The Homa Therapy in-residence drug/alcohol de-addiction program.
Classes 6&7: Power of Discrimination and Desire
The power to discriminate between right and wrong
"The power of discrimination differentiates man from all other animal species. Animals go by instinct; man goes beyond instinct by intelligence. Animals have no power of discrimination to discern right from wrong. The power of discrimination allows man to go beyond intelligence and shows the direction of man's evolution. This means we have the power to escalate evolution.
To follow my power of discrimination means that my actions will carry out whatever judgment is pronounced by my power of discrimination. If my power of discrimination says that it is wrong to do a certain action I will not do it, regardless of my desire to do it. At first I may feel that I am put to a loss, but ultimately, by not acting up to this power of discrimination I will suffer the consequences of my wrong action one way or another. So, in fact I am saving my own time and trouble by always doing what I know is right. If my power of discrimination tells me not to indulge in drugs and alcohol, then I will follow this judgment. This is the basis, the key, for any spiritual discipline. Only when I lay stress on this do I start treading a new path. This is so because intellect and action act and react. If I commit a negative action, my power of discrimination is weakened, my judgment is likely to be faulty, and that will again lead to negative action.
"The power of discrimination is an aspect of intellect."
Suppression will not do. It is like a cocked gun, waiting for an opportunity. We have to attempt sublimation of our desires.
By training the mind we can learn to sublimate desire. The dictionary definition of sublimation is: to divert the energy of (the desire) (a biological impulse) from its immediate goal to one of a higher social, moral or aesthetic nature or use (spiritual). In chemistry it means to refine or purify (a substance).
So how do we accomplish this diversion of energy from satisfying desire to working for a higher purpose (not a drug induced higher purpose). By getting ourselves straight we can eventually help others to do the same thing. This is the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous (teachers refer to the Bill W. Story).
If you stick to the decision given by your power of discrimination, you always perform right action. And by performing right action, your power of discrimination is strengthened. The process is reversed, and from a vicious cycle you move to a virtuous cycle. You set in motion a cycle conducive to right action. What is this vicious circle? It starts with the attitudes of the mind. For example, I have a desire. Desire is the substratum which is always feeding the attitudes of the mind. That desire gives rise to certain attitudes of the mind. The moment my power of discrimination tells me it is wrong to do an act, I should check it then and there. If I do not check it, that attitude becomes a propensity. That is, it gains force. When an attitude becomes a propensity, it is more difficult to check. So, an attitude becomes a propensity if unchecked. At least, at this moment I should use my power of discrimination and halt.
If we learn to observe the mind and can step away from ourselves, a little, it is possible to see why you are about to take an action. If you do not sublimate desire, it starts troubling the intellect. That is, a signal goes to the intellect which tells the intellect to find means for gratification of the desire. That is how the intellect is dictated to by propensity. And, intellect will always find ways and means to get things done--if not by the right way, then by devious methods. Somehow, gratification of the desire will be obtained, thus weakening the power of discrimination. Then judgment becomes faulty. But, if you check your action at the time of desire, then your action becomes virtuous, and again the power of discrimination is strengthened. This is the difference between the vicious cycle and the virtuous cycle. Thus, we see how this is the basis of all endeavor. Moment to moment we create our destiny, because we are never without action. The action may be physical, or it may be mental. Constantly we are forced to perform either physical or mental action. By using your power of discrimination, proper judgment is pronounced, and you do not involve yourself in any further bad action. Remember the mind wants to do something that you do not, so, the first thing to do is stop and observe.
Try the HALT method before you succumb to depression or desire.
H - Are you Hungry?
A - Are you Angry?
L - Are you Lonely?
T - Are you Tired?
Ask yourself what condition you are in.
If you are hungry--EAT.
If you are angry--ask yourself, what am I really angry about? Is it because you have been blocked from getting what you want. Then ask yourself what do I really want? You want to be happy. How do you become happy without taking a drink??? If you act out of anger, whatever you do will probably be the opposite of what can make you happy. If you take an action that is focused on a higher purpose (to stay straight) that will help to make you happy. So you can telephone someone who is practicing Homa Therapy and tell them how you are feeling. You can practice Homa yourself until the anger subsides or you can ruin everything you have worked for and take a drink or drug. The problem with the drink/drug is, you still have the same problem. The next time you are blocked from having your way, you will probably get angry again and fall into the same trap. If you focus on your higher purpose and act on that, you might find that the next time someone or something blocks you from what you want, that your attitude is different; perhaps you can say to yourself, well, what can I do about it now? I might as well not get angry. Perhaps I will accept what has happened because it is out of my control.
