Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

deleted deleted, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/14 2:18 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/22/14 2:10 PM

Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/20/14 Recent Posts
One thing I think we all struggle with is the problem of removing attachments. On our cushions, we struggle trying to free ourselves of attachments which often just become sublimated and driven further underground in our conciousness: out of sight, out of mind. But then we discover the reality that those attachments are still right there, right beneath the surface and our pretending that will or meditation alone will drive them from us is proven false.

There is another way and that is using desire itself to help us rid ourselves of attachments. While we are taught that desire is the root of suffering, like any poisen it can, in the right doses and the right circumstances be used as a medicine to cure the patient.

An example:

When I was in my early 20's I went to Berklee school of music as a jazz trumpet major. I was wholly unprepared for my experience, where it was clear that my lack of knowledge was embarressing. So embarressing in fact that I dropped out within the month and I never played trumpet or jazz again. I became a folk musian and a guitarist instead.

But my love for jazz in general and my love for jazz trumpet never left and my giving up was something that I always regreted, which caused me great suffering over the next 30 years.

then one day in my 50's I thought, hell...why don't I go out and rent a trumpet for a month and see what happens. The first day, I couldn't get a note out, which was particularly humiliating because my kids kept saying, let me try Dad and they were able to get a sound out without issue. I put the trumpet back in its case. But since I had it for a month, I kept taking it out of its case and on the second day, I could make a sound. On the third day I could play scales again, and soon everything kept flooding back.

I began to practic in earnest and started buying and trading trumpets, cornet, and flugelhorns, and started taking lessons from amazing people on jazz trumpet. Very soon I had my chops back up, was playing better than I ever had and I started going out and playing in local jams. I was terrible but didn't care. People who knew me as a guitarist and slide guitarist, which I  gotten extremely profecient in, wondered why I was doing this. I'd come off stage and friends would introduce me by saying, This is my friend Bill, he is actually an amazing slide guitarist, ignoring the fact I had just been playing trumpet.

But I kept on for the next 4 or 5 years, abandoning the instrument I was known for and quite good at for an instrument I sucked at.

But eventually I got pretty good. And soon after that I was invited to join a band playing jazz in Manhattan and I was able to finally get on stage, play jazz, adn have the audience actually applaud!

Right after that I was able to quit playing trumpet completely. I no longer had the desire or attachment to it. I sold all my trumpets and went back to playing guitar.

I had done it. I had addressed the desire and over come the attachment by creating a desire so great, that on accomplishing it freed me from my suffering of having walked away those 30 some years ago.

Often desire can be used as a tool to over come desire, the poisen becomes the cure.
This Good Self, modified 8 Years ago at 6/22/14 10:47 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/22/14 10:46 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Interesting read Bill.  I think similarly.  If there's an itch that needs scratching, you are far better off scratching it than not.

I know if I love a piece of music I tend to play it over and over and over until I lose all interest in it.  When I come back to it years later, it's still good but lacks that strong flavour of a new desire, so I don't get attached to it.  New desires pop up of course. 

One thing I've found is that a positive mood will make desires much more likely to materialize (the whole law of attraction thing).  There would be quite a few on the dho who would absolutely HATE anything that sounds slightly new agey, even it's a real phenomenon.   But it's so obvious even with just casual observation that there's a link betwen feelings and the physical universe.   Positive mood also seems to make spiritual progress more likely, so I think the idea of positive mood + getting stuff you want + spiritual opening tend to go together really well.
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Jeff Grove, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 2:04 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 2:04 AM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Something I read once by Thanisarro Bhikkhu

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/pushinglimits.html

Enjoy
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tom moylan, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 4:48 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 4:48 AM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy,
that is pretty much one of the key premesis of tantra practice.  to use the energy inherent in differing activities to further ones advancement.  the trick is to do these activities without getting attached to them, a pretty tricky proposal in that we can fool ourselves easily when the themes are our desires.

