There are so many temptations these days—temptations to eat, drink, smoke, buy, borrow and believe. One market research firm estimated that each person living in a city sees 5,000 ads each day, more than twice that seen 30 years ago.
These ads, of course, are not designed to appeal to your higher, nobler self; they are deliberately targeted to hook your weaknesses, fears and vulnerabilities. There are so many attractive images, clever phrases, enticing smells and amazing deals around us that just walking down the street requires some serious resistance training.
One of the biggest challenges in resisting temptation is simply noticing that you do have a choice. This is where One-Moment Meditation can help. I don't want to minimize the role of genetics in addiction, nor the fact so many products are designed to make you need more of them, but I do believe you have a choice. And as the amount of external temptation gets greater, and our needs and wants are increasingly manipulated, you need to increase your awareness of that choice.
Here's my suggestion. As soon as you notice a craving, just do a moment of meditation. In other words, turn each
craving into a little reminder to do a moment of meditation. There's no need to do a long meditation here—just a moment will do. It might go something like this: Gosh, I'd love a piece of cake—meditate. Wow, it's been such a hard day, I really need a drink—meditate. Hey, look at that great deal on a new car—meditate.
This is not about self-discipline, which can make you feel like a failure; or "being good," which can make you feel bad. I just want you to give yourself a tiny little nonjudgmental moment in between your impulse and your action.
Once you've found and experienced this gap, and maybe even enjoyed a little break from your craving, you might be able to make some new choices, or at least give yourself some other options. You could distract yourself. You could call your sponsor. You could click on something else. You could at least question whether you really want that supersize sundae.
Each time you create a gap in your mental chatter, and each time you give yourself a break from all the external voices, you create a space in which a deeper part of yourself can be known.
Yes, there is a healthier, stronger "you" in there; and this healthier, stronger you is much more able to resist temptation than is the ordinary, overwhelmed you.
You may not be very familiar with this you yet. This you may never have been welcomed or respected. No one may even have told you that this you exists. Or maybe you have had glimmers of this you—in those moments when you have felt most empowered and confident and present. But I believe this you is always around, just waiting for an opportunity to be seen and heard, and will emerge quite naturally when you make some room for it.
This healthier, stronger you desires only those things that bring you greater health and happiness. This healthier, stronger you makes choices that are good for you. This healthier, stronger you actually enjoys doing those things.
This healthier, stronger you also has a natural resistance to what other people want you to think or feel or taste or do or buy or believe, because this healthier, stronger you is just so much more aware of you. This you knows what you really want and what really works for you. This you has only your best interests at heart.
And this you just doesn't take the bait.Martin Boroson is a playful, practical new voice in the next wave of meditation teachers. Author of
One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go, he lectures on the benefits of a meditative mind for decision-making and leadership. Marty studied philosophy at Yale, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a formal student of Zen. Visit his website for One-Moment Meditation® help and resources, tweet him at @takeamoment or find him on Facebook.
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