Kim O'Hara wrote:
At one extreme we have the bhikkhu (or the Christian monk), who has renounced everything which does not assist progress on the path. At the other, we have the hedonistic, materialistic householder with a purely nominal attachment to Buddhism or Christianity. Most of us here on DW are somewhere in between. Where I think we fall over ourselves is that we are inclined to idealise monastic levels of renunciation while living lives which do not and cannot allow us to achieve such levels.
That bit I bolded caused me alot of trouble over the years. Trying hard to 'eliminate' sexual desire, trying to be as celibate as a monk is, but while living the life of a layman. Sometimes having to look down so as to avoid the eyes of attractive women, so that I would not get aroused, while out shopping etc. Antisocial stuff like that. I don't bother with it now. I look at women in the eyes now, and to be honest, I'm 'flaring up' with desire less
than before, when I used to 'declare war on lust'. Just because a woman looks at me and smiles, doesn't mean I have to call the SAS. Sometimes, when we fight something, we only strengthen it.
I'm finding that looking at women as human beings,
trying to understand them (not that I ever really will, though
) is doing more to get a measure of control over lust, than my previous method of trying to not look at them at all. This is a phase I'm going through, I know. I'm not recommending it for everyone, I'm just saying that as a layman, I've accepted where I'm at: not as yet ready to give up all sex life, but certainly wanting to be regulated
about it, with the ultimate goal of reducing the fever and attachment to it; but realistically,
not in an idealized and artificial way that only makes me neurotic.