Suppression

Reducing opportunities

Category: Actions

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

  

Opportunities are any input that has the potential to provide us with pleasure [or relieve pain]. It is linked very closely with Desires, because an opportunity is also the chance to fulfil a Desire.

For example, I love dark chocolate.  Dark Chocolate is something of an obsession with me, thus I think about chocolate a lot and also find all sorts of ways to eat it.  If I pass a sweet shop window [an opportunity] I have the urgent wish to go in and buy the contents of the shop.  At one time they started a club on the Internet that enabled you to order and receive a pack of chocolate every month [another opportunity] and of course I joined.  I went into mourning for a week after they had to close down.

Given that an opportunity is the chance of pleasure, the reduction of opportunities may seem barmy, but there is method in my madness.

This section is about suppression.  What we are trying to do is to calm everything down, especially the Reason system and the Will.  If lots of opportunities for pleasure are constantly presenting themselves to a person, their Reasoning system will be working overtime trying to work out how to take advantage of the situation, the Will will be hyperactive in carrying out all the steps needed to get what we want  and the emotions will be high in anticipation of the possible pleasure it may bring.

Not much chance of a spiritual experience there then.

So, the objective of this technique is to decrease the number of opportunities with which we are presented.  The aim is thus not to repress, it is suppression by elimination.

But it is a bit more than that as we shall see.

Background

Opportunities work at the level of the Subconscious, and in this respect, the subconscious acts like a child.  Although it is often called the ‘feminine’ aspect of the mind, this is not actually very accurate in terms of response.  The subconscious acts like a child in its responses not a woman.

So we have to imagine in this that we are dealing with a child whose main motivation in life is to seek pleasure.

It is far kinder to you and this little child that lives within you – the tiny monkey within - to treat it very very gently, finding ways of calming it down.  And the best tactic is through fun and diversion.

Many religions appear to go for the rather horrific strategy of direct and almost total suppression of the Subconscious itself – Repression may be a better word.  CONTROL.   Control your Emotions, control the passions, the delight, the joy, the exuberance.

But Repression and control [and as we can see about all we can theoretically control of the functions we have are the Emotions]   works no better than it does when applied to the Autonomic systems.  Attempting to control the little being within, only serves to send it into Emotional overload.  You find you have moments of inexplicable rage, of inexplicable depression and fear and sadness.  CONTROL produces overload.  And although this occasionally works - people have had spiritual experiences by overloading the Subconscious - they tend to be traumatised afterwards and often ill as a result.

Constantly batting this little being on the head whenever it rears its tiny head is not a good strategy.  Instead we have to use a different strategy.

We are going to make friends with it by understanding it and being kind to it.  You are going to love your little inner child.

By loving it, it becomes calm and at peace.  And once it is calm and at peace, it well send no more messages to the Will wanting and complaining.  And the Will will gradually lower its activity until it is doing barely nothing.  And the Composer can take over.

Method


Step one - Find out what gives us pleasure 

The first step is to list out everything that gives us pleasure.  Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

Step two - Keep a diary

Now keep a diary and add to the list by keeping your mind on the lookout for inexplicable Emotions that hint at pleasures omitted from the list.

Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

Add to the list.

 

 

 

 

Step three - Remove the spurious pleasures


 

Go through the list and assess whether these really are the things that make you happy, or whether they are things that you just think make you happy.

Remove the spurious pleasures from the list.

Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

 

 

 

 

 

Step four - Eliminate the harmless pleasures

Against this list of pleasures remove from the list all those that do not cause obsessive thoughts, in effect any pleasures that you are happy to have if they come, but you don’t spend a lot of time worrying yourself or scheming if they don’t.  What you should be left with are your obsessions.

Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works. 

Step five - Understand the obsession

The next step is to try to list why these things have become an obsession as opposed to just something that, if it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t it is no big deal.  From this you should then get a list of obsessions and the reason they are obsessions for you.

Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

Step six - List everything bad about these obsessions

Now take every obsession and list everything that was actually not pleasurable about it – every aspect that turned out to be anything but pleasurable.  Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

This may serve to actually remove the obsessions altogether, but if you have any left, then you go to the next step.

Step seven - Find a replacement or a solution

The aim here is to use your understanding of why something has become an obsession to replace it with something that is equivalent but not an obsession. Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

Step eight - Avoid sources of ‘temptation’

It is not enough to provide a replacement, we now have to ensure that we do not put ourselves in the position where the original obsession presents itself again.  Eventually the replacement may take over, but until it does we are vulnerable.  Press the link to get more detail and an example of how this works.

This may not always be an entirely practical proposition, so what we must also do – because we are dealing with our inner child - is to divert it!!  

Step nine - Divert your inner child

The little being is going to be very annoyed that you have taken away the obsessive pleasures.  So we have to find a way of diverting it, so it forgets obsessions and concentrates on more simple low key pleasures. As the child in you is a right brained being, it will love art, music and beauty, so this is what you need to concentrate on.  You can use the activities

Little children love rewards when they have done well.  Reward the inner child.  Give yourself 5 gold stars or a pat on the back when you think you have achieved something!

How it works

It may be helpful here to have open the Model of the Mind and to have read the generic description of How spiritual experience works.

By reducing the Opportunities we are quelling a whole host of other functions.

Opportunities are used by– the Emotions, the Reasoning system, the functions of MemoryMemory recall and Learning  - functions that are not shown on the diagram such as Creativity and Imagination  as well as the Will directly. 

Any decrease in the number of opportunities will serve to slow down and decrease the activity in these functions, thereby reducing the input aimed at the Will.  Eventually the Will is starved of input until it gives in, thereby allowing the Composer to work.

Advantages

  • Free
  • Legal
  • Not hard to do
  • Effective

Disadvantages

None I can think of

Observations

‘Lead us not into temptation’ ………… so it worked for Jesus, it worked for the Buddha, it is there in the I Ching, Confucius understood this ……….

Related observations