For me and many other perpetual dieters I’ve spoken to, a trick that seems to work is as simple as first giving up sugar. It’s tough for up to a week, but then you magically don’t care anymore and the rest of the diet seems to fall into place. That is, until the Holiday season rolls around again or you’re traveling and a hotel muffin then another makes a convenient fast meal.
Physical addictions like drugs and food are easier to deal with because it is possible to just lock us up in a room at a rehab center with no access to the stuff. But we can’t isolate ourselves from mental addictions, the source of Dukkha, such as fears, jealousy, anger, and even our very basic beliefs about the fragmented “symbolic world” we’re indoctrinated with from birth.
It’s critical to remember before you all become enlightened on the upcoming Lunar Bodhi Day (Christmas Day 2017) that enlightenment is just switching on the light – no different than the sun illuminating the world so you no longer just feel your way around in the dark in a highly serial, fragmented manner.
But you probably will be the only one in the room noticing the light is on and you will need to continue life like everyone else for which the light is still off. The newly enlightened must have faith and patience, that by bravely continuing to ignore the delusions of the mind, the enlightened state will become your new nature. Like with sugar, you just won’t care about it any more. Your job is now to help others see with the light on – just like putting on your air mask before you can help others with theirs.
Siddhartha Gautama himself continued to be tormented by worldly desires after his Bodhi Day. Enlightenment is being at the top of the little hill of our Earthly lives, seeing the much higher hill across the valley, and realizing we can only get to that higher hill by first climbing down the one we’re on, then starting the arduous journey up to that higher peak. For the Enlightened, the journey to that peak is the focus on just the Now, what Is, submitting freely into whatever is your daily life. We start at a big base of past, present, and future at the bottom and climb focused to the singularity of the peak – the single Now. That is the Refuge of the newly Enlightened.
Enlightenment is not a perpetual meth high.
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku
Ordained Zen Priest of the Order of the Common Area Ponds