Reader comment on Thanissaro Bhikkhu's passage ...

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    On Jan 22, 2012 Manisha wrote:

    I really appreciate how this piece characterizes restraint in a positive light. It often has a negative connotation -- that restraint is a denial or a repression of some inner need or desire, a hindrance to freedom and expression. As a result, there is a common belief that restraint leads to feelings of unfulfillment. I never seriously reflected on restraint until I started making "trade offs" in my life in order to try to live out the things that I value. It was initially difficult to say no and detach myself from certain habits because I thought I could have my cake and eat it too! For example, I learned the hard way that it is not possible to work very late or go out late with friends and wake up early in the morning to meditate as I would miss my alarm each time. Finally, when I surrendered to restraint, I found freedom from some strong cravings and freedom to be live out the things that I truly enjoy. The boundaries constructed by such restraint have actually created a sense of boundlessness, well-being, and wholeness that was not satisfied by previously chasing craving after craving. I discovered that many of these cravings were motivated by fear and insecurities and in saying "no" to them, I created a space to be motivated by love and completion. I now find myself nurturing this garden of wholeness and growing in it -- both roots and flowers -- by approaching each moment as an opportunity to do this or do that, think this or think that, attach myself to this or that or to not attach at all. This reading serves as a beautiful reminder for me to be courageous, gentle, and kind in living the dignity of restraint.

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