An Acquired Taste - Vice & Virtue
Updated: Feb 25, 2022
Vice: undisciplined self indulgence/ excess.
No matter how much effort even a serious seeker exercises in trading off vices for virtue, the task is always difficult. Vices are so seductive, but savvy spiritual athletes pay attention and have learned by hard experience that those vices cost more than they are worth. So what then? Surrender them up? Not so easy.
Yes, the wise athletes do realize the benefit of going for virtue. They always know the sweetness of those virtues well. But, the vice pull is always nearby, suggesting just one more indulgence. How obvious! The taste is good- at first. Then the cost: lethargy, remorse, loss of a heap of the discipline and, eventually, the use of mental muscle to recover lost ground.
The work of the seeker is all too obvious. The slower trade off of vice is replaced by exercised virtue; the gradual shift of acquired taste- from short lived vice to the abiding joy of virtue.
Here is an illustration. You go to a party, you enjoy yourself with friends, food, drinks, and conversation. Finally you go home but you carry a heavy feeling. You’ve eaten too much? Drank too much? Listened too long to meaningless conversation? Entertained someone’s opinions that were exposed to you? Given into doing something that you know is no good for you? Whatever the case, you know well enough what I am talking about. And if you don’t, this article is not meant for you.
Perhaps you are not awake enough to appreciate the psychological and metaphysical aspects of this discussion, or you do not belong in the discussion because you are essentially true to yourself and have sufficient self-worth not to become caught in these basic situations. The other option: you have realized the futility of existence, are ready to add to the awakened state you’ve achieved, and begin a path of self study and self realization on a journey to enlightenment.
Continuing in either case, the study of self is important in order to gain the mental strength to seek and find the abiding freedom, happiness, and peace you seek.