Diane Eshin Rizzetto

‘It’s no surprise that what we put into our bodies reflects what’s in our heads… The real practice comes in how we handle body or mind states we’re not satisfied with – that don’t meet the requirements we have come to rely on in order to avoid more core beliefs about who we think we are. If I have a deadline to meet, and I’m clean out of energy, I’ll no doubt reach for a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee. Remember, it’s not the substance we’re using that’s key here; it’s our intention in using it and the harm and suffering it causes when we use it to cloud our ability to take clear, intelligent action.’ (Deep Hope)

This passage comes from a discussion on the fifth grave precept, around intoxication. These ten precepts are often called the clear mind precepts, and this one specifically speaks to the value of a clear mind – so that we don’t keep fooling ourselves as we often like to do. Many commentators point to the myriad ways we can intoxicate ourselves, with everything from our own thoughts to powerful drugs. I have my own ‘poisons’, coffee being one I will turn to for energy; others, like watching a football match or having a couple of drinks, as a way of zoning out for a while.

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