Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Self-Denial = Over-Indulgence

Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?
Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul,
And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.

~Kahlil Gibran

I love the words of Kahlil Gibran, he was a wise spiritual mystic, who understood the human psyche very well. Have you ever denied yourself something that you wanted so desperately and although you were able to suppress the urges and temptation to give in, eventually you succumbed and did something you regret? This could apply to just about anything in life from overeating to sex and everything in between. We human beings are not very balanced by nature and we are by nature creatures of habit, and unfortunately those habits are oftentimes the absolute worst for our well-being.

I am a firm believer that self-deprivation is not such a good thing. More times than not by complete denial of desires when we do give in we over-compensate and then out of guilt, we give in completely causing even more damage. We can be taught how to enjoy pleasures without becoming consumed by them. Something as simple as chocolate, there was a time when I could eat an entire bag of Reese's Cups in one sitting and boy did I suffer for it later...It was usually after I had denied myself any sweets at all due to dieting. I have learned how work with my ego, so to speak. Think of it like this, if you take something away from a child they will generally throw a temper tantrum. We are much the same way as adults. So the logical thing to do would be to replace the thing taken away with something else more appropriate. My husband's grandmother made a practice of this when he was a child and the grandchildren would come to her house. She never had a problem with the little ones touching things because she always made available to them things that they could play with and when a child did touch something off limits, she never yelled, but was patient and treated that child with gentleness.

We need to treat ourselves much the same way my husband's grandmother treated him. Self-nurturing is essential to real lasting change. Our desires must be met and dealt with with care if we are to overcome the compulsions to over-indulge, thus throwing us out of balance. So now when I want a piece of chocolate, instead of having a bag of Reese's Cups lying around tempting me, I allow myself to indulge in a piece of the most decadent Godiva dark chocolate, and as silly as it may sound, while eating it I sit quietly with my eyes closed and consciously suck until every bit of it is absorbed into my senses. Yes, I call it the mouthgasm...hahaha. The point is that desires are there for a reason, they cannot be ignored. No matter how hard we try to, they come around eventually again and again. The secret, always have something available to appease that desire and never completely deny it. By doing this, over time the desperation diminishes and we gain control over the desire instead of the urges controlling us.

May you enjoy the pleasures in all of life. We are sensual creatures by nature, but like all good things, there will always be the opposite effect. The balance will never be realized in complete deprivation. So stop depriving yourselves and you will learn to master your life.


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