I went to Natural Grocers today to get brown rice. They have the short grain kind that I like so much. They never have free samples... except today. There was another cute woman at a card table giving away bits of nut filled candy bars. Nutrition bars, called Kind, I think.
I said no. Yea. I said no. And no just because I wanted to see if I could say no. I really wanted them. But I thought about how I could be in charge... and it felt good. Though I'm not going to admit it to anyone.
I explained to the woman that they looked great, but I just wasn't partaking of free samples.
And then I started thinking about renunciation, which one of my zen teachers said was the most important idea in zen. It confused me at the time because it seemed that renunciation is so negative (what other word has three Ns?).
It isn't really not eating the free sample, but more about walking straight to the back where they keep the rice in a cooler. So you don't don't eat the sample, and you don't don't lust over your neighbor's BMW, and you don't hold back from lusting because that's an action. At least, that's my take on it. You just go in the store and get the rice. Or you do what you need to do to see clearly. If your mind is on what you are giving up... like a free sample... like my mind is... you are lost... as I am.
So I Googled renunciation and found a drawing I made 3 years ago about it. It is a small world when you find yourself.