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Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?

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Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? D. 2/15/18 8:23 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Nick O 2/15/18 10:22 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? T DC 2/16/18 10:41 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Nick O 2/17/18 9:34 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Francis M. Crawford 2/20/18 10:15 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/22/18 1:50 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/15/18 11:50 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? D. 2/16/18 5:45 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? seth tapper 2/16/18 5:51 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Rednaxela 2/16/18 8:29 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Nick O 2/17/18 9:19 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? seth tapper 2/17/18 12:07 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Francis 2/17/18 4:08 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/18/18 2:18 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Rednaxela 2/20/18 1:37 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/17/18 3:49 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/15/18 11:52 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/16/18 12:21 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? alguidar 2/16/18 4:38 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? streamsurfer 2/16/18 6:16 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Laurel Carrington 2/16/18 9:25 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Nick O 2/16/18 9:55 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Francis 3/4/18 3:30 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/17/18 1:53 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Bruno Loff 2/17/18 4:39 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/17/18 6:10 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Bruno Loff 2/19/18 3:55 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/19/18 4:56 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Stuie Charles Law 2/19/18 4:27 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/19/18 7:43 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Stuie Charles Law 2/20/18 12:51 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 1:47 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Stuie Charles Law 2/20/18 2:11 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 2:19 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Bruno Loff 2/20/18 6:25 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 6:55 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 7:16 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/20/18 3:16 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 5:06 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/23/18 5:41 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Bruno Loff 2/20/18 7:43 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 7:53 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? seth tapper 2/20/18 10:47 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? seth tapper 2/20/18 11:51 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? terry 2/20/18 4:01 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/20/18 7:48 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? J C 2/20/18 2:48 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Francis 2/20/18 6:23 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Lewis James 2/17/18 6:18 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Bhumi 2/17/18 3:02 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yadid dee 2/18/18 6:45 AM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? J C 2/19/18 6:53 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? D. 2/19/18 7:57 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? Yilun Ong 2/19/18 11:38 PM
RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life? J C 2/20/18 2:50 PM
After a review of my life thus far, it seems like I'm on track for a pretty lonely life with no friends/significant others.

It's got me thinking if other people seeking the 'higher' things in life tend to be like me as well? The level of introspection & determination required to strive to extuingush suffering entirely isn't something you see very often.
Not everyone meets suffering head-on, the usual reaction is to just ignore it.

I feel like because the things I value are so radically different from most people that I can never really connect with them. There's an invisible wall that I can't overcome, and that seems to limit my ways to live a 'normal' life.

And this seems to the case for the Buddha as well, he couldn't live out the 'easy' path of being a king, and abandoned his wife and child and his luxuries, and instead chose to become a homeless beggar, with all it's hardships.

I originally scoffed at people deciding to become a monk, but the wordly life seems be pretty shitty as well.

Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?

Hey D.

Three years ago I was living in a big city, touring and recording in an up and coming band. For years I strove to have the most engaging social life. Lots of booze and drugs! A rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows. Had some of the best times of my life but most of the time I was more miserable than I realized. I discovered the Dharma in April 2015. Now I live alone in a trailer in the woods.

Outside of work I have virtually no social life. I'll hang with coworkers after work maybe once every couple months. I see family once a week or less but I prefer to be alone. So, yes I hear you. Once I had my first profound experience by way of the Dharma I lost all motivation to be social. I don't date. I don't see the point of the exhausting search for a relationship. However, I'm not ruling out the possibility of meeting someone organically. Once one sees deeply into the fruits of solitary contemplative practice, it becomes the way of least resistance and simultaneously the way of greatest curiosity. If anyone in my life "gets" the Dharma stuff, it's some of my coworkers, but unfortunately on a mere intellectual level.   

I will mention that the further along that I find myself in practice, the less resistance I am finding in being social. I think it's due to trusting that I am able to do so mindfully. 

