Question: My husband cheated on me and I can not get over it. Help.

Who is the “me” that got cheated on? Surely, if a casual acquaintance at work told you they cheated on you, it would mean nothing because you have never put a set standard or expectation on them. I am saying this to illustrate that this “me” that was cheated on is partial, judges by a standard, and then inflicts pain on itself because its expectations were not met. True freedom lies in the ability to see all with an equal eye. Nevertheless, it is still painful on a human level and that is normal and is right. But begin to make your primary relationship a secret one in your heart with the Lord itself. As this relationship will never betray you, and you will be able to weather the humanity of your life while being anchored in divinity.

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When seeking enlightenment, should I refrain from sex, eat certain foods, etc. Does a strict lifestyle help?

Should a person eat peanut butter even though they are allergic because their favorite teacher does? Should one refrain from sex not knowing the consequences because someone they respect told them to? Should a professional athlete minimize his calorie intake to 500/day because someone told him that it is the spiritual thing to do?

The only requirement to break down the immensity of the “me” is intense devotion to do so. One must bring the sum of their energy to this with all the energy they can muster.

Knowing how to do that, partially requires a body (healthy nervous system) and a mind (empty so ready to be filled) that is capable of receiving such a tremendous amount of force. So, it is important to have a working knowledge of that specific machine which you embody. This requires an acute sensitivity to the reactions of both mind and body.
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Question: Why do people get addicted to sex? What can I do about it?

First, we must understand addiction: What does it mean “to be” addicted to some “thing?”

To Be-Before the “I’ becomes this or that, yet is aware of thoughts and body sensations; but knows itself as having no Absolute connection to thought-body phenomenon. “To be” is a verb implying action. That action can be described as WITNESSING.

A “thing”-Perceived phenomenon: conceptual or physical. A thing always needs a perceiver in order to validate its existence. I am aware of this flower in front of me through sight and smell. I am aware of these thoughts that desire some “thing” pleasurable.

To be a thing– The Witness (to be)  perceives thoughts and sensations (things). To be something, is clearly the Witness identifying with what is being witnessed. Whether it is a sensation (body) or a thought (mind), the perceiver mistakes itself for that which it perceives.

This mind-body identification, creates an exclusive I (your name and its corresponding history) that creates and follows the paradigm “my happiness is based on experiencing pleasure in the body and manifesting their corresponding thoughts. My unhappiness is based on experiencing discomfort in the body and trying to un-manifest their corresponding thoughts.”

It is this me that is addicted. This persona tries to find avenues that are predictable and yield consistent results in pleasure so it can be happy. In that way, addiction is a base function of any ego, but we tend to define addiction only if it affects other parts of the ego’s societal responsibilities.

It is easy to see why people get addicted to sex. Fundamentally it is because they are identified with the body, and so seek happiness through it.  Sex offers a full body experience with very little cost of intention. Unfortunately, like any other pleasurable experience it quickly dissipates and must be constantly pursued.

Once the body gets addicted to the hormones and to the pleasure center of the brain, it turns into a compulsion and one feels it is out of their control. As the body now seems to have an intention all of its own, and the ego starts to feel like a helpless victim pulled around by desire.

What room would there be for any addiction if one knew them self in spite of the body and mind? One would stop seeking experience through the body. At the same time, one would not mind what befalls the body whether pleasurable or painful. Like a person who has a very expensive car and can truly care less what happens to it. Yet, he goes along for the ride.

What can you do once the body is addicted?

Remain as the Eternal Witness, while allowing for the transient phenomenon of mind and body to come and go without interference. Confusing the Perceiver for that which is perceived is the cause for all this confusion and suffering; as well identification with body responses and the thoughts that desire sex.

Stay with the question: Yes, I hear these thoughts and feel these sensations, but who am I inspite of them? Practice in this manner relentlessly and ruthlessly, and you will be free!

Atreya Thomas