How to deal with temptations | Mohanji
I believe that whatever practices you do, one of the aspects to handle is temptation.
Where does temptation come from?
Memories. Memories of a good experience. And a bad experience also. But (still) the memory. When you know that this memory is asking you to return, you’ve got to put the priority: what do you want to do out of life?
If your priority is to go back to your past patterns, you should go back. If your priority is to go beyond any control from around you, including food, clothing, shelter, some location, some people, some relation, some position (they all are controlling factors), you should.
I’m not saying that anything is bad. That’s not my job to say; this is for you to decide. What is good for you is to be free. What gives you freedom? What is important for you to be free? This is important to know. This is individualistic. I can never say, “You do this, and you will be free”. It’s not possible. Just like enlightenment, you’ve got to really work towards it, and then you’ve got to liberate yourself.
But whatever practice you do, there’s bound to be temptations rooted in memories of the past. These are neither good nor bad. I’m not saying something is right or wrong. You decide where you want to be.
I have never ever believed in suppression or denial. I don’t like denial. See, if I say, “Oh no, no, no, don’t do that. You can’t do that, you can’t do this”, it suffocates you. I don’t believe in suppression. I don’t believe in denial. But your priority will tell you that this is where you want to reach.
For example, a mother wanted some food and some materials to cook food at home. She gave a bag and some money to her son and said, “Get me some vegetables from the shop.”
On the way to the shop, the son found a nice pastry shop. Very, very big temptations there: nice torta (cake) velika torta (big cake), chocolate cakes!! And he got stuck. He was wondering, “I want this, I really, really, want to taste it. Should I complete my job (by not looking) or go for the temptation?”
If he went for the temptation of the velika torta, he could not go to the shop because there would be no money – no money to buy the vegetables. But then what came to mind was what was more necessary: “If I buy the vegetables and go home, all the people at home will be able to eat.”
Our stability is good for the entire world or the entire society around us, not just for us. We’ve got to think: if we are stable, if we have overcome barriers and boundaries and attained a level of stability, who is this useful for? For your relations, for the people around you. What you gain is self-respect.
Once again, I’m telling you, I do not believe in suppression. I do not believe in denial. Anything you deny becomes a pending matter; it becomes postponement, and tomorrow that would be the only thought in your mind: “Yeah, I should have eaten this, I didn’t. Oh my God, I missed it”.
So, no denial, no suppression. But you must think about your destination. Where are you trying to go, where are you trying to reach? About your goals in life. If you take detours, you will take longer to reach there.
Temptation has another result; one leads to another. The first cigarette is not a problem; the second is also not a problem. The third one, then you buy a packet.
Temptation is like that. The moment you enter into that line – more comes because you remember so many things connected to it. One thought leads to another thought, then another thought, and so on. It’s like various rivers that will come to you. So, this is a problem with temptation.
But again, as I said, don’t suppress, don’t deny it, if it is absolutely necessary for you to go through the experience. But do it with awareness. Be clear, be aware.
Temptations and mind
One thing I’ll tell you: how to come out of many of these temptations is to go through the action with full attention. Full attention means your mind is completely there, and you’re experiencing that thing totally. When you do that, you can usually come out of it.
But you know, many people who smoke are thinking about something. And they probably don’t remember they smoked, so they want another cigarette. When the mind is not available, the experience is not there. If the mind is available, experience is there.
See, there’s a beautiful garden out there, right? You’re looking at it – but if your mind is at your home, then do you see the garden? You may look, but you don’t see. Nice music is playing, but you’re thinking about something; music is reaching the ears but you’re not listening. So the mind is a very important factor for experiences.
Presence of mind
For experiences to happen, the mind should be there. (Just like intelligence is necessary for processing information: information is there, but to make it your reality, you need the intellect to process it.)
The mind processes all of the things which the senses bring: the pictures through the eyes, sound through the ears, smells through the nose, touch and feel through the skin. All these are processed by the mind. So, the mind is important – the mind should be there. Otherwise, you don’t have experience.
So when you’re fully experiencing something, you can overcome that thing better. It’s easier to overcome. With an absent-minded or unconscious lifestyle, it’s mostly repetition. Patterns get repeated through the unconscious mode. Patterns are driving it, moving you forward. To come out of it – be conscious.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Geeta Iyer