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Changing standards with continued insight

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Hi all, 

hoping for some advice and guidance on this difficult one. 

I feel like continued insight practice is changing my standards with the way I expect people to treat me and behave towards me. At the same time, I feel like practice and learning around compassion and metta and the importance of being kind is meaning that I am forgiving people more often. I increasingly find this a difficult and confusing position to be in, as I am finding that the clearer I see things, the more I realise that alot is unsatisfactory with many of my friendships, some of which have already not survived this process, due to also having developed more self kindness and realising that I needed to. However I also increasingly see that people have difficult lives, are drawn in many directions and often thier behaviors are controlled by thier own needs and fears, however I am finding it hard to know where to draw lines. 

Im wondering if you guys have been through the same thing and how you dealt with the changes and the impact of seeing your life and relationships more clearly,

Im also aware of the passage / pledge on avoiding letting the "fallout" of this process affect these relationships and wondering how you balance that in with all this type of thing, 

thanks, 

bman

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/25/15 2:55 PM as a reply to b man.
A few considerations I have made recently.

Generally speaking, when we are kinder to people, they are more likely to be kinder to us too. So give time to your not-so-kind friends to adapt.

This being said, as we become more kind, we may find ourselves appreciating kindness in others more. This, in turn, may mean that we become more attracted to healthy relationships (on the kindness scale) than we were before.

Then again, the shift does not need to be traumatic, and kindness does not need to be the only criterion we judge our relationships on. I have friends who are not very kind, but honest, reliable, generous, and smart. I suggest you give yourself time to adjust too.

(sorry for the multiple edits)

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/25/15 3:45 PM as a reply to b man.
Hey bman,

I think you may be going in the wrong direction with your thinking.  As you gain insight, it should enable you to drop these kinds of things.  See if you can't just let go of anything that isn't obviously important.  For example, if someone is unkind to you, instead of spending time trying to figure out how to feel better about it, or how to forgive them, or how to develop metta towards them, just drop the whole thing.  Just allow yourself to stop caring about it completely.  There's nothing you have to do.  You can just cut that whole chunk of "self" off and leave it behind.  As things progress, even the things you feel are important can be let go of - you'll find they keep floating along with you even without actively holding on to them.

It isn't important to be kind, it's just natural to be kind when you don't have anything bogging you down.  You can let go of feeling like you need to be kind and feeling that other people need to be kind to you.  The results might suprise you - things become so easy. emoticon You can be carefree while remaining responsible and kind while being indifferent.

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/25/15 6:22 PM as a reply to b man.
i totally get this.

good words from neko.
i think Not Tao's response works only to a certain extent.  As people in your life just come and go you can 'just let it go'.
But if we're talking about your close friends and the people you're choosing to spend your time with and you're seeing how the relationships are a bit toxic it's a whole different story.  
I don't at all buy this idea of being enlightened enough that you just let unsavoury influences in your life just be, even when you have the potential to change it for the better.  'Better' on a relativistic level, sure, but this is good Sile. And a great opportunity to transform your whole way of interacting with other beings.
****Having said all this, I think we can take just about everything Not Tao says as a given; "Just allow yourself to stop caring about it completely." this is the absolute perspective of insight, but it can equally go with any action you make on a relativistic level (eg. you could give up all your friends and go live on a desert island and Just allow yourself to stop caring about it completely...make sense?) So let's go for what you can DO about this...*****

The purification from these practices will eventually reach every aspect of your being, including your relationships.  
This is a whole area of work, and wow i've still got lots to learn, but I've been working on this a lot over the last couple of years and found a few things that help for me:

I recommend being very clear to yourself what your standards of friendship are.  For example, for me to value and enjoy a friendship there must be total honesty and total acceptance/nonjudgement, both ways. I let people know about this, I more or less demand it !  for some people its really challenging ... for me its really challenging too!  but once you start having relationships like this, you start to see how totally un-nourishing anything less is by comparison.  I learn so so much all the time from the amazing relationships I have now.
If you yourself are clear what you want, then you can communicate it to others. If you have the courage to meet people on this level it may really surprise you how they respond, how they step up to the plate.  People LOVE and even crave this kinda stuff. They just don't know it yet. It can be such a gift for people, and it can totally transform your relationships with people.  And if they're not on for living up to your high standards then you know you've just gotta let them go.  