The only thing that's keeping me out of a monastery is my wish to be around for the elder years of my parents' lives. As long as they're around, I'll do my best playing the civilian role with as much metta as I can muster!      



 

D.:

I originally scoffed at people deciding to become a monk, but the wordly life seems be pretty shitty as well.

Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?
It depends on what you mean by friendship.

I am a foreigner monk on a 'higher' pursuit. There's no 'real' communications but I believe I have many real, good friends here (who don't talk). There's unspoken expressions of liking, respect, gratitude, shock, jokes (do not understand half the time) or whatever comes up - all usually from a nod or a smile. And that goes a very long way.

Then there are people here (DhO) whom I've never met but feel closer to than most of my partying/socializing friends, drinking and the usual small talk. Are these (social) people what you mean by friendship? If yes, I'd be glad to do without them. Otherwise, just be yourself and if you make (real) friends, make sure you are real and good to them too. Let this honesty and goodwill trickle to all you meet. When you realize there is much to gain than actually losing to behave in such an uncontrived, positive, unconditional giving manner, you will see the beauty of our world... 

"Who cares what they think? I feel great, doing what I think is good." If you'd like to add a tinge of rebel to it.

Was wondering what happened to you. Good to see you back, Deepankar. You'll be just fine, at your age do go out and let your hair down. Just have actual fun and not bother about what others think. 

May the Lunar New Year bring Joy to All! emoticon

D.:
After a review of my life thus far, it seems like I'm on track for a pretty lonely life with no friends/significant others.

It's got me thinking if other people seeking the 'higher' things in life tend to be like me as well? The level of introspection & determination required to strive to extuingush suffering entirely isn't something you see very often.
Not everyone meets suffering head-on, the usual reaction is to just ignore it.

I feel like because the things I value are so radically different from most people that I can never really connect with them. There's an invisible wall that I can't overcome, and that seems to limit my ways to live a 'normal' life.

And this seems to the case for the Buddha as well, he couldn't live out the 'easy' path of being a king, and abandoned his wife and child and his luxuries, and instead chose to become a homeless beggar, with all it's hardships.

I originally scoffed at people deciding to become a monk, but the wordly life seems be pretty shitty as well.

Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?


  aloha d,

   The buddha said, "life sucks." Conscious suffering is what it is all about. Especially in worldly relationships. While there are compensations to being a householder, you might be surprised at the healthy and satisfactory relationships that monks have. If you did a two year stint as a monk you would undoubtedly make life-long friendships.
   
   The buddha also emphasized the Triple Gem: the buddha, the dhamma, and the sangha. The fellowship of people who practice the dhamma is key in buddhism; it's why I write this now. Friends and significant others are probably less difficult to find than a sangha, that is, spiritual people to hang out with.

   While you are waiting for the appropriate spiritual people to hang out with, you might try practicing on the people you meet. Like in the parable of the wedding guest. If you set about trying to help the damaged - the currently "healthy" being too preoccupied to consider suffering, illness, old age and death - you might find spiritual friends in unlikely places.

   When ram dass was following his guru brother around india, he would complain of dysentery, and his friend would tell him, "just fast for a few days, you'll feel better." It may sound callous to advise a lonely person to embrace solitude, but sometimes it is all there is, and it too has compensations. Try to live in the present and enjoy your own company. Once you have accepted your situation, it will begin to get better. Struggling and forcing things to a conclusion may just cause more suffering.

   Alternatively, rumi said that if you want friends, they are not hard to find: just find someone in need and be a friend to them; they will love you for it. The truly generous are rarely friendless.

   Everyone needs love, bra; don't even think you can do without. The buddha had thousands of disciples, and preached like a fountain for 45 years. His love was pure, and he received nearly universal veneration throughout his entire career. He lived healthy and died old and loved, worshipped even.

