Dale S. Wright

‘Spiritual discipline is best conceived not as the repression of the energy of desire, but rather as its reorientation. The point of ascetic discipline that works against certain desires is gradually to learn the freedom of mastery, the freedom to choose among desires and to shape them, thus avoiding both harmful desires and detrimental relations to desires such as enslavement or addiction. Discipline regulates desire, channels and cultivates it, so that what we choose – life in pursuit of excellence – is actualized over against what would have occurred had we followed the desires that originally motivated our activity.

Those skilled in practices of mindfulness and in the discipline of character know how to assess desires. They consciously evaluate and rank desires, and when some of them are out of accord with chosen purposes – a “thought of enlightenment” – they also know how to extinguish them.’ (The Six Perfections)

Well, that’s the plan anyway.


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