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I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/18/17 4:47 AM
Dear friends,

I truly thought life would turn out to be different once I went on my crazy year and a half long trip to experience emptiness.

But, I keep getting stuck again and again. In 2015, I fell into 6 month long depression; couldn't work. Then, same thing repeated in mid-2016. After I come back from the temple, I am stable but incredibly stuck and unable to decide goals for the future. I get conflicted on whether I should commit to a career/entrepreneurship or light freelancing; so that I still have the option maybe to ordain someday.

I really want to have a conversation with someone on this board (Skype? Phone?); especially someone who is experienced and skillful at this stuff as they would be able to understand my situation. However, I don't mind having a convo with anybody.

Best regards
Luv Suneja

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/18/17 7:26 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
I've occasionally done Active Listening sessions for people over Skype. However, your six-month depressive episode concerns me. Have you received medical treatment for that?

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/18/17 7:36 AM as a reply to Derek2.
Nope. However, I recently went to a neurologist. Told him about the pressure in the head I frequently have. I told him I want to get an MRI scan. If it turns out to be nothing; maybe he will prescribe something.

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/18/17 7:38 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
What is active listening?

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/18/17 8:39 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Mettafore:
What is active listening?


Active Listening is listening without evaluating, criticizing, judging, decision-making, or any other imposition of the listener's point of view. What's left is listening together with active reflection of what the listener hears the speaker say. The classic paper on the subject is by Carl R. Rogers and Richard E. Farson.

Most people find that talking out their issues in the presence of an Active Listener helps them move forward. However, it's not going to be effective for serious depression.

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/25/17 12:33 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Just wanted to thank Daniel for taking out his valuable time to listen to me.

I am planning to sincerely start a regular practice log for the Brahmaviharas starting with Metta.

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/27/17 9:31 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
Hi mettafore,

I can relate to a lot of what you are going through. I've had periods of severe depression as well admist my quest to realize or become whatever it was I was trying to realize or become (still trying?).

I find what helps is relaxing into, softening around, creating space around the thoughts and feelings that seem to center around the me that has to become somebody or do something or experience something. Finding ways to recognize the contractions into ideas and images and thoughts and self criticism and perfectionism and, without judgment, relaxing and softening the body and mind whenever this contracting seems to happen.

I find selfless service and being in nature and physical movement and being with good friends and teachers who can encourage us and brighten our day to be helpful.

Also, approaching life with a playful joyful attitude helps.

Hope this helps a bit emoticon

Be happy.

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/27/17 10:31 PM as a reply to Chi.
Hi Chi,

Thank you for your comment. I can relate to this. I'll be more heedful to recognize these themes and counteract them.

Also, fully agreed on the selfless service and good friends. I was recently in Thailand and my teacher told me to help her with feeding the 100 temple dogs she takes care of daily; also was regularly helping at the construction site with manual labour. Was surprisingly joyful and pacifying. I've got to find a similar outlet back home here.

Thanks

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/27/17 11:15 PM as a reply to Mettafore.
All the suffering in the world comes from wanting only ourself to be happy and all the happiness in the world comes from wanting others to be happy. -Shantideva

This has been a great reminder for me in dark times.

Can we have the courage and faith to turn on the metta switch in our minds? Even one thought of wanting all beings to be happy can change the momentum of our minds so we can forget about ourselves and be carefree for a time.

For me also, making dhamma a priority in my life has helped. Every time I start thinking I can do it on my own, I am reminded spiritual friendship and being around generous loving people represents basically the entire path for a beginner like me. Without the support of sangha, I'm just wallowing in sorrow and wandering aimlessly seeking happiness in conditioned phenomena.

Keep us posted on your progress and happy you have such a great support system here emoticon

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/28/17 11:56 PM as a reply to Chi.
Chi:
All the suffering in the world comes from wanting only ourself to be happy and all the happiness in the world comes from wanting others to be happy. -Shantideva

This has been a great reminder for me in dark times.

Can we have the courage and faith to turn on the metta switch in our minds? Even one thought of wanting all beings to be happy can change the momentum of our minds so we can forget about ourselves and be carefree for a time.

For me also, making dhamma a priority in my life has helped. Every time I start thinking I can do it on my own, I am reminded spiritual friendship and being around generous loving people represents basically the entire path for a beginner like me. Without the support of sangha, I'm just wallowing in sorrow and wandering aimlessly seeking happiness in conditioned phenomena.

Keep us posted on your progress and happy you have such a great support system here emoticon
Thanks, Chi. Great reminder and quote by Shantideva. It can be so easy to forget or not implement in daily life. Quite coincidentally, I have made Metta my main practice for now. Feel free to check out my thread. What you say about the metta switch is true; things started changing the very next day.

I've had the tendency to be the maverick and lone wolf my whole life; (which has its pros: I wouldn't have been as adventurous regarding my travels and seeking if I wasn't) but now I feel its time to form connections.

Thank you, Chi for your kind words. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face.

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
5/29/17 1:59 AM as a reply to Mettafore.
Yes, i can totally relate to being a lone wolf and somewhat of a rebel and individualist.

Making dhamma friends and having somebody to talk about your experiences and the emotions coming up for you is so vital in feeling like you are understood. And then we can listen to people with more compassion because we know how good it feels when people listen to us. Sometimes we just need to be heard and felt understood.

And seeking for the truth can lead to not seeking, which is so joyous. The less we seek and hold onto ideas of being happier in the future, the more we can open our hearts to the mass of suffering in this moment and the more we can share and love and smile and be of service.

It's all about connecting to that joyous feeling of being generous and seeing smiles on peoples faces. Then we remember it's not about what we can get, but what we can give. 

RE: I suck at Dharma
Answer
6/1/17 12:35 AM as a reply to Chi.
I was contemplating about Dharma being a priority. For me, I think of it an Operating System or an overall context in life.

Dramatic words like priority just rationalise my mind to renounce and robe (which I am not ready for; and it would be just a form of escapism). Besides, after completing the stages of insight, treating Dharma as a goal rather than a system or process would be counter-productive in my experience. Just my 2 cents.

Yes, it is important to have Dharma friends who can listen to you and get where you come from. Many times, I am afraid of reaching out to regular friends in my life and choices would just seem insane to them. But, maybe that is just my projection. Would be great to be a shoulder to lean on for somebody too.

"Then we remember it's not about what we can get, but what we can give." Well said x 3.

Feel free to connect via PM.