What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

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Elle Francis Gee, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 12:37 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 12:37 AM

What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 3/30/12 Recent Posts
I just found this forum and am so overwhelmed with all of the options! I am in the process of reading Dan Ingram's book 'Mastering,' and am in love. Although I am still in the intro, I think this is exactly the book I have been searching for!

I apologize in advance if my post sounds ridiculous. I am not very good with people sometimes... Social skills don't some too naturally to me. My nature is introverted to some extent so I sometimes have problems interactive with others just because I don't communicate too terribly often.

I have been practicing Buddhism very heavily for a few years now. I believe that I entered the Dark Night phase over this past summer. Something clicked within me that is almost completely verbally indescribable. I reached a point now where I don't know what to do without a mentor, teacher or community. I have reached out to several established Buddhists and am cast aside for the most part. Perhaps my questions are coming out wrong and/or they are just too busy.

I would like to go on a retreat or venture off to a location that is more Buddhist friendly, but am financially unable to do so. I am unable to work currently. I am not presently attending school. I have no ties to my location. I consider myself a professional wanderer. I have been couch hopping for about a year. I have lost my belongings several times in my life and believe that not having anyone to fall back on is what pushed my passion over the edge (along with the realization of several destructive cycles I was and am making in my life- but I did and still am working on ending them).

I have just become so frustrated that I cannot find a way to further my practice yet. I have so many questions. I want to be apart of a community. The more I practice and study the more interest I lose in everything else in my life. I am at a loss. Buddhism is what I know I'm meant to do with my life. I won't quit until I have found some sort of personal mentor(s) or a retreat that I can afford to make it to.

Please give me a push me in the right direction. I need someone to help me help myself. I'm in need of a guide. The more resources on the internet that I use, the more my passion grows. There is almost no way for me to move forward without the help of a fellow Buddhist that is willing and is able to guide me. Thank you in advance for any advice given. Much peace and love.

Elle
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 1:56 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 1:56 AM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
You've got the right book. You've found the right forum. Now all you need is a place to practice Elle.

Maybe you would find a little more stability beneficial to practice. A simple job (like really simple) and a permanent residence so these things are not a constant source of agitation and worry.

Welcome to the DhO!
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fivebells , modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 2:35 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 2:35 AM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Elle Francis Gee:

I have just become so frustrated that I cannot find a way to further my practice yet. I have so many questions. I want to be apart of a community. The more I practice and study the more interest I lose in everything else in my life. I am at a loss. Buddhism is what I know I'm meant to do with my life. I won't quit until I have found some sort of personal mentor(s) or a retreat that I can afford to make it to.

Please give me a push me in the right direction. I need someone to help me help myself. I'm in need of a guide. The more resources on the internet that I use, the more my passion grows. There is almost no way for me to move forward without the help of a fellow Buddhist that is willing and is able to guide me. Thank you in advance for any advice given. Much peace and love.

Elle
Public libraries are excellent places to meditate. Lots of teachers will guide you for free if you're indigent. If you move to an urban area, you should have a lot of options like this to choose from.
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Elle Francis Gee, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 11:56 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 11:56 AM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 3/30/12 Recent Posts
Thank you for your encouragement! I really needed to reaffirm that I'm going in the right direction. I'm not sure I could handle an actual job right now but I do know that I could volunteer. That would satisfy my desire to help others for the time being emoticon I am also pretty sure that the location that I'm living in now is pretty stable. I've been here for two months and my roommate is great. I am able to trade household chores as my rent and am well fed and safe. I would eventually like to get a place of my own but at the moment I don't know if living by myself is the best idea... I just have to remember to take life one moment at a time. Thank you for your extremely friendly welcome and advice! Your kind and welcoming words mean so much to me!
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Elle Francis Gee, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 12:00 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 12:00 PM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 3/30/12 Recent Posts
I actually live about half a block from the public library! I don't know why I haven't thought to go read and meditate there before... I think that getting out a bit would help me a lot with feeling comfortable being around people again. I also remember when I was looking into retreats that several offered aid for indigents. Thank you so much for your advice! All I can do now is smile!
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 3:08 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 3:08 PM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Elle Francis Gee:
I would like to go on a retreat or venture off to a location that is more Buddhist friendly, but am financially unable to do so.


Goenka offers meditation retreats in many areas, all of which are free. (I assume you live in the US.) http://www.dhamma.org/en/bycountry/na/

If you're looking to be surrounded by people who are more serious about practice, and you have no ties to anything at all, you could always volunteer to help run the courses ("serve"). I've heard that many people do this, alternating between periods of attending the courses and serving. You get free room and board and the company of others who serve, in exchange for the work you do.

Good luck!
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fivebells , modified 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 4:24 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 3/31/12 4:24 PM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
No problem, let us know how it goes.

It sounds like you are struggling with anxiety about other people. I'm sorry you're going through that, and I hope your current efforts bring you some peace.
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S Pro, modified 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 2:42 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 2:42 AM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 86 Join Date: 2/7/10 Recent Posts
Elle Francis Gee:
I'm not sure I could handle an actual job right now but I do know that I could volunteer. That would satisfy my desire to help others for the time being emoticon


Elle,

just a thought: you could volunteer in a monastery for a while. Not sure if this is the right thing for you but maybe you want to give it a thought.

Metta
Sven
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Joshua, the solitary, modified 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 7:32 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/27/13 7:32 AM

RE: What steps can I take to further my studies and practice?

Posts: 86 Join Date: 9/28/12 Recent Posts
Someone from the love and compassion school of Buddhism might say something different, but I never much understood them, so speaking from the die hard school:

One of the truths you'll find in meditation is that no one can help you help yourself. It's not a particularly sad one, it's just the case. It might be enjoyable to read books on Buddhism and meditation, but it is the practice which is the only thing that counts really, and you have seen this for yourself.

If you are just looking for a community and to feel at home, then a retreat center or something might be good. I think it would be bad for your meditation though, as fueling your meditation with the unsatisfactoriness of your life thus far is very powerful. Buddha said this world is practically a Hell realm. It's only useful because pleasure and pain are at an appropriate distance to allow the mind to be sharp and meditate.
A fellow buddhist cannot really guide you through your own conditionings and patterns. You could start cutting through to enlightenment right now, this minute. Close your eyes, and focus as strong as possible on your whole existence. Break down your identity. Name, nationality, age, everything. When your eyes are closed, do you just see black? If you can that in the black its a screen of dots appearing and reappearing, try to see how often in refreshes a second.

That was vipassana, this is jhana: you can find a mirror somewhere right? Look into a mirror, look at one of your eyes. Keep refocusing. Bring all your attention to the eye you can see in the mirror. Try to do it for ten or fifteen minutes with no breaks.
This will induce an the altered state of jhana, with which you can temporarily think about things differently. Or, if the state of jhana comes quite easy, just build it up stronger and stronger, and it does the meditation for you.


Joshua

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