   Lastly, if you acquire any tips on how a spiritual person can find fellow creatures willing to listen to them natter on about the dhamma, pass them on. I'm always looking for a sangha as well. As for significant others, never lose faith there is someone out there just like you only with the opposite spin. If you find one, jump on them; if not, well, it's painful either way. Just fast for a few years, you will be fine.  :-)


metta, terry

D.:

And this seems to the case for the Buddha as well, he couldn't live out the 'easy' path of being a king, and abandoned his wife and child and his luxuries, and instead chose to become a homeless beggar, with all it's hardships. 

The life of a mendicant is not doom and gloom. I am happier than I ever was, soaking in luxury. I believe the Buddha is/was happier than I am. Stripped to the bare necessities, it is actually much easier to find happiness. Not suggesting that you be a monk, but monks are very, very happy people! emoticon

Edit: There is great value in experiencing all (or most, in terms of experiences) the world has to offer before even thinking about being a monk. It allows you to truly understand the contrasts/defilements/suffering/etc. and thus feel complete in life and genuinely renounce the worldly pursuits (monk or not).

[quote=
]
Sometimes social gatherings are fine, but they have to be in my confort zone, just close family.

It´s fun and it brakes the routine of everyday life.

But i´m pretty anti social comparing to normal people.

It maybe is worth contemplating the part of you saying: "I can't relate to normal life cause I practice. My meditation states can not meet the reality of normal people."
Spiritual bypassing waits right around the corner if dharma and social difficulties meet. Maybe this thought is an excuse of some sort. If there's no self, how can you loose whatever connecting to another human? Are you afraid that others can't see the enlightened one in you, and therefore you become angry/sad/resentful/rejecting?
Can you imagine the buddha saying: Man I just couldn't understand this dude, he was so unspiritual.?
I don't mean this harsh. These are questions I asked myself, too, and I found the bone to be buried elsewhere: finding excuses for personal, real world problems.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/16/18 9:25 AM as a reply to streamsurfer.
A worthy counterpoint here. I, too, have become much less social since I began my intensive practice seven years ago. My vacations are all meditation retreats (leaving for one today, in fact). I am married to an introverted man, have been for 35+ years, and we have a 16-year-old adopted son who still needs guidance but is becoming increasingly independent. I recently retired. 

I don’t think this will necessarily be my life going forward. I am open to whatever does come, and some of that may involve more involvement in a community. I need to stay aware of the temptation of spiritual bypassing that could result in me staying in my comfort zone. Thanks for this thread, 

Realized that my previous post wasn't very helpful because I "ranted" myself around the key point. Maybe I'm not as good at mindful socializing as I thought! emoticon 

Yes, I understand how hard it is to relate to people. And it boils down to the fact that almost all non-meditators are seeking happiness outside of themselves. Once one sees through this delusion, immediately there's going to be a foundational disconnect in relating to others. I deal with this by just playing the part. And through being the "actor" I've actually made some genuine connections with friends at work.  

I tried the sangha night thing at a local insight center, but sadly found it to be surface level and more of a therapy session. Most folks 30 years older than me and the hour and a half of noble silence, while warranted, makes it impossible to make friends. Most people seem to be on their own trip anyways. Their chance to get away from being social. 

Serious meditator friends in person would be a delight. Untill then, thank goodness for DhO. Much gratitude!    

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/16/18 5:45 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:


Let this honesty and goodwill trickle to all you meet. When you realize there is much to gain than actually losing to behave in such an uncontrived, positive, unconditional giving manner, you will see the beauty of our world... 

This is what I'd like to be,  but unfortunately, when you get used to being bitter and mean to people(disguised as  humour), it's very hard to unlearn. Most young people are like this as well. Being a kind individual is so unusual that I don't think I've ever encountered a person like that in my life.

