If I stay sober emotionally, I can be mindful of when I start being driven by the attitude of lust. And when I see it, I can let it go.
In my meditation this morning I was able to experience how my addiction to lust makes my whole body tense and drives me like a type of electricity. It is my default disposition, it courses through my veins and impacts my entire body. In its most basic form, lust is not sexual, but instead spiritual. It is a spirit that I have long coupled with, albeit most of the time unknowingly. But now I see that spirit for what it is. And it is not from God.
So, I practice letting go of that spirit by letting go of the tension it is causing in my body and allowing the peace of God instead. I let go of that fantasy driven “need” in the Present Moment. Then, there is peace, and I can see the Gift of Life. I have to keep returning, over and over again, to the Present Moment by letting go of this temptation to live in lust-driven thoughts. Jean-Pierre de Caussade called this practice of abandonment The Sacrament of the Present Moment.
I let my planning mind, always looking to the future, rest. I return to the experience of breathing, in, and out, in, and out. I experience being, as it is, as I am. I experience my life as a gift from my Creator, and also the wonder of creation. I can experience it because I am present to it, and not lost in the past or the future, lost in thoughts driven by fears and passions.
When I allow lust to reign within me it’s as if there is a crisis, but it is totally a fabrication. My entire body is tense like there is some sort of crisis when driven by the spirit of lust. This illusion of crisis, otherwise known as “irritable, restless, and discontent” (AA, xxviii), is caused by the same poison that I seek to cure it with, by going deeper into the insanity-fantasy. It is an attitude that robs me of emotional sobriety such that I lose contact with wisdom, with reason. Ultimately, if I do not let this spirit go, before long, it will then manifest as a sexual temptation, based in a lie that indulging is actually a good thing, that it is okay this time. It is a path of deception, by a deceiver, but if I recognize that deception early on, then it won’t be acted out, through the eyes, the mind, or the body.
There is no other way to purity of heart, to true Christian chastity, but the total uncoupling with the spirit of lust. It must be, progressively, totally and completely mortified of. This requires recognizing it as an attitude that is infecting everything I do, my constant disposition. I don’t do this alone. I do it by the power and wisdom of God, dying to self and selfishness in the process.
Each and every person is invited to recognize the primary spirit, the principle thought, the cardinal sin, that is driving them. It is in and through that temptation, that trial, that a soul may be saved or lost. I am grateful to men with more insight than me, that helped me recognize my problem was not pornography, not culture, not something outside of me, but something within me, something that can only be seen and rejected through constant prayer and fasting (mortification).
Latest posts by Barry Schoedel (see all)
- Emotional Sobriety & the Attitude of Lust - 10/11/2018
- Lust and the Spiritual Combat: Distrust of Self – II - 09/26/2018
- Lust and the Spiritual Combat: Distrust of Self – I - 09/23/2018