Abstinence is a dirty word. A word that makes nearly everyone uncomfortable. It is, however, a potent tool that is at our disposal. People think that to abstain from something is hard, and it is, but it isn’t impossible. We have a strange defeating way about the way we look at the world because we abstain from things, and we do it every day. Do you smoke? Then you abstain from smoking, and this is something that you do by choice each day. It may not seem like a choice, but I assure you that it is.
All of us have things that are easier to live without than others. It takes no effort to stay away from the things that don’t call to us, like for a vegetarian perhaps. A vegetarian may not have an intense craving for meat, but what about sugar? Could that same person abstain from sugar so easily? This could prove to be much more difficult regardless of their discipline in other areas. Our bodies are like big walking talking sponges. We soak up whatever we consume. That is true whether it is a lot or a little, and this is why abstinence is essential.
When most of us think about this word, we think about sex. Rarely do we use this word in another context, at least not in modern vernacular. Do you watch television? A lot or a little? Remember we are a sponge. We can all easily recognize the more we do something, well, the more we do it. The more we drink, the more we drink. The more we watch television, the higher our desire to watch tv. The more we do things to create gratitude in others, the more we seek to replicate that rewarding feeling.
I find myself always speaking of the double-sided nature of things, maybe that is the Gemini in me. But think for just a moment of the power of using abstinence. We can eradicate the harmful stuff from our lives for good. The formula is so simple a child can understand it. Abstain. Do not touch, stay away, far far away, from the things that are harmful and distracting in your life. What is 5×5? 25 right? How silly, that’s such an easy problem, but is it? Before you knew multiplication, it was most certainly not an easy question. Only after fully understanding how to solve this incredibly simple problem are you able to do so.
Abstinence is similar. The concept is as easy as 5×5. It’s application however is slightly more difficult, but easily achievable, and replicable with practice. What we can achieve with this simple hack, if you want to call it that, is unparalleled. It can lead to great peace and freedom from our wants, desires, and addictions big and small. Once the sponge has is cleared of whatever you may be your fleeing, continue fleeing, forever. Don’t stick your toe back in. Don’t flirt with that thing anymore; you will fall backward, there is no question. You are not stronger than your physiology; you aren’t. Look, you are already loosing because your brain is lying to you right now, telling you that just a little won’t hurt. If you flirt, you will get hurt there is no question.
Abstinence from drugs and addictive substances is obvious, and I think that’s what most people will think that’s what this is all about. Or sugar or foods that are bad for you, and it includes all of those things, but it goes further. What about abstaining from politics? What about abstaining from popular culture? It may sound crazy, but no one has ever died from getting rid of their cell phone. It may feel as though the world would end, but it wouldn’t. If we deleted our twitter pages, and never sent another fucking tweet, we would survive. And we would probably be better for it. Our culture teaches us to have just a taste. That sounds a lot like those old PSA’s with drug dealers saying that to kids, “hey this one is on me.” It should sound familiar because that is precisely what almost every company and service tells us these days. What you abstain from is your choice. I do think you will be surprised to see that with abstinence you won’t need half of the stuff you thought. Ask yourself what you really “need,” without the voices of the pushers. Does it add value to your life? Because you can be sure, it is adding capital gains to someone else’s.