in the case of listening to music (CCC Reply) i think the comparison doesn't hold.  if i become disenchanted with one peice of music, in most cases, i look for another peice to become sick of; i don't give up enjoying music.

only you can know, and it sounds like you do, whether after so many years of torture, finally giving into your desire allowed you to let go of the very old desire or not.

my tendency is to go with the buddha's explanation of how constantly thinking about a desire reinforces that thought pattern until it becomes habitual then eventually becomes a tendency. it makes sense to me and mirrors my experience. 

it also fits with what we "know" about the plasticity of the brain in learning.  repeating an action, wholesome or not, builds neural paths which make future behaviour more likely.  we wear grooves in our thought and behavioural patterns an fal linto them more easily.

tom
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Psi, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 3:29 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 3:29 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
[quote=
]I had done it. I had addressed the desire and over come the attachment by creating a desire so great, that on accomplishing it freed me from my suffering of having walked away those 30 some years ago.


That is one way to free your self of the attachment, 30 years of suffering, clinging to the uncompleted task, 4-5 years of practicing.

The other way, is that when the attachment arises in the mind , one lets go, releases , and abandons the thought, every single time it arises.  To be aware of it as "just a thought", which is all it ever was.  In this way, through non-nourishment the attachment can be allowed to starve and die off.  AND then, once it is abandoned, arouse a wholesome mental state, and maintain that state, (equanimity)..  If you don't do this the "ground" gained by abandoning and non-nourishment of the attachment will backfill and re-grow with either the old attachment or a new one.  But, with the successful maintenance of Equanimity, you will grow instead the Factors of enlightenment.
(PART II: C. THE FOUR RIGHT EXERTIONS)
http://www.buddhanet.net/wings_c.htm

This isn't to say that developing a skill , such as playing and training in the playng of a musical instrument is unwholesome, not so, just the dukkha one has from the attachment.

Like you, I don't have alot of time to mess around, well, none of us do actually,  so the next time you are aware of an attachment, you could try this approach, if you choose.

Now, being no teacher, just a fellow follower on the path, take this post reply as you will, not my advice, but rather handed down from Buddha ...

Metta

Bryan 
deleted deleted, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 3:43 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 3:43 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/20/14 Recent Posts
I take your post as you meant it: as something to help me and done in kindness.

I can say this: in my 45 years as a practicing mediator (I started when I was 15), somethings are taken care of on the cushion, other things are taken care of off the cushion.

Thank you for you note.

Bill
M C, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 6:34 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 6:34 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

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Bill McCloskey:
somethings are taken care of on the cushion, other things are taken care of off the cushion.

Tips for telling one from the other?
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Psi, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 6:44 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 6:44 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

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Bill McCloskey:
I take your post as you meant it: as something to help me and done in kindness.

I can say this: in my 45 years as a practicing mediator (I started when I was 15), somethings are taken care of on the cushion, other things are taken care of off the cushion.

Thank you for you note.

Bill

That might be your hidden insight:

The mind is there both on the cushion and off the cushion, if the mind can let go of an attachment on the cushion, the mind can let go of an attachment off the cushion.  But, yes sometimes it seems that we have to go through the enactments of life to release a mental formation.  Like actors in a play and the script has been written.  And the attachment is removed, but the old mental formation is there, and a new desire will arise, and the curtains will rise, and the play will start anew, round and round the samsara merry-go-round.

 Dependent Origination has an escape hatch. Right between Feeling and Craving, Right between sensing (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral) and  (wanting to have, ignoring, or wanting to not have).  Anyway by seeing things as they are, JUST a sensation, and letting the mind just be with reality as it is, and not wishing to change, then Cravng will not arise, and then Clinging will not arise, etc.

Anyway, too many words already, huh? Besides, I'm just a six year old.

Bryan



p.s.  just kiddin' emoticon
deleted deleted, modified 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 7:53 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 6/23/14 7:53 PM

RE: Embracing desire in order to remove attachments

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/20/14 Recent Posts
Tips? sure. If one ain't working, try the other.

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