My Journey of Overcoming Lust
(Minghui.org) I would like to share with fellow cultivators my arduous journey of trying to overcome the demon of lust. I am still on this journey, but I feel it is time to share.
While growing up, my behavior was good and kind, but my mind tended to be dirty. I went to a preschool when I was two or three years old, and sexual abuse occurred there. Although I never wanted to attribute that experience to my problem, I believe there is a connection. It’s fundamentally due to my karma, though.
I was brought up in a spiritual family. We went to church each week, and I tried to be a devout Catholic. Besides the requirement of waiting until marriage to be intimate, there was not much more guidance about appropriate male-female relationships beyond that, or about how to overcome sexual desire.
One of my most obvious faults in dealing with the demon of lust is that I would compare myself to ordinary people. Relative to them, I appeared upright. I was quite shy growing up, so I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school or college. My friends had girlfriends, and some of them had premarital sex, but I planned to wait until I was married. Comparing myself to non-practitioners created an illusion that I didn’t have lustful behavior. But I frequently had lustful thoughts in my mind and failed the test regularly.
Master said with regard to lustful images,
“If it arouses you in any way you might have an emission and the dream will become reality.” (The Sixth Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I started practicing Dafa about one year after graduating from college. I knew that I would cultivate for the rest of my life and that my xinxing would continually improve, so I worried that I might never be intimate with someone. I was attached to getting married. It would be another eight years before that happened.
I tried to understand the source of my lust and tried many different ways to rid myself of it. At one point, I didn’t allow myself to think of any lustful images. But I still hadn’t gotten rid of my sexual desire, so I would have urges to emit.
I realized that if I looked two or more times at an attractive girl during the day, the demon of lust would visit me at night. This helped me realize that if I can’t control my eyes, then I invite the demon of lust to interfere with me.
I’ve also realized that over the years of clarifying the truth to people, I became friendly with whomever, regardless of their gender. From one perspective, I was doing what a practitioner should do–showing kindness and compassion to others. From another perspective, however, I was smiling and looking into the eyes of others, including women, and if I weren’t careful, elements of lust could be mixed in. While clarifying the truth, I would normally remain righteous, but in more casual settings, I realized that my smiles to women contained unclean messages.
Once I got married, lust was not easier to overcome. My wife suggested that we abstain from sexual intimacy, and I thought it was a good challenge, so I agreed. Again, I compared myself with others and believed that I must be doing well relative to most people. The truth was, though, that I still hadn’t overcome lust. Beyond failing the test of lust at night, I would occasionally look at pornography. It happened when I felt emotionally overwhelmed to begin with, and the feeling would be compounded by being reprimanded by my wife. I would feel angry and resentful, and my will to forbear and my righteous thoughts would weaken.
After failing this test way too many times, I realized that this wasn’t the way things should be. I felt that I was always trying to repel and reject lustful thoughts, but if I became too overwhelmed, I would fall. My entire mindset needed to change.
The problem was that I wanted to indulge in lustful thoughts. This gave the demon of lust justification to attack me at night.
“Animals can’t see the realms of higher beings, and so they aren’t afraid of those beings and exploit one of the laws of the universe, namely, that normally nobody should try to stop someone from going after what he wants. So animals figure there is nothing wrong with giving the person what he wants, and they do just that.” (The Third Talk, Zhuan Falun)
I realized that my will to overcome lust needed to be stronger. I began to think and even say to myself, “I don’t want lust.” Rather than hope that I would pass the test at night, I would warn the demon of lust: “If you try to tempt me, I will destroy you.”
This helped me become more sober at night. I reinforced this new mindset for several months and saw some improvement, but it didn’t last long. I didn’t feel that I was stable or righteous enough during the night.
One day, I had the thought, “Rather than spending your energy pushing away lustful thoughts and the demon of lust, why not pluck out your sexual desire?”
That very night, I noticed something had changed. The demon of lust no longer had justification to bother me. I experienced this same thing again and again. This was a tremendous breakthrough, and I was so very grateful for Master’s patience and guidance during this long process.
That thought changed everything. I asked myself why I didn’t have that thought when I began practicing many years ago. My understanding is that I wasn’t ready for it at the time, my xinxing wasn’t at the required level, and the timing wasn’t right. More was needed for the breakthrough than just that thought: I needed to be at a point where I was truly willing to give up the attachment. While the thought arose seemingly naturally, I believe that it was actually Master who orchestrated the change when the time was right and my will was strong enough.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners who have also shared on this topic. Your sharing has helped me strengthen my righteous thoughts, and I hope mine will do the same for others.
Category: Improving Oneself