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Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones

A recent problem I have been experiencing is my ability to engage and connect with other people in an appropriate way. Last year I did lots of Vipassana and it has promoted a very dry outlook on the world and people.

It's easy to deal with the fact there is no desire to be around or be influenced by unhealthy people divested in unskillful habits.

Less easy to deal with is the lack of desire to meet new people or engage in new productive ventures that require effort and motivation that has no obvious advantage.

More difficult to deal with is the distance I have with my girlfriend who I have been with for 3 years, but have become distant with due to personality changes in the both of us.

Now I am neutral to all of these, but there are thoughts that being compassionate to others (myself included) is a kinder, less lonely and probably more productive overall.

Me and my girlfriend have been arguing lately and on a number of occasions, I have wanted to break up with her, but at the same time experiencing the realisation that there is no me to want this, and know it is a temporary state and it passes with little personal pain on my end, however my actions and some occasional thoughts that precede them can be angry and I end up saying things I don't mean etc. Who would have thought that insight doesn't make you a nice person! The irony is, I believe if she saw things the way I do... And so plays the mind again with its delusions...

I understand that it is not about me, or about her, and that this experience cause and effect stuff has been going on since before we walked out the ocean millions of years ago. 

Is the answer as simple as Metta?

Has anybody else had issues relating to social settings with the knowledge that no words could ever truely express. It's like some epic Dark Night that has gripped my whole experience with pretty much any person I ever meet now and it's probably the loneliest place I have ever been. It makes animals seem so honest and with it more than anyone, until you see desire ravage their warm and fragile hearts...

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/17/17 7:18 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
I'm a bigger fan of individuation, because skills are enjoyable when we are good at them. The meditation reduces clinging, but as your practice progresses it should be okay to enjoy connection with people. It's that Sensing Introversion (verifying accuracy), and Sensing Extraversion (Engaging, enjoying, learning by doing) are only two functions. To be good with people (and I'm in the same boat as you in terms of relinquishing interest with other people and their influences and suggestions), you need boundary skills. Read books on boundaries and develop self-love so that you can be with people and not imitating EVERYTHING they do. Not only will you be more attractive to healthy people, who repect boundaries, you'll chase off the ones who need people to mirror them. 

Right now I'm reading Jung and Yoga by Dario Nardi and will explore the chakras. Do some Yoga and engage the chakras and try to enjoy the pleasure of the body. Independent enjoyment is what creates confidence, so that you aren't triangulated with carrots and sticks from other people.


https://www.amazon.com/Jung-Yoga-Insights-Activities-Chakras/dp/0988523523/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1510967215&sr=8-6&keywords=Jung+and+yoga


Jung and Yoga

You should try to be in the body more and enjoy yourself and then look forward to desires that are readily available, healthy and no problem. The stress comes when you aim for things that are not very certain or are beyond your skills. The way to improve that is to drop the stress and admit that more skills have to be developed. Try reading Flow by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and apply those principles to enjoyment so that you take on projects that you can do. There could also be a subtle aversion to these projects like a spiritual bypassing where you preserve stillness over doing projects. That clinging tends to get missed. You should be able to do projects, unless you are burnt out or have PTSD. If that's the case then you have to rest more. If you do a project then have regular rest intervals. There's also no reason not to include some meditation while working when you don't need as many thoughts. 

Good luck on your path!

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/17/17 7:35 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
I have finally resolved this issue in my life.   It takes a determined mind and some flexibility.  The universe is empty of meaning and consequence, but full of love.  In our lives, humans are the easiest window through which we can see this love ( maybe dogs).   In an empty universe, you can pick any non falsifiable reality as true.   I have just chosen to let consensus reality be true for me, absent the idea that I have any control or there is anything wrong.  When I see my wife as real and her love as real then I respond lovingly even as I can see that it is actually just happening and not the story it seems to be.  

My advice, just let them be real and love them with all your heart and soul as a matter of choice.  Metta in the real world is many times stronger than metta in meditation so it will only help your path. 

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/17/17 9:44 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
I am learning to see a "divine spark" in everyone. (Of course that I sometimes fail miserably.) My beloved wife has no interest in the spiritual or divine she never speculated about God etc. but she is much kinder and better than me. (Cf. theists who claim that morality comes only from the belief in God...)

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/18/17 3:16 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
"Me and my girlfriend have been arguing lately and on a number of occasions, I have wanted to break up with her, but at the same time experiencing the realisation that there is no me to want this, and know it is a temporary state and it passes with little personal pain on my end"

There is no you to not want it or to oppose a separation either; beware spiritual bypassing!

Relationships and the reasons we are in them are also temporary

As dharma develops ones motivations and priorities in life change. This can be difficult on a relationship when one person is developing very ernestly and rapidly and the other person isn't. Its part of the inevitable anicca in life.

Regardless of all of that, keep up the brahma viharas, generosity etc. Give gifts and kindness and altruism and so on.