Also, I think of most things as a gain/loss, and interacting more deeply with people I don't care for doesn't seem to give much 'benefit' or 'advantage' to me. This style of thinking is also very hard to unlearn. When I talk to people, I just think 'I could actually be doing something useful or more fun, than entertaining this person with small talk'

Pop Quiz - 

Which one is a mammal? 
1.  Dolphins
2.  Golden Retrievers
3.  Humpback whales
4.  Humans

Which one is really bad at heart and doesnt deserve your love? 

1.  Dolphins
2.  Golden Retrievers
3.  Humpback whales
4.  Humans

How many delusions does it make sense to hang onto even when you know they are false? 

1.  All of them
2.  Some
3.  None

D.:
After a review of my life thus far, it seems like I'm on track for a pretty lonely life with no friends/significant others... I feel like because the things I value are so radically different from most people that I can never really connect with them. There's an invisible wall that I can't overcome, and that seems to limit my ways to live a 'normal' life... Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?

I used to be extremely introverted (asd) similar to descriptions in your earlier posts, until I accidentally tasted aspects of nirvana at the start of the year before I knew what I was doing, realized I stumbled into metta practice and was hooked for life; similarly got inspired by it's potential for the human race. I used to be an obsessive infovore, but in the process of looking at myself from different perspectives (metta vore) I loosened my grip until ambiversion felt like a more realistic option; inspiration and sharing between people and community.

As I explored this side of myself, most of the meditation groups around the area seem to meet late at night; in-part because of traditionalism and possibly work/life balance. I went to a rinzai zen meditation group (blind, no research) to test the waters of semi-traditionalism, but the rigid adherence to mantras and strict rules of hierarchy set off my cult alarm. They're really nice people with a side of activism, and I understand to an extent what some of the practices aim to achieve beyond the surface, but that seemed progressively counter-productive to people like me; I've always felt directly and thought conceptually (no monologue).

I also attended a shingon buddhist group, practiced moon meditation and inspired a new perspective. It was a nice balance, but ended with q&a blurring the lines between reality and spirituality from my perspective; I learned allot from just listening, and then everyone quickly went their separate ways. Community through meditation groups seem fleeting to nonexistent. I hoped to find something a little more substantial rather than silos of people that scatter everytime the penny drops, but maybe that's the point. Perhaps it makes more sense to covertly bring practice out of the silos and intuitively into other meetups and communities; that might be my next venture.

After a few weeks of solo exploring myself a little more, I ordered TMI, PIM, Manual of Insight, and a few other books to dive into; I was mildly concerned I'd disappear down a rabbit hole without much human interaction, so I signed up for Tinder (and many others) in-part to test myself in that context while waiting for the books to arrive. I got a match inquiring about part of my bio (I pedaled a bike across the country, reached nirvana and stayed for life); after elaborating and reciprocating, it sort of stalled at text. That seemed to be enough practical exposure to feel my way past latent cravings of self-acceptance through social mirrors.

Some of the books arrived and I got to work, but quickly became a little disheartened with the noting practices; it might work for most people who grew up thinking with words, but that's never been me so it felt like training to internalize layers of abstraction to push experience away rather than accepting direct experience, much like how zen chanting seemed incompatible with how my mind thinks and feels. I was a little dissillusioned until the puzzle pieces of my past experiences started to fit together like a jhana. The metta-based nirvana-like state I experienced in early January lasted several days unwavering through lots of chaos, but equanimity seemed to end with several rounds of complex social interaction.

I was considering diving deep into translations from Bhikkhu Bodhi to draw inspiration from, and I may still in the future, but I just happened to discover TWIM yesterday and I'm now back on the Path To NibbanaThe Other Shore (based on this) and Boundless Heart while I wait; might even venture into Fire Kasina. I used to do open eye meditation getting to a point where colors/patterns overlay onto vision of the world, so I'm excited that a candle might be able to amplify that with emotional states (flicker). If all else fails, I've enough knowledge and imagination to make my own map since that seemed to be what sparked it to begin with. To make it relevant to this thread though, I'm curious if it would make more sense to extend the experiences into social communities until that no longer disrupts stability as it did back