If you are lonely--try Homa, perform service. The empty, lonely feeling will leave. Try calling someone who practices Homa.
If you are tired--sleep or do Homa and become energized.
For a maintenance check on a daily basis you can watch and strive for the following:
Liabilities -- Assets / Self-Pity -- Self-Forgetfulness
Self-Justification -- Humility / Self-Importance -- Modesty
Self-Condemnation -- Self-Esteem / Dishonesty -- Honesty
Impatience -- Patience / Hate -- Love
Self-Justification -- Forgiveness / False Pride -- Simplicity
Jealousy -- Trust / Envy -- Generosity
Laziness -- Activity / Procrastination -- Promptness
Insincerity -- Straightforwardness / Negative Thinking -- Positive Thinking
Vulgar, Immoral Thinking -- Spiritual, Clean Thinking / Criticizing -- Look for the Good
We believe that it is the fulfillment of desires which makes us happy. Actually, ii is not so. When we desire something, an energy link is formed between the object of desire and our mind. Consciously or unconsciously we think about that thing. This puts a burden on our mind because there is an expenditure of mind energy when we think about the object of desire. We believe that the time when fulfillment of desire comes is our highest point of happiness. Actually, it is not fulfillment of desire but the removal of desire that brings about happiness. When the burden of desire goes, we are freed for the time being and we are happy for the moment. It is not the object which makes us happy at all. Otherwise, the same object would make us happy all the time, which is never the case.
Mind is always in the habit of creating more desires. One desire begets the next desire and so on. It is an endless cycle. In old days, when a donkey was used to pull a cart, the owner would tie a carrot to a stick and dangle it in front of the donkey to make it walk faster. When our movements are dictated by desires, we are dragged about like the proverbial donkey behind the carrot. When the mind goes outside for pleasure and happiness through the senses we lose so much energy and we feel the strain.
Man is made up of two parts, the outer and inner man. The outer man consists of the sense organs which are always directed outside. The inner man consists of the nervous system, heart and inner organs. The inner organs supply the energy for these sense organs to function. Whenever we use up too much energy by repeating bad habits, the inner system collapses and causes more tension on the mind.
Much of our addiction problems can be attributed to the repeat of bad habits and desire. It is not unlike eating desert after you have already eaten too much to begin with. How many of us have used or had more than enough to drink when a fellow user/drinker stops by unexpectedly. Because we would not dream of attempting some sort of social interaction without the assistance of drugs or alcohol we join the guest in another round even though we did not really want to get any higher. The habit of social drug taking overcomes our intellect and the next thing we know we are taking another hit or another drink because our guest is trying to get as high as we are. Before you know it you pass out or become nonfunctional. You cannot blame this one on your friend because it was only your desire and lack of discrimination to judge between right and wrong that took you for a ride you did not really want to go on. Remember, this high was not to satisfy any craving. This high came strictly from lack of control over mind. In order to gain control we must observe the mind and we must train the mind even though we are clean and sober at present. It is important that we focus on some other forms of discipline that will help train the mind.
To help train the mind start with something simple. We are used to eating too much. Eating from hunger is one thing. Eating because of habit is another matter. So, to train the mind try this: Stop eating your favorite food for three months. If you are in the habit of buying this food two times a week for yourself, then say to yourself, `I will buy it three times a week and share it with my friends or family, but I will not eat it myself.' You serve it and sit at the dinner table with them. As they eat it, say to yourself, `How nice it is to see such happy faces.' Announce to all the family that you are doing this, so you don't have a chance to indulge secretly. Suppose Jack is going to stop eating ice cream for one month. Then one day when everyone has gone out of the house Jack takes a spoon, goes to the refrigerator and sneaks some ice cream. He should say to himself, `Oh, Jack, I have caught you red-handed. I know you are eating ice cream.' He must smile because that is all he can do. No anger. Then Jack should try again for another month. In this way failure becomes a steppingstone to success. Please do not think that this technique is unimportant.
The ability to observe the mind comes from control over appetite.
To escape the clutches of the mind we start with some simple techniques that lead to bigger things. When we are able to observe the mind it becomes possible to see how the mind works. Then we can begin to undo our bad habits.
Imagine a glass box filled with water. The box has an electric light bulb inside it, and also a paddle or churn to stir the water. When the churning starts, you see only certain patterns of light. Human mind is like this glass box. The idea is to stop the churning and let the light shine through.
While visiting the retreat and after you leave, it will be helpful for you to write in your journal about whatever desire crops up and exactly how you feel about it. This way you can work through whatever is bringing on the desire and it can help you to learn how to observe your behavior.