David2 wrote:A good advice in the videos was to not indulge in fantasies, but to concentrate on sensations which could very well come from a Buddhist teacher.
Good luck to you DN with your efforts.
That is exactly what i was thinking when I watched the series. I think Gary Wilson's scientific explanation of craving will help many understand how the brain works when desires arise. I think that the field of neuroscience is doing an excellent job educating us on the role the brain plays in our lives which helps us make better, more informed choices. Thanks David2.
Really? Make better, more informed choices? So you're going to choose how your brain reacts the next time a voluptuous nymph is throwing herself at you (maybe in your dreams) or you see barely dressed women on tv or in notorious internet advertisements, based on scientific information of how your brain works?
Let's better enjoy some decent asubha-kammatthāna:
Coronal flythrough of the female pelvis:http://vhp.med.umich.edu/PelvisCorA4b.movhttp://vhp.med.umich.edu/VHPelBB.rmhttp://vhp.med.umich.edu/CPelvis.wmv
Sagittal flythrough of the female pelvis:http://vhp.med.umich.edu/sag4.mov
Transverse flythrough of the female pelvis:http://vhp.med.umich.edu/trans4.mov
Some more on http://vhp.med.umich.edu/movies2.html
I think that is more useful information for dealing with lust than theory about how your brain works.
Aren't these videos amazing?
Next time a madman threatens you with a knife at your throat, will you run or will you say to yourself: "Oh my amygdala is just massively overstimulated at the moment, so I'm freezing in terror. No big deal."
Buckwheat wrote:but for the most part I think it removes some of the "bad boy" impulse from lust, making it a little (but just a little) easier to overcome lust.
Especially if you grew up Catholic!
Yeah, blame the catholics. It's the pope's fault.
I believe in talking about things. If you are working with lust, one must discuss lust. Buddha said that if lust was any more powerful he may not have found enlightenment. It's tough and we all need a little help. Hopefully we can all move beyond.
If you want to work with lust then you have to work with lust. Then you have to see the lust for what it is; in your experience, not in theory. Not in a social context, not in cultural context, not in a neurological context, not in a chemical context, not in a physical context, not in a philosophical context - but in the context of your direct (sensual and only extremely little intellectual) experience.
If you say: That's just feeling, feeling, feeling... okay, maybe it's one step if you have some composure and firmness in the practice and are habitually settled in it to some extent. Might even be enough to retract from lustful fantasies then and there, depending on the situation and the strength of good and bad habits of where you put your mind, if you have anything else and better to do or to concentrate on etc. No need for a neuroscientist (or whatever) to tell you that.
If you develop some asubha-contemplation - as a preparatory exercise (i.e. favourably not starting for the first time in the midst of lust that is assailing you already) when you have a calm and unperturbed mind and some time, then you have some useful arsenal that you can call to mind and apply directly (as a replacement or transformation) to your experience
. I think it can be very useful when developed correctly. But developing a theoretical understanding of how your brain functions does not help at all.
I recall when I was a teenager and sometimes my vivid fantasy would cause an erection in an unsuitable situation (maybe in the swimming pool, or during phys-ed class for example) I'd sometimes produce images of old people. Usually I would just focus on something else or think about something neutral or something serious and earnest, but in the last instance I would imagine something disgusting if there was "danger" ahead of being noticed.
Not that I'd find old people disgusting in an everyday conventional situation, but in the context of sexuality - yes! So that was one thing to think of for example. And then your mind retracts from that sexual thoughts quite fast. I think that's a case of intuitively developed asubha practice. I'm sure many others have had similar experiences in their puberty.
I think one of the reasons that worked so well was that it was actually based on respect and a natural sense of humility and shame - of course, because I was in social situations, and also, yes I had much respect for the old people which came to my mind also). A slight feeling of disgust doesn't hurt you if it is not based on and does not culminate in hatred but respect and a healthy sense of shame.
So it is useful to have respectable people around you (or in your mental company). And most important of course I think to have respect for yourself (which again, can be helped by respectable (mental) company). When we are alone and bored (maybe even depressed and lonely) we tend to lose this sense of shame that springs from respectable company.
But if you have a general sense of respect for yourself and the world around you, then I think it's a good exercise to practice asubha contemplation from time to time. It can be quite interesting to develop such an interest in seeing reality as it is and equanimity towards it. Because that's really what it is about. Theory of neurological processes are not
the reality you are directly confronted with (and neither is the pope I hope).
About a year ago, Ajahn Piyadhammo (A_Martin) talked here about asubha-kammathana and was very in favour of practicing it. And he even said something like "if you practice asubha and no hateful feelings come up you are doing something wrong". I think it was not very positively received by most. He likes to be provocative about provocative subjects (which I'm not sure is always skillful :p). But I agree in some way.
If you want to get rid of something you have to have some disgust for it. A healthy sense of shame naturally brings about feelings of (maybe only slight) disgust. That's not unhealthy at all if you have a healthy approach to it (aspiration for self-respect (or in an earnest monk's case: for nibbana)).
If we are habitually often alone and bored and with free access to easy instant delicious sense gratification then our sense of shame (and for that moment "unnecessary" self-respect) deteriorates then and there (even if it still may be quite well intact while in social situations). And if we feel uneasy about that as you do sometimes (as many do sometimes but don't like to express, because it's shameful of course AND it's at the same time "bigoted" to feel shame about it) we can easily blame it on the catholic church (for example). But that's not really fair and I think also not very substantial.
But we are also often alone and bored and with free access to insight
So that's my parol in favour of asubha-practice (based on wholesome aspirations). The company (even if conjured only mentally) of respectable people (your grandparents) is of course always helpful in itself and therefore always recommended but not so easily available.
I think I'm gonna join you in your heroic endeavour.
90 days (that's until 22nd of May for me). Let's make a deal. Whoever of us fails has to confess it openly here on DhammaWheel in this thread. (Otherwise what's the purpose of announcing such a determination in public...) Alternatively he is thrown into Avici hell for let's say half a kappa (or catholic hell for eternity if he prefers so).