Not for me thanks, I’m a Buddhist

For me, avoiding alcohol was not a conscious decision that I made one day.

It was born of many factors.  But principally, I just never enjoyed it, not the taste, and definitely not the effects.

I like the feeling of being calm and clear-headed.  And clarity and alcohol do not generally go together.

I also don’t like the feeling of losing touch with myself, and my sense of ethics.

It’s challenging though, in this society, to abstain from drinking.  Especially as a 30 something female.  Although I think the pressure to drink is not limited to age or to gender.

At times in the past I have given in to that pressure.

However these days I am comfortable to calmly and firmly state my decision when it comes to drinking.

I should add that I do not take a moral – or buddhist – standpoint on others drinking.  But for me it just doesn’t work.

I am passionate about developing my practice, and insight and mindfulness, and alcohol does not assist me in that desire.

I am proud to follow the 5 precepts, out of compassion and care for myself and the world around me ♥

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By refraining from taking intoxicants, we can more easily cultivate awareness, attention and clarity of mind

What exactly are your intentions?!!

Intention sets direction

All of us have different intentions that will arise – depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

We can’t control those intentions, impulses and desires that arise, but we can choose whether or not we follow them.

The intentions you do act on define who you are.

There are many different situations that we face throughout life – some of them difficult – and most times we have little direct control over them.

What we do have control over is how we react to those situations, and with what intention.

Our intentions have a huge effect on our minds, and our behaviour.  And not only do they affect our ourselves, but also the people around us.  And subsequently how we see and experience the world.

For example if you have an intention to be kind and generous, you will mostly find that people around you will react positively and kindly.  Conversely if your intention is to be angry, you will likely be met with the same from those around you.

It’s nearly like “instant karma” where we can immediately feel the effect that acting on certain intentions has.  And this doesn’t just apply to our speech and actions, but our thoughts as well.  By practising mindfulness, you will notice how angry thoughts produce unpleasant sensations in your body.  And vice-versa.

The intentions that we live on also create a habit in the mind.  It strengthens those intentions, so the mind is more likely to react in the same way in the future.  If your intentions are mean-spirited, then you are strengthening those tendencies.  If your intentions are to be kind and generous and giving, you will also strengthen those conditions in your mind.

And the time that your unconscious intentions and reactions are most likely to arise is during times of stress and anxiety.

Practice exercises

Spend some time considering the following:

  • Which intentions do you act on?
  • Which intentions do you decide are useful?
  • What conditioning arises for you during times of stress?

And most importantly, spend some time asking yourself the following question:

“What is the deepest intention that I want my life to be based on?”

And how can you follow through on that intention?

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  What we think we become”.  The Buddha.