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Interacting in Society
Answer
11/12/18 7:06 PM
I have been meditating for about a 1 and a half. I have been feeling for the past few days that I don't know anything. Let me explain. I feel like I don't understand anything about the world. I felt very confident before, but the last few days I have felt like everything is blurry. On the one hand I feel like everything just is. On the other hand I feel like I should try to be sensitive to the feelings of others. For example someone says, "An animal was run over." One part of me feels like saying that that is the nature of the universe. I feel guilty and somewhat ashamed if I don't say that that was a terrible thing. I feel stuck in the middle of these two choices. I don't know how to respond to these things anymore. Thank you for any help.

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/13/18 7:05 PM as a reply to David.
David:
I have been meditating for about a 1 and a half. I have been feeling for the past few days that I don't know anything. Let me explain. I feel like I don't understand anything about the world. I felt very confident before, but the last few days I have felt like everything is blurry. On the one hand I feel like everything just is. On the other hand I feel like I should try to be sensitive to the feelings of others. For example someone says, "An animal was run over." One part of me feels like saying that that is the nature of the universe. I feel guilty and somewhat ashamed if I don't say that that was a terrible thing. I feel stuck in the middle of these two choices. I don't know how to respond to these things anymore. Thank you for any help.

aloha david,

   If you have the feeling you don't know anything, you are probably on the right track, so hang in there.

   The part of you who "feels like saying that is the nature of the universe" is becoming enlightened. The part of you who feels "guilty and somewhat ashamed" is becoming more enmeshed in mindless conformity and duality. Guilt and shame are the result of "peer pressure" and really should be abandoned. Not only do they lead to self contempt, they lead to contempt for other people who are realistically not much better or worse than yourself. Do the best you can and be satisfied. Accept the best others can do with tolerance and compassion. As ye judge, so shall ye be judged; and so shall ye judge yourself.

   You are not a helpless observer of these tendencies. You can choose to be free. Of course it is important to be "sensitive to the feelings of others." It is also important to be yourself and speak the truth as you see it - how else will you know who you are? If you conform to every feeling "they" have, you will always be confused as to who you are and "how to respond to things." And you will present a conflicted picture to others. 

   It is awkward and uncomfortable to contradict people and point out the real. It is the nature of being awake, to always be a little (or a lot) out of step. People resent it and nudge and gossip about the solitary and different. Anyone who is awake always irritates the conformists who want everyone to stay comfortably asleep, doing as everyone else does, and not making waves. 

   So being a little uncomfortable with seeing things truly when others around you insist on avoiding clear vision and cling to comforting fictions goes with the territory. It gets easier, as the realization dawns that being alone and being all-one are the same. That being a little different is ok, especially if you feel you are doing the right thing. And with practice, we learn to tolerate the dislike of those to whom we don't conform with equanimity.

   It is a long lonely road bra, stay with it; see as clearly as you can and let the chips fall. Keep meditating, you have made a good start and it will only get better if you stick with it. Trust me.

   Thanks for posting.

love, terry


a classic sufi story from idries shah's "tales of the dervishes":


(quote)

When the Waters Were Changed


ONCE upon a time Khidr, the Teacher of Moses, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.

Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

At first he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day. Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.



Legend repeatedly links Dhun-Nun, the Egyptian (died 860), reputed author of this tale, with at least one form of Free-masonry. He is, in any case, the earliest figure in the history of the Malamati Dervish Order, which has often been stated by Western students to have striking similarities with the craft of the Masons. Dhun-Nun, it is said, rediscovered the meaning of the Pharaonic hieroglyphics.

This version is attributed to Sayed Sabir Ali-Shah, a saint of the Chishti Order, who died in 1818.

(unquote)

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/13/18 9:19 PM as a reply to terry.
Great stuff Terry. Love your contributions! 

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/13/18 10:37 PM as a reply to terry.
Thank you so much Terry. Your words really touched me. I feel much better after reading this post. I haven't reached out to anyone about meditating for months. This really helps me feel more secure in my practice. I have one more question for you, if you don't mind. Do you think it is worth arguing with someone about something that you think? I have been wondering if I don't agree with someone should I even bother arguing with that person. I don't see any point in arguing since everyone has their own beliefs. I feel like talking fulfills the need to be part of a group, but I feel like arguing comes down to the ego. Thank you for your wisdom and empathy.

