CHOICE: The earliest observation I made in this process was about choice. Having set the above intentions, I became aware of every opportunity that arose to break those intentions and having to make a conscious choice about my behavior. Some obstacles I ran into:
- Limiting how much I talk about sex or other people in that context, made me question one of my closest relationships. I had to struggle at times to find other topics of conversation, and wondered if the basis of that friendship was strong enough to survive a shift in my behavior.
- My thought life is more active than I thought in this area. Fantasizing is a form of entertainment or distraction that comes up a lot especially in the evening or when falling asleep. My mind wants to fantasize that a certain person might ask me out and during this experiment I choose to say no to that. But what harm will it cause?
- Frustration at my focus on what I “can’t” do, rather than a redirection of that energy.
- Falling into value judgements like sex = bad, celibacy = good. A hard habit to break in our Judeo-Christian-centric society.
- On a humorous note, my neighbors were having a lot of sex, and overhearing that was a challenge to my thought life.
One of the biggest choices I made was not to go to the monthly dance party I always go to. I was torn between wanting to go to be there with a different attitude versus not going and avoiding the challenge of the situation all together. My motivation to go was to dance, but I know that I check people out constantly too. I feel that when practicing a yama it is important to bring that into daily life, but taking Bramacharya practice to a setting specifically designed to promote sex seemed like going overboard. I felt it was a better choice to practice by choosing not to put myself in such a challenging situation.