Posts Tagged ‘addiction’

Today, I practiced more at keeping up the discipline of a relaxed and aware mindset. I was feeling a downturn again, and was struggling with things that were keeping me from even starting what I’d planned to have completed first thing in the morning. I kept reminding myself to not think like someone who’s overwhelmed, but like someone who is mindful of the limitations of the day and staying on pace to overcome them.

I had help in this by a story I heard last night.

The Shopkeeper

In feudal Japan, life wasn’t so good to a simple shopkeeper. He struggled to make ends meet, a struggle made harder by taxes, bandits, or even samurai taking some or all of what he and his customers needed to get through the month. The life of a peasant wasn’t worth much, and the life of a shopkeeper wasn’t any different.

Finally, this shopkeeper decided he didn’t want to be such easy prey, particularly for the bandits. So he began training with a master in the martial arts. Without neglecting his shop, he dedicated the remainder of his time to becoming a worthy, and then the finest student of this master. Eventually, he had learned all his master could teach him, leaving only life to test his skill.

His test came when he was walking home with his wife, and they were beset by bandits. Soon they were surrounded, being pushed around and berated for being so helpless and worthless. His wife then cried out, “Stop thinking like a shopkeeper before they kill us both!”

This snapped him out of it. His decades-long training to cower for his life was replaced by his years-long training to protect lives. Soon the bandits lay on the ground, and he walked his wife to their peaceful home.

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I was talking with someone about how I try to be fairly strict about not eating not-so-good food and snacks. My body just does not react well to them. This means staying away from refined grains or starches or sugars or, really, most anything very processed. Also, just about no animal proteins (I’m allergic, for a start).

I said I have to be very strict because I don’t feel I have much willpower. My friend protested, saying that I show a lot of willpower by staying away from the foods. I explained further that when I stay away from them, I’m not tempted to over-indulge in foods I oughtn’t be having at all. It would be fine if I could have just a little bit here or there, and sometimes I do. Then, it’s not too long before I start to have a little more, and a little more, until I’m making it a bit of a habit.

The fortunate thing is, it doesn’t take long before my health begins to suffer from my over-indulgence. I then notice that I’ve been feeling a bit worse, do a mental inventory of what I’ve been putting into my system, and get right back on the wagon.

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