Thanks ever so much for your thoughts, there seems something helpful in all of them.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Replace the alcohol with meditation is the only advice I can give, seriously...when you feel like a drink sit instead. It ain't easy but after a few months i'm not missing the alcohol at all.
Will give this a shot Johnny, instead of dropping into the winestore after a tough day at work... what do you do, though, when say in the pub? Its there that I struggle with, when people are getting rounds in, etc.
Rather than acquiring and ditching things look at why you always have this wish to acquire (attachment, desire) and ditch (aversion) experiences, objects, and phenomena.
Thanks for a great meditation question Greg! If I presented to A&E with a broken leg -- not just once time but several times -- then they'd want to know why it was happening. At a glance, the aversion towards stuff (which is most present for me right now) is a mixture between buyers' remorse and panic/resentment about that hobby/passion taking over from everything else, impacting upon my sleep/work/relationships/finances. Why I want total absorption? Maybe for escape (from responsibilities, reality) and to fuel an ambitious ego. Not sure, need more time with this big question.
Give up giving up too.
Once I downsize my stuff perhaps!
"Give up attachment to this life, in your mind." - Atisha
Practice that for a while instead of throwing things out (unless you are hoarding and then make a little room first).
This is something that I'd like to know how to do Kirt! Do you poke skulls around or somehting? I have a workbook called Personal Death Awareness
which might help, but are there any Sutras or other means of letting go? I once had an ex-girlfriend cover me in leaves in a cemetery once. I was young, probably a bit drunk. A little off topic, but my mother has always hoarded; recently the council, armed with a skip were pulled in for an intervention, so I am told. Maybe this attachment/purge cycle has origins there, in childhood.
To kind of mirror what Greg was pointing at, I think instead of having to give things up it is good to take a look at the endless cycle of craving, attachment, and then ultimately the suffering that comes along "with it. This is part and parcel of samsara. I think renunciation is great, but I really like the term "renunciation mind", because it is based on the mind of renouncing that which causes suffering.
Of course, the simple thing would be to say "ditch all the things that cause you suffering", but sometimes this wisdom can be pretty subtle and can take quite some time to realize some of the subtle causes for suffering.
On a more practical level since I think you are asking for practical advice, I would really take a look at the things/aspects of your life that present the most hindrances to your path. Is the alcohol something you have a very hard time doing without, for example? Is this adding clarity or more confusion to your practice? Does it bring out the compassionate side of you, or does it bring forth more kleshas (mental affliction, negative emotions, etc.). This is just one aspect and how we can ask a few simple questions to help with this.
Start with a few of the major things that you feel excluding from your life would benefit yourself and others the most. Then go from there. A little at a time. Otherwise some find that they have alienated all of there close friends, and things like that.
When I first started practice I was so blown away and got very involved that I did give up quite a few things, mostly positive though. I always liked to read, so I began reading a lot of dharma book, commentaries and listened to a lot of dharma talks, for example.
Formal pracitce is great, but I think overall it is the view that makes a good practitioner.
Thanks Terma, you're right, I'm looking for practical ideas for renunciation but to do it successfully I'll need to address this sticky cycle. Going to start quite with alcohol because its often been a royal pain in the arse. I dont have a physical dependency, but part of me fears that Im turning down the possibility of exciting adventures! It negatively affects my practice for sure, by covering up those subtle causes of suffering that you mention, but also by bringing its many other causes of suffering...physically, financially, and how I can behave when drunk (don't ask). I hold out hope that an alcohol-free me can both practice and
The more items that you have in your apartment or house, the bigger mental inventory of where things are or might be you are carrying around with you. So de-cluttering the house is the same as de-cluttering the mind.
Yes, this is my hope!
Alcohol: You only get one body, why prematurely damage and pollute it? I don't understand why everyone spends so much time and effort to live poorly. You say you really get into hobbies and buy stuff for them. Imagine that I kicked or destroyed one of those possessions. You would likely get very irate. But on the other hand if I bought you beers for half a decade, you would likely thank me and consider me your greatest friend! Yet that would be doing serious damage to your one and only body and its organs like the brain and liver, which cannot be replaced unlike your possessions which naturally come and go.
Lifetime of free beer, dont kick my stuff please! Yes, my logic is inside-out, and I'm usually health conscious until a weekend boozing. Luckily Ive rarely drank hard enough to do big damage, and not clinically in the 'hazardous' category. Over recent last couple of months I sometimes drank moderately mid-week as well as heavily in the weekend, so it could easily get out of hand. Its mainly this ongoing fog and effect on my practice/motivation/clarity and some unskillful actions that mainly concern me now.
I have given up lots of things: alcohol, drugs, meat, dairy products, driving, eye-glasses
. When you are at the point where putting alcohol or drugs into your body is not an option any more, that is when you know you have made progress and are where you should be. Sometimes I rarely dairy cheat, but when I do it, I don't bs myself, I do it admitting to myself it is a low level poison that promotes disease, premature aging and is not really meant for human consumption,
but I am gonna try to end that cheating.
I gave up milk and drank rice milk instead, but was then told it had arsenic in it; soya damages rainforests and grows me man-boobs. So im back on milk..does having a bowl of cereal cause you a similar standstill before the day has even started?
There is no "I".....this "I" is the fabrication of the self.....there are no such things as "my possessions".....give up the "I".....and you will be free!
Nothing: I look forward to this attitude some day, just figuring out how to get there... okay, so moving the 'things in this room' to another place (charity shop, other people's rooms), you don't think this might help break down the attachment to possessions and fabrication of "I/self"?
CDs yes bye bye. Such an easy place to hide.
I also got rid of a pile of those will-get-to-them-again-one-day books. Hard to do, have not missed them at all. Kept the sutras.
Is turning them into mp3s a cop-out?!