Upping your skills in non-violent communication and the likes helps loads with all of this.  Get good in addressing and disarming conflicts.  Even what seems like the tiniest of things - if you confront those little mini-unkindnesses with people, it tends to bring huge emotional release, and it can be very bonding. 

Let me know if this helps at all. &i'd be on for going deeper into the specifics of whats going on if you're on for it emoticon

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/25/15 11:25 PM as a reply to cian.
What I've been finding lately is that the main source of these kinds of problems is idealism - which is another word for fabrication.  "Friendship" is an abstract concept where we make a connection with someone over time and add to/evaluate this connection as time goes by.  If the ideal of what you want this timeline to look like doesn't match up to the memories you've strung together to make the timeline in your head, you call it a bad friendship.  The truth is, though, this connection doesn't exist.  It's completely imaginary and invented by the mind.  Your idea of your friendship is probably completely different from your friend's concept of friendship.  This is what I believe the Buddha referred to as "fabrication".  You have a choice, each moment, whether to keep fabricating or not.  The more you stop doing it, the more it is removed from all aspects of life.

The word "caring" seems to point to this directly for me but maybe not for everyone.  To care is to put importance on the friendship.  When you stop caring, you remove the attachment to your friend (the mental webs you're stuck onto this "friendship" concept) and all that's left is you and the other person - or, if they aren't in the room with you, just you.

Think of it like this: why is the president important?  Because we've all built a fabrication "president" in our mind that creates importance.  If you remove the fabrication - what, hey!  He's just some guy!  Isn't it funny that anyone cares what he says? Maybe you hate the president and already think, "I don't care what the president says!" but this is still caring. If the fabrication didn't exist, the words of the president wouldn't be any more important than the world of a crazy homeless man on the street.  What about governments?  They only exist because of the fabrications in peoples' minds.  There are fabricated police forces, and fabricated armies, and fabricated citizens paying fabricated taxes with fabricated money.  When you strip it all away, you just have a bunch of people giving each other paper, and some people are killing other people, and some people are deciding to stay in certain boundaries and listen to other people. It's amazing how passionate everyone is about their imaginary worlds, isn't it?  You can explode all of these fabrications in your mind.  Imagine all the lines and boundaries and definitions on the planet blowing away in the wind.  There are no lines drawn on the ground in reality.  America, the president, friendship, family, money, on and on, none of it is real outside of the mind.  When you stop putting importance on these fabrications - when you realize they really have nothing to do with reality - all that's left is you sitting here at the computer at this moment in time.  That's the only thing that isn't fabricated.  You don't have to stop all fabrications from existing to be free from them, you just have to stop believing they mean anything - which is to stop caring about them.  Stop caring about friendships, and just be a friend when people are around if you feel like it.

Have you ever been to Mars? I haven't, yet I "know" what Mars is. I've seen pictures of a red planet and have lots of data in my head about it. But none of this is Mars. Even "Mars" isn't Mars. It's just a bunch of sounds. I know this probably sounds stupid and simplistic, but that's really how simple practice can be. Whatever is keeping you from being happy right at this moment, is it real, or is it fabricated? If it's fabricated, then why not just stop caring? An imaginary dragon can't bite you. An imagined insult can't hurt you. These thigs are only real as long as you generate them.

You can use and acknowledge fabrications - you can live in a country and respect the authority of the president and have friends - but as long as you believe in these things - as long as you care about them - you will be living in an imaginary world and generating imaginary stress.  It's no harder than making a decision - it doesn't require any kind of special understanding or meditative achievement.  It's just that we're afraid of being lost and alone without all our imaginary webs to keep the giant heavy imaginary world stable in our heads.  The only thing that happens when that world disappears, though, is a huge weight drops off and a simple, carefree happiness remains.