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/14/18 2:14 PM as a reply to Nick O.
Nick O:
Great stuff Terry. Love your contributions! 
grin...

t

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/14/18 2:48 PM as a reply to David.
David:
Thank you so much Terry. Your words really touched me. I feel much better after reading this post. I haven't reached out to anyone about meditating for months. This really helps me feel more secure in my practice. I have one more question for you, if you don't mind. Do you think it is worth arguing with someone about something that you think? I have been wondering if I don't agree with someone should I even bother arguing with that person. I don't see any point in arguing since everyone has their own beliefs. I feel like talking fulfills the need to be part of a group, but I feel like arguing comes down to the ego. Thank you for your wisdom and empathy.

aloha david,

   From time to time someone will say something so outrageous you feel you must confront them with your truth. Some will take this as argumentative, and respond with hostility. You do not want to return their hostility: you have nothing to defend, you don't know anything as such, but you cannot compromise with evil. The buddha repeatedly warned that people cannot twist the suttas to condone bad behavior. Without a moral compass, a sense of what is wholesome and good, we lose our balance and fall. Everyone knows kindness and compassion; everyone knows meanness and cruelty. Be a friend to all sentient beings, even animals and insects, without being obsessed in a world where everything eats everything else and nature over-produces and culls.

   Where argument is futile is when we are defending opinions, like which football team is better, or who is the smartest and best looking. Most argument is a competition, which as you say comes down to egoism. Both winning and losing contribute to attachment to ego.

   Try to make all of your expressions kind and compassionate, regardless of what you are being dealt. Do not hesitate to withdraw if this is not allowed. The truest expression of real freedom is the ability to walk out, and go your own way.

   I have to say that, when you become secure enough you won't hesitate to argue when it seems appropriate. You want to achieve a condition - like a child - where you are completely spontaneous, sincere, and innocent. When you can express yourself without egoism you will know true freedom. Then you can confront a tyrant without fear, and be struck down without regret.

   It is kind of you to regard my contribution as helpful. Bless you.

terry



Alexander the Great found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, "I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave."

- Diogenes Of Sinope

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/14/18 3:02 PM as a reply to terry.
a few more from diogenes the dog:



When some one reminded him that the people of Sinope had sentenced him to exile, he said, "And I sentenced them to stay at home."


"The art of being a slave is to rule one's master."


"Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?"


"Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards."


"It takes a wise man to discover a wise man."

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/14/18 3:37 PM as a reply to terry.
another song:




To Beat the Devil
(kris kristofferson)

It was wintertime in Nashville
Down on Music City Row
And I was looking for a place
And to get myself out of the cold
To warm the frozen feeling that was eating at my soul
Keep the chilly wind off my guitar
My thirsty wanted whiskey
But my hunger needed beans
But it had been a month of paydays
Since I'd heard that eagle scream
So with a stomach full of empty
And a pocket full of dreams
I left my pride and stepped inside a bar
Actually I'd guess you'd call it a tavern
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling
And sawdust on the floor
Friendly shadows
I saw that there was just one old man sitting at the bar
And in the mirror I could see him checking me and my guitar
And he turned and said,
Come up here, boy, and show us what you are
I said I'm dry, and he bought me a beer
He nodded at my guitar and said,
It's a tough life, ain't it?
I just looked at him
He said, you ain't making any money, are you?
I said, you been reading my mail
He just smiled and said, let me see that guitar
I got something you ought to hear
And then he laid it on me
If you waste your time a talking 
To the people who don't listen
To the things that you are saying
Who do you thinks gonna hear?
And if you should die explaining how
The things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing
Who do you thinks gonna care?
There were other lonely singers
In a world turned deaf and blind
Who were crucified for what they tried to show
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time
‘Cause the truth remains that no one wants to know
Well the old man was a stranger
But I'd heard his song before
Back when failure had me locked out
On the wrong side of the door
When no one stood behind me
But my shadow on the floor
And lonesome was more than a state of mind
You see, the devil haunts a hungry man
If you don't want to join him
You gotta beat him
I ain't saying I beat the devil
But I drank his beer for nothing
Then I stole his song
And you still can hear me singing
To the people who don't listen
To the things that I am saying
Praying someone's gonna hear
And I guess I'll die explaining how
The things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing
Hoping someone's gonna care
I was born a lonely singer
And I'm bound to die the same
But I've gotta feed the hunger in my soul
And if I never have a nickel
I won't ever die ashamed
‘Cause I don't believe that no one wants to know

RE: Interacting in Society
Answer
11/15/18 9:14 AM as a reply to terry.
Hello Terry,
Thank you so much for your kind words. I'll have to read over these quotes a few times to try and get a deeper understanding. What you said makes a lot of sense. This is something that I have been debating in my head for a long time. I think it's very curious how we as humans act and understand the world. I think we want to understand the world, but like that song says only if it doesn't lead to pain. I think if something is painful our first "instinct" is to deny that we are the problem. Humans want a solution as long as it doesn't involve any changes in our own perspective and only happens in the "external" world. I definitely will have to start reading some more philosophy. I need to do some more reading about Buddha and the sattas. I definitely need to continue introspecting to understand this on a subconscious level. I send you a big compassionate hug Terry.
Love,
David