I Want to Overcome My Lustful Desires. What Can I Do?

Question

I am college student (22 years) and have started to follow Paramahansa Yogananda Ji. I am not able to get over my desire of lust and feel that it is being a hindrance in my spiritual path to GOD. Is it right to feel this way? How do I go about this?

—RSK, India

Answer

Dear Friend,

Desire for sex, romance and intimacy is deeply rooted in the human psyche. Second only to the instinct for preservation, it is not so easy to overcome. We live at a time when this instinct is promoted at every turn of one’s day through the various forms of entertainment, fashion, news, media and print. We live in a society where, though it varies somewhat from culture to culture, the satisfaction of this instinct is not difficult to achieve (whether mentally or physically). Unlike not very long ago, the sexes are free to intermingle in the workplace, at school, and in public. Age, health, even diet and life-cycle can also strongly influence the extent to which this instinct is aroused. The arousal can be both addictive and intoxicating when indulged habitually.

So, see yourself, therefore, as a long-distance runner. Having one sincere, respectful and meaningful relationship with the opposite sex (a woman, that is, right?) is helpful. So also is daily prayer and meditation. View women as sisters and mothers, primarily. View those who flaunt their sexuality as ignorant of how they impact men or that they may view themselves so superficially. Practice the technique of turning away when sexually attractive images (virtual or physical) appear to your sight; or, in your thoughts. Develop an affirmation or mantra that you use to respond to temptation of any sort.

It is valuable to engage in daily, wholesome exercise; a clean and nutritious diet; uplifting music (and avoidance of most popular entertainment or music) and, as I indicated above, wholesome verbal exchanges with women at home, work, school or in the public. Strictly avoid alcohol or mood-altering drugs of any kind. Engage in wholesome public, community, or spiritual service in your neighborhood, city, school, work etc.

You might find it helpful, also, to view yourself as a man who is strong, dharmic and a protector….rather than a user, abuser, or an effete (prone to sensuality).

You must make the effort no matter how difficult it might seem to overcome (at first and at your age). At the same time, see it as a life long habit of turning aside from temptation. See this temptation as something that is part of life, like the temptation to eat too many sweets or to overeat or to gossip. It’s part of life. It’s not wrong or bad but it can overtake your life and consciousness and destroy your own self-respect, health, and soul consciousness. You simply need to calmly work with this energy for the life force energy of procreation is what has given us life. It can be used on higher octaves of health, vitality, creativity, service to humanity and devotion to God. It’s God’s gift to us of life, itself. So respect and treasure it but learn to use its power for your own, and others, highest good. Think: long-distance!

Blessings and joy to you!
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA
www.Hrimananda.org