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Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:13 am
by jungblood
hello friends,

So I'm working on cutting back on sense pleasures... I quit alcohol and other intoxicants years ago, but sugar has proved to be a much more enduring foe for me... anyone else faced this issue? Sticking to one meal a day makes it easier, but I seem to slip back into sugar madness over and over again...

Selfish grasping comes in many forms - some subtle and insidious (like my unconscious tendency to manipulate) and some more blunt and overt... sugar falls into the latter category!

Thankfully my sweet-tooth hasnt affected my health much (yet), but it keeps me mired in grasping mind, and weakens the 'renunciant mind', thereby holding me back on the path...Has anyone else struggled with this little conundrum?

many bows,

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:34 am
by Modus.Ponens
I'm going to describe what happens with me first. The sweetness sensation is the physical equivalent of love and afection. Although different, because one is physical and the other is mental, they are similar. What happens with my relation with sugar is that I try to consume it in order to compensate the afection I miss. It's likely that this is not just me. But, then again, your case could be different. Anyway, my hypothesis is that if you cultivate metta frequently this lack of afection will become negligible. So, in time, you could be able not to crave sweets. I haven't tested this hypothesis, but I think it's worth a try.

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:18 am
by Ben
Hi jungblood,
I think I understand how you feel. I try to limit my sugar to whole fresh and dried fruit. I still drink aspartame loaded coke and occasionally indulge in quality ice cream, but apart from that, I have a pretty good whole food plant based (vegan) diet. If you are finding giving up sugar really difficult, you could try increasing the amount of beans in your diet. Apparently beans help to down regulate blood sugar. Replacing sugar with whole fruit is likewise a healthy choice as the fibre in fruit counteracts the fructose when it becomes processed into propionate - an anti-obesity compound.
Kind regards,

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:58 am
by Chi
I know how you feel. I have been dealing with the same issue of sugar binges. :console:

These binges happen especially after retreats or when I feel anxiety. Of course, simply put, it's the sensations of the sugar high, the short burst of energy, the fast-beating heart, and the feeling everything is okay I (we?) seek. And, sooner or later, it will affect our health for sure. Right after a binge, I feel so lethargic and unintelligent and weak. But the ego will do everything to get what it wants regardless of the consequences.

We human beings, we are somewhat slow learners, no? So, all we can do is send metta and compassion to ourselves and to all beings. We are all the same. We want to feel like everything is OK. We want affection and love and comfort and pleasant feelings and peace. We just don't want to accept these phenomena are just as impermanent as everything else.

All we can do is keep practicing and set time aside for retreats to really be with ourselves and the consequences of our actions.

with metta. :anjali:

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:49 pm
by jungblood
Hi guys,

Thanks for your responses... yup - sugar can be quite the adversary... one of the things I'm really learning is the importance of meeting craving itself with metta... learning to meet all of life - both those who I encounter and my own internal processes - from a place of loving kindness is part and parcel of mindfulness... I think metta is conducive to mindfulness, and vice versa... I've been working on this for some time in my relations with others, and to some extent myself... but I'm seeing now that learning not to grasp means learning to be with my own discomfort and craving, and to do so from a place of love... when I love my craving, I'm more able to stay with it... I hope you're all keeping well wherever you are... and thanks again!

many bows,

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:26 am
by lyndon taylor
Fighting sugar addiction is a worthy cause, especially if you're fighting diabetes, however, the records for the buddha's diet seem to show he had a bit of a sweet tooth, eating a lot of honey, sweets, etc.

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:00 am
by Mkoll
Dear friends,

I totally get where you guys are coming from. I crave sugar as well and eat it frequently. I've tried quitting cold-turkey, fasting, etc. but I find that I am just torturing myself. Perhaps as my practice matures, I will begin to see it as it really is: just another honey-tipped thorn of Mara. But I am a householder and a layman, not a monk or ascetic.

It is difficult as a householder to find that balance between renunciation and enjoying sensual pleasures. In the end, I think that it is important to bring a sense of perspective and a sense of timescale to this kind of thing. As householders, we remain householders because we enjoy being householders, we have householder obligations, we enjoy sensual pleasures, etc. If any person had the fully developed spiritual maturity that when he heard the Buddha's teachings, he would immediately recognize the dangers of samsara, go wholeheartedly and with a mind free of doubt go out to the forest, sit down, and not move until he was enlightened. That is the kind of determination you find when you read the Theragatha for example. But very few people have that determination; even most of those who became arahants did not have that determination to begin with.

We are all at different levels of spiritual maturity. The Buddha compares us to lotuses in a pond: some are deeper in the pond, some are closer to the surface, and some have completely broken free. I've found that being honest with myself and knowing my depth (or lack of) spiritual development is important. I work on what I can from where I am. I'm still looking for that balance, that Middle Way that is right for my mind, that Middle Way that makes life challenging but not overbearing. And I see that looking too hard and being too critical of myself creates more stress than it solves. Better to cultivate metta in the mind, eh? Patient endurance is the highest austerity. It may take many lives, but I sincerely hope that both myself and others will complete the holy life and reach the end of suffering. The Buddha wouldn't have given more relaxed advice (compared to monks) to householders unless he knew that following his advice would eventually lead to the end of suffering; that is what he taught after all.

May we all uproot all of our cravings, in this life or some later one. In the meantime, I'm off to get some cookies. :jumping:


Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:29 am
by jungblood
Hello again,

I've been looking over your responses to my post about sugar again, and I felt compelled to say a word of thanks.. some great input and honesty about a very simple but blunt, visceral for of craving... Modus ponens, I really like what you say - that the 'sweetness sensation is the physical equivalent of love and afection'... that's what addictions are in my experience, the compulsion to seek pleasure in order to fill the 'hole in your soul', in reality only connection and metta, which itself is conducive to connection, can fill that hole... ironically, of course, the grasping at sense pleasures just reifies the sense of self and other, and thereby the sense of separation - it has the opposite effect of the one desired, and pushes me further into the painful illusion separation..

Thanks Mkoll, too...a like the turn of phrase about sweets being a 'honey-tipped thorn of Mara'... what a perfect image... what you say about cultivating metta is important as well... cultivating metta not only bolsters my sense of connection, allowing craving to slip away, but it also allows me to stay with the craving rather than being enslaved by it... for me metta and mindfulness are very intimately linked, one working in synergy with the other.. lately I've been having some success with practising metta towards my cravings... learning to 'love my craving' enables me to stay with it, and somehow feels more intimate and workable than simply being mindful of my craving without grasping...

I hope you are all well, wherever you are..

Bows from a very cold New York,
Lucas :anjali:

Re: Mara's sweet as sugar!

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:57 pm
by Tor_Hershman
I like me Cheerios SWEET, too, Jung Blood. Use Splenda (Apriva is Kroger's brand), enjoy the sensation and praise [Well, as possibly, used science] science!