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Being in the world
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10/24/12 3:05 PM
I go back and forth with my meditation practice -- busy job, young child, not enough time to sleep, etc. Lately I've been more faithful to it, though still not doing nearly the LENGTH of sit I would like (if I get one 10 or 15 minute sit a day, it's a good day). My issue is usually being too tired (can't focus well).

Anyway, as usual, as I've gotten more diligent in practicing at least a little every day, I find myself with a growing need to interact with other practitioners as I feel like I don't quite fit in the world. My point of view is just different from most people's, as most people are more interested in being right and/or LOSING themselves in entertainment than in finding something in silence.

So how do others reconcile this sense that you don't have a common language with most people, with which to discuss spiritual/meditation/enlightenment experiences? Am I making sense? It's been a long day and I've had too much sugar (energy crash).

thanks for any input,
Richelle

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/24/12 6:28 PM as a reply to Richelle J.
Richelle J:
I go back and forth with my meditation practice -- busy job, young child, not enough time to sleep, etc. Lately I've been more faithful to it, though still not doing nearly the LENGTH of sit I would like (if I get one 10 or 15 minute sit a day, it's a good day). My issue is usually being too tired (can't focus well).


Not that you were asking for it, but my advice would be to try sitting at different times of the day and see if that helps with the sleepiness. I find I can do jhana first thing in the morning after a cup of coffee, but if I try to meditate in the afternoon, it has to be walking meditation. Have you tried experimenting that way?

Also, you might want to try incorporating choiceless noting practice throughout the day. I do it on the way to and from work and if I decide to take a break during the middle of the day. That sort of thing can help move your practice along nicely.

Anyway, as usual, as I've gotten more diligent in practicing at least a little every day, I find myself with a growing need to interact with other practitioners as I feel like I don't quite fit in the world. My point of view is just different from most people's, as most people are more interested in being right and/or LOSING themselves in entertainment than in finding something in silence.

So how do others reconcile this sense that you don't have a common language with most people, with which to discuss spiritual/meditation/enlightenment experiences? Am I making sense? It's been a long day and I've had too much sugar (energy crash).

thanks for any input,
Richelle


Yeah, I have that issue as well. I don't have a very strong need to interact with other people over it, but it is there, so I occasionally pop in here and see what sorts of crazy things people have written and if I might have anything to say in response. But in general, it can be an isolating practice, since most North American Buddhists seem to be pale, old people on the verge of death.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/24/12 7:39 PM as a reply to Richelle J.
Richelle J:
...It's been a long day and I've had too much sugar (energy crash).


That probably explains your energy problem.

As far as having a common language with people... I think the closest I come in general is by speaking their language. I mean, you're right about people wanting distraction and ego gratification. But they also want lots of good things like connection, joy, information, love, fun, stories. (When they can't have those things, that's what sugar is for! ;)

I used to worry that my practice was isolating me. I try to shoot for 2 hours per day, and have passed on a lot of other activities because I don't want to give that time up. Eventually that will even out and I'll have a more well-rounded life. But for now, meditation is a far better remedy for feelings of isolation and alienation. Overall, it's made me a lot less introverted and a lot less misanthropic. So even as I have less in common with many people, I like them better and they like me (I think) a little better.

Meanwhile, these forums give a fair approximation of human contact. But even here, it's often a tower of babel with everyone having their own definition of everything. That's life I guess.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/24/12 9:59 PM as a reply to Richelle J.
Mindfulness can be done at work with silent noting or just being present with the sensations in your hands when you are at work. Mindfulness throughout the day will help you with other people because you don't have to lump your irritated emotions on them. I've gone through similar experiences but now I feel that I can deal with different people because I let go of the attachment that they should be interested in my spiritual quest. I've mentioned lots of stuff to family and it's like it goes through one ear and out the other. They sometimes make comments about me being "new agey" and show their lack of understanding. They think I'm crazy to think that all people should meditate (they could be right). They look at it as an activity that "smart" people do. I just smile and change the subject. Most people won't be into it and so that's okay.

Basically concepts can be doubted and the concept of meditation will mean nothing to most people unless you sell books and make money off of it. Then they will think it's smart. Just try and be normal with people and I don't think you have to get away from the general public and hang out with meditators because that's just aversion but if you have any bad friendships there's nothing wrong with dropping them and developing positive friendships. Some people join sanghas but you have little time so I would focus on using mindfulness while getting things done and try and focus on good food and sleep because that will help your wellbeing in major ways.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/25/12 12:33 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
How old is your "young" kid? Im sure people have told you this already, but remember that all too quickly your kid wont be so young. It gets easier. (no really, it does!) But I already miss my eldest being "little" now she's coming up to 8...

I've struggled with low energy for a few years and have now finally cracked it. Basically my problems have been 95% sugar related (including high carb foods like bread, pasta etc). Check out "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf, and for a less scientific, more accessible book "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson (or check out his site at www.marksdailyapple.com

Low carb, high fat. Consistent energy thoughout the day and generally feeling "well" all the time.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/25/12 8:26 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
My daughter is 15 months, and I commute an hour each way to my job, so my time is pretty limited. I have let go of the tendency to tell myself I'm not doing enough, and frankly, most days I would rather be with her than sit on a cushion, so I find time to do it on breaks at work (hence the short practice periods).

I am working on the sugar/caffeine thing...ugh. Also, I didn't intend to sound misanthropic with my "everyone just wants to be entertained" statement. I guess it's just hard to find people with whom I can talk about meditation in a meaningful way. So here I am.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/25/12 9:57 AM as a reply to Richelle J.
>>and I commute an hour each way to my job,

are you on a train? If so, good news.. there's a 2hr a day practice right there. If not, you could still try noting when driving --I have no experience of this as I dont note, and I dont drive but I imagine it to be doable.

>> I didn't intend to sound misanthropic with my "everyone just wants to be entertained" statement.

But you're right. They do. That's not misanthropic. Just a statement of fact.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/25/12 10:02 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
>>and I commute an hour each way to my job,

are you on a train? If so, good news.. there's a 2hr a day practice right there. If not, you could still try noting when driving --I have no experience of this as I dont note, and I dont drive but I imagine it to be doable.



Indeed. I had a 3 hour train commute daily..2 months like this and I got stream entry on a railway platform. Nothing
like noting sounds with eyes closed while on the train.

RE: Being in the world
Answer
10/25/12 1:03 PM as a reply to Shashank Dixit.
No train, I wish! Just me and my car. I am trying to get into a van pool, which would let me spend some or all of my commute in meditation.