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/25/15 11:37 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
What I've been finding lately is that the main source of these kinds of problems is idealism - which is another word for fabrication.  "Friendship" is an abstract concept where we make a connection with someone over time and add to/evaluate this connection as time goes by.  If the ideal of what you want this timeline to look like doesn't match up to the memories you've strung together to make the timeline in your head, you call it a bad friendship.  The truth is, though, this connection doesn't exist.  It's completely imaginary and invented by the mind.  Your idea of your friendship is probably completely different from your friend's concept of friendship.  This is what I believe the Buddha referred to as "fabrication".  You have a choice, each moment, whether to keep fabricating or not.  The more you stop doing it, the more it is removed from all aspects of life.

The word "caring" seems to point to this directly for me but maybe not for everyone.  To care is to put importance on the friendship.  When you stop caring, you remove the attachment to your friend (the mental webs you're stuck onto this "friendship" concept) and all that's left is you and the other person - or, if they aren't in the room with you, just you.

Think of it like this: why is the president important?  Because we've all built a fabrication "president" in our mind that creates importance.  If you remove the fabrication - what, hey!  He's just some guy!  Isn't it funny that anyone cares what he says? Maybe you hate the president and already think, "I don't care what the president says!" but this is still caring. If the fabrication didn't exist, the words of the president wouldn't be any more important than the world of a crazy homeless man on the street.  What about governments?  They only exist because of the fabrications in peoples' minds.  There are fabricated police forces, and fabricated armies, and fabricated citizens paying fabricated taxes with fabricated money.  When you strip it all away, you just have a bunch of people giving each other paper, and some people are killing other people, and some people are deciding to stay in certain boundaries and listen to other people. It's amazing how passionate everyone is about their imaginary worlds, isn't it?  You can explode all of these fabrications in your mind.  Imagine all the lines and boundaries and definitions on the planet blowing away in the wind.  There are no lines drawn on the ground in reality.  America, the president, friendship, family, money, on and on, none of it is real outside of the mind.  When you stop putting importance on these fabrications - when you realize they really have nothing to do with reality - all that's left is you sitting here at the computer at this moment in time.  That's the only thing that isn't fabricated.  You don't have to stop all fabrications from existing to be free from them, you just have to stop believing they mean anything - which is to stop caring about them.  Stop caring about friendships, and just be a friend when people are around if you feel like it.

Have you ever been to Mars? I haven't, yet I "know" what Mars is. I've seen pictures of a red planet and have lots of data in my head about it. But none of this is Mars. Even "Mars" isn't Mars. It's just a bunch of sounds. I know this probably sounds stupid and simplistic, but that's really how simple practice can be. Whatever is keeping you from being happy right at this moment, is it real, or is it fabricated? If it's fabricated, then why not just stop caring? An imaginary dragon can't bite you. An imagined insult can't hurt you. These thigs are only real as long as you generate them.

You can use and acknowledge fabrications - you can live in a country and respect the authority of the president and have friends - but as long as you believe in these things - as long as you care about them - you will be living in an imaginary world and generating imaginary stress.  It's no harder than making a decision - it doesn't require any kind of special understanding or meditative achievement.  It's just that we're afraid of being lost and alone without all our imaginary webs to keep the giant heavy imaginary world stable in our heads.  The only thing that happens when that world disappears, though, is a huge weight drops off and a simple, carefree happiness remains.


Dude... These paragraphs hit me hard!  Well done.  I got a crazy energy hit while reading that (another fabrication, of course).

I feel like this could also be the core line of jokes in an insight comedy special (in a good way).

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/26/15 4:20 AM as a reply to Noah.
Yes!  Me too!  Great words, beautifully put.  Love the "another fabrication" joke ;)

So, I totally agree with everything Not Tao says...and I also still totally agree with everything I said!  Both are completely compatible emoticon

RE: Changing standards with continued insight
Answer
5/27/15 1:06 PM as a reply to cian.
I agree also.

I feel like you just gave me the Red Pill, NotTao! amazing