Ive been through that exact type of gripping antisocial dark night. Working in an art school and feeling completely unable to empathise with anyone. Itll pass too. In hindsight I can see that it was an individuation process for me, as I became more aware that my outlook was becoming increasingly autonomous and different from those around me. There is a strength gained in the increased ability to be more deeply self reliant and gain happiness from genuine kindness and less from social strokes and so on

metta and compassion and sympathetic joy and equanimity all are treasures to be enjoyed as much and as often as possible
no need for just the traditional phrases either
enjoy the elements, animals, leaves and rain,
keep your heart open to the pain
tonglen the breath
get yourself some rest
dont write bad poems unless you do
remember dalai lama always has good words for you

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/18/17 3:17 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Hey Dom, sounds tough.

I have had some similar issues.  At one point I realised that if I didn't exist, then neither did my loved ones. There was still quite a bit of 'me' left, so I grieved at the loss of that attachment.

It took me a while, but I realised two things that helped a lot. The first was that, from a non-dual point of view, we live in world in that is created through the memories, karma, and narratives that jointly arise from our interaction with others. That is, we are all part of a something bigger.  So to the extent that there is any residual 'me', there is also an 'us' and 'a family' a 'community' and 'coworkers'. Even if you walk away from those communities, that shared history will continue to generate karma and existence for you. So others deserve the same regard and love that you ought to give yourself. 

The second thing was that I realised there had been a core of selfishness in my love. It was primarily an assertion of my own existence through clinging. But now I find love can only be based on geniune compassion, or a genuine sense of non-dual connection. I'm still working those through, but they seem to be much more mature and genuine approaches.

So be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. They are also you.



 

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/19/17 10:51 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Dom Stone:


Me and my girlfriend have been arguing lately and on a number of occasions, I have wanted to break up with her, but at the same time experiencing the realisation that there is no me to want this, and know it is a temporary state and it passes with little personal pain on my end, however my actions and some occasional thoughts that precede them can be angry and I end up saying things I don't mean etc. Who would have thought that insight doesn't make you a nice person! The irony is, I believe if she saw things the way I do... And so plays the mind again with its delusions...

I understand that it is not about me, or about her, and that this experience cause and effect stuff has been going on since before we walked out the ocean millions of years ago. 

Remember that, just because you're enlightened, it doesn't mean you're above the mechanics of human communication. No matter how empty they are, they still function in producing states of happiness, harmony, trust, and their flipsides. And vice versa, just because your girlfriend isn't enlightened, it doesn't mean she has a free pass on things like pressuring you, belittling you, etc. In other words, for a relationship to survive you have to be willing to call out your partner's BS as readily as you acknowledge your own; even moreso that you are partially enlightened, since it's generally easier for you to let the negative go, whereas it might stew in your girlfriend a little more harshly.

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/19/17 8:40 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Hi Dom,

Sorry to hear you're having difficulty.

If you want to stay together with your girlfriend, I'd suggest trying couples counselling. I've done it a few times and found that it often uncovers mundane issues in communication that are straightforward to address and can help improve the relationship.

As far as meditation goes, I've found Mahamudra to be really excellent for addressing feelings. That is mostly what it is about. It isn't in the Theravadan tradition, it's Tibetan but quite solidly grounded, specifically in Mahayana.

Good luck.

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/19/17 11:39 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
I feel you, bro. We've all been through bad time. This too shall pass (fingers crossed).

I definitely recommend developing a BrahmaViharas (Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekkha) practice. It has done great benefit for me in the last few months. My relations with people close to me are somewhat harmonious but not clinging. These are some good resources which have been helpful to me:
"Is the answer as simple as Metta?"

Believe me, Metta is not simple. Just like Vipassana, it takes time to develop skills and for the results to show. If you read Bernd's post you will notice that just like Vipassana there will be some difficult sits; which is good as it indicates things are changing.

Also, these skills are incredibly useful for daily life. For example, you have been pracicing BVs for a while. You get into a quarrel with your girlfriend and utter unskilful words. SInce you've brainwashed (literally washed your brain) with BV's for a while you will instantly feel a cognitive dissonance. Such words are not in sync with my values. Then, you will either restrain or engage in skillful speech.

Another example: Suppose some body is angry with you; you will instantly utter phrases in your mind "May he/she be free from anger, free from mental suffering. May I be free from anger...". Since, you are practiced, skilful feelings of compassion instantly arise and then you can deal with the situation skilfully.

You mention feeling "neutral". This may not always be skillful. Remember "apathy" is the close enemy of "equanimity". Try to get to be intimate with both feelings.

Also, I agree with Richard Zen. Feel free to improve soft skills. They go a long way. One of the books I am really enjoying at the moment is "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Although, the word "influence" may be off putting for some, it is actually a really Dhammic book about being concerned about another person's point of view, complimenting people lavishly, being careful in criticism and other good social habits.

I hope this post helps.

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/20/17 3:41 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Wow thanks for the diverse comments everyone. Highly valued.

Sorry this post doesn't iterate all the thoughts I have with regards to what is said. I have been having difficulty posting a reply, and have just lost all my last post.

I felt the need to make a reply however to acknowledge that I have found the content thought provoking and I will edit this post tommorow when I have had some rest as mental fatigue has heavily set in!

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/21/17 9:09 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Dom Stone:
Last year I did lots of Vipassana and it has promoted a very dry outlook on the world and people.


