basis of a moment-by-moment analysis of the progression. It's something i'll seek to do for myself. I know in real-time, when i lapse, it's "I against I", war with myself and "I" lose. And i tend to 'understand' it post-facto, not with any useful insight.

I'm mulling over what you suggest.

Thanks
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Simon T., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
When you start having fantasies, scan your body for the sensation that create those fantasies. You will find out that there is uncomfortable sensations in the area of sexual parts and you start imagine situation that would help you get rid of those sensations and transform them in something seemingly pleasant. They are some of the hardest sensations to keep in check. It's actually easier to focus on pain than the sensations associated with sexual desires.

There was time when when I was somewhat addicted to sex to relief anxiety. Note that it's a different purpose than releasing the sexual tension. Look if it's the case for you. Pain attention the the tension in your body before and after.

I learned that dealing with this issue every evening before going to bed improve sleep and reduce the problems associated with sexual desires the next day. Having a regular schedule to deal with this remove a lot of guilt.

Try being mindful while having sex or masturbating. You will realize that it's really hard! We tend to contract some muscles during the act. We anticipate something during the whole thing. It's probably more so for men since there is a performance aspect associated with that. We are far from being in the present moments. Pay attention to the thoughts of anticipation and desire during the act.
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Tommy M, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hiya,

Welcome to the DhO, I think it's wonderful that you've chosen to post here! It'll be great to hear such a different paradigm being discussed, coming from a Roman Catholic (by proxy) upbringing myself I'd be seriously interested in understanding more about the way this territory is traversed within the Christian model.

I may actually have some methods and techniques for investigating your current issues, couched in a more understandable terminology than that normally used on here, i.e. various Buddhist models. I'll need to go do some searching through my notes and see what I can find, but hopefully there's something which will be of use to you without having to deviate from your current belief system. I did some experiments within the Christian belief system, more specifically within the more mystical aspects of Catholicism but it was a good few years ago now; I'll post whatever I can find.

It'd be cool to hear more about your practice, even if you used the terminology specific to the Christian systems but described things in phenomenological terms as well. It'd be fascinating to learn more about this!
Hail Mary, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 7 Join Date: 6/24/12 Recent Posts
Hi,

In creedal terms i am basically Catholic, though i don't come from a Catholic background as such, i don't even come from a Christian background, my ethnic-cultural background is Hindu though i was never raised Hindu.

In the mid-2000s i became interested in eastern spirituality but 'converted' to Christianity on account of some personal experiences.

I've experimented with - but never made a go of in a persistent way - of atma vichara and anapanasati, even after conversion. Then i decided to do a Christian meditation which on the face of it is a form of mantra meditation.

It seems way off from what practitioners in the main do here, but i rationalise the discipline in my own mind to make it seem more scientific, though it'll never be buddhism in that sense.

Will welcome any advice you have to give.

Regards.
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Have you explored the Ignatian meditations? I believe they are practiced as part of Jesuit initiation. I really liked the sound of them as they were described in the book Disciplines of Attention, but there are probably better books for learning to practice them listed in that wikipedia page, and if there are any Jesuits near where you live, I bet they would be excited to talk about it.

Thinking it over, it is clear from some of the things you've said here that you don't like yourself very much, and it goes beyond your sexuality. I don't mean that as a put-down; I have struggled with self-hatred, too. There are actually spiritual advantages to starting out like this, but significant drawbacks, too, which can be mitigated by some meditation exercise which involves cultivating warm regard for whatever arises in experience. Could be metta, could be imagining Jesus/Mary/God's love. (Presumably they would love you even in the realization of your fantasy, no matter what it is.)
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Jeff Grove, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
This is a commen issue for men once they start to mediate or engage in energetic pratices, the increase in vital energy ignites sexual desire. If the Du, Ren and Central channels haven't opened when the chi rises it will ignite mental lust, the energy changes into mental thoughts and images, feeling feed thoughts. When these channels are unblocked you will experience a state of body bliss far better then any sexual bliss.

Here is an exercise I was taught to turn sexual energy into vital energy
Relax. Take a deep breath in
Contract the abdomen and pull up the groin area
Focus on the energy moving from the sex organs up the back to Bai Hui
Breath out and relax the body, bringing the energy down to store in Dantian
Do this 20-30 times or more as needed

Alternatively if there is mental lust and you can not let go, stop the momentum before it builds try one of these ten meditations on corspes from the Buddha

1. A Bloated Corpse is a swollen corpse shortly after the day of death. When a person dies their body begins to decay and this decay causes the bloating of the body due to internal gasses.
2. A Bluish Discolored Corpse refers to the bluish-green tint the skin gets after death. The skin of the corpse turns different colors such as blue, black or purple. Usually, the body will turn green.
3. A Festering Corpse is when the corpse becomes pus-filled.
4. A Cut up Corpse is a corpse which has been dissected or cut into two pieces.
5. A Gnawed Corpse is a corpse whose parts have been eaten by wild animals such as dogs or vultures.
6. A Scattered Corpse is a corpse whose parts have become separated from the body and are lying in different places.
7. A Hacked and Scattered Corpse is a corpse which has been cut up or chopped apart.
8. A Blood-stained Corpse is a corpse which is covered with blood or one which still has blood issuing from the body.
9. A Worm-Infested Corpse is a corpse which is full of worms eating the flesh.
10. A Skeleton is a corpse which is only bones. For this meditation, the meditator might need only a piece of bone as the object of meditation
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Fitter Stoke, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Neophyte question - How do you deal with lust?

Posts: 489 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
I think about the dirt/germs under the desired person's fingernails. I think about the oil on their scalp, the mucus in their nose, body hair, moles, fat cells, anatomy, etc. Especially under conditions of high concentration, this usually nips the problem in the bud, and my interest in The Act is killed for an hour or two.