If you would like to use this tool, it might be helpful to understand the larger context within which it is intended to be used …
What need does the “unwholesome state” incantation seek to meet?
The surface-level need which this tool seeks to meet is the need to incline to mind away from unwholesome states and towards wholesome states.
However, this tool is most useful when used along with 2 others to meet the larger need and measurable goal of eradicating an unwholesome desire for a particular sensory experience.
To that end, I use this incantation in a group of 3:
“unwholesome state” => “unwholesome narrative” => “unwholesome sense-desire”
When is it appropriate to use this tool?
For lack of a better metaphor, “the highest priority problem gets the attention”.
Some problems are bigger and more important than others … until they’re not.
When progress is made against them, they become smaller and other problems become the priority.
The problem of inclining the mind to
change its habitual response to to pain
to the compulsion to search for wisdom
is by far the largest problem to be faced
for those seeking to attain nibbana – the total end of suffering.
Smaller subproblems of this problem involve the coping mechanisms required when we fail to solve the larger problem.
Namely the coping mechanisms for the suffering we have failed to suppress.
the problem of inclining the mind to respond to
the coping mechanism of “anger” with the compulsion to discern, and
the coping mechanism of “avoidance” with the compulsion to search for understanding.
To the extent that progress against these problems is actually made, the practitioner will quickly come to the realization that most of the pain signals that are seizing her attention involve the inner conflict between (1) the evolutionarily older “hard-wired sense-desires of the survival machine for genes” and (2) the evolutionarily more recent “care and concern for the wellbeing of others.” i.e. “moral discipline”
To the extent to which progress is made in the struggle to attain moral discipline, other problems become the priority.
Having suppressed the larger pain signals that arise during moral conflict, other pain signals rise to claim the attention of the sensory motor brain.
Now is the time that attention can be directed towards the final phases of the fight to fully subjugate the task negative network with the task positive network.
Now is the time to use this incantation along with its 2 companions, to be begin severing attachments to the sense-desires which give rise to suffering.
This particular incantation is a direct copy of the Buddha’s guidelines for “right effort”.
They are succinct and effective.
1: May I guard against and prevent the arising of unwholesome states which have not yet arise.
2: May I abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen.
3: May I arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen;
4: May I maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.
These are the 4 right efforts