A while back, someone made a list of the known dangers of meditation.

Could Number 6, "Long-term emotional flatness," be what you're experiencing?

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/21/17 7:50 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2:
Dom Stone:
Last year I did lots of Vipassana and it has promoted a very dry outlook on the world and people.


A while back, someone made a list of the known dangers of meditation.

Could Number 6, "Long-term emotional flatness," be what you're experiencing.
Yea, could well be actually. It's mainly due to lack of triggers (Samsaric attachments?) I believe as there is still potential to feel strong emotions, though mostly, my emotions are split automatically into separate mental and physical sensations.

Richard Zen:

That book sounds interesting and just the sort of thing I was hoping to learn about regarding the chakras, so I shall read that. 
I have always had a problem with boundaries, but historically it has been the opposite problem. I agree there may be some sort of spiritual bypassing going on, though it is more subtle than before and no longer resembling a renunciation trip. (There's a subtle feeling of aversion right now as I'm typing this, the "I shouldn't be talking about myself as if I'm forgetting on an ultimate level there is no me etc". This is clearly a hinderance that I should relax on.

I meditate when I cycle when I'm working. While it's not the most relaxing scenario, it definitely serves to ground me.
With my Bipolar, I have a tendancy to be depressed for anything from half an hour to a month (It varies hugely), and while there's actually very little direct suffering these days, it puts a heavy drain on the resources.

The more I'm thinking about it and talking about this, the less I feel I am actually touching on the stuff that really counts.

Seth:
Thank you for reminding me on 'real life metta'. It is something that I avoided perhaps because theres some belief program embedded that suggests the story may be believed too much.

Alesh:
She may be kinder than you but I can't imagine she's better (Or worse!). The way I like to see things is that everybody wants to be happy, we've all somehow got where we are because of things that have happened before, that are totally out of our control (But not out of control of the mindbody that we manifest as an expression of our true nature). Some of us have taken wierd and wonderful routes, and others less so, but we are all perfect when the conceptual veneer is seen through.

Andrew:
That's reassuring to know, I will certainly put more effort in the brahma viharas as there have been times they have made life one of joy and energy. (Remind's self this IS healthy and doesn't necessarily lead to clinging, craving leads to clinging)
That's a cute poem emoticon

Curious:
Thank you for sharing. Your 2 points are something worth thinking about. The issues faced aren't something that is making me particularly unhappy, but it feels wrong and there are common thoughts of dissatisfaction on the idea that more could be done. As I was also curious about other people's views that is the other reason that inspired me to write this.

Incandescent Flower:
Part of me believes I need to hear this, and the other believes I talk just fine. I think there's some subconscious sabotage on this one, because I don't feel I can fully justify saying "I still try and have conversations etc"

Svmonk:
I have suggested this, but I don't think any sort of therapy is something she feels comfortable doing.

Mahamudra is something I've recently been exploring. It started by accident when I just sat to meditate and stopped trying from the very start and it took on a joyous luminous quality without feeling the need to control. I will be doing this more.

Mettafore:
I will look at those links. Interesting about apathy and eqanimity. It is like the feeling of eqanimity transforms to apathy when my mind is heavy and there's too much going on. I will definitly pay close attention to them from now on.

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/21/17 10:21 PM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Mahamudra is something I've recently been exploring. It started by accident when I just sat to meditate and stopped trying from the very start and it took on a joyous luminous quality without feeling the need to control. I will be doing this more.

If you are closing in on 3rd, it seems that aversions/subtle ill-will come on stronger and is the name of the game. We need to notice them and also through that, truly soak in 'acceptance' for the bigger bubble 'uncertainty' which encompasses the above...

Perhaps taking time off meditation could help, spend some time walking around pleasant places and explore the container of all these sensations, what some called, dwelling as "I am" or pure awareness.

Much Metta to All! emoticon

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/22/17 8:32 AM as a reply to Dom Stone.
Dom,

You're right, there's no need to think in a stressful way about "doing" or "changing". Just beware of putting a block on things because they're (insert intellectual mechanism) "empty".

I have confidence that you will work things out the way you need to. The changes brought on by paths take time to integrate. My advice is to give things with your partner time before you act on them, and also, to get 3rd path.

Best to you,
Kyle

RE: Enlightenment, detachment and Loved Ones
Answer
11/22/17 1:58 PM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Thank you, that's reassuring. *Notes subtle aversion to relief* "Dammit!" emoticon

I'm going to take a break from Vipassana and just do Samantha followed by pure awareness, or Brahma Viharas as it feels like the most fertile ground for progress now, along with some enjoyment of healthy pleasures such as yoga. I am "allowed" to live a worldly life when I am not practicing as it is needed for a well rounded lifestyle, though in reality, life and practice are not separate and never have been. I am NOT allowed cannabis because I don't even like it anymore haha.
Focus on maintaining a calm, positive mind to help override the edginess, rather than surrender to it. This should keep it clear and keep the Bipolar in check. 

I will acknowledge that regardless of whether "I" is empty or not, things do not always happen the way I would like them to, but that is fine, as it always has been and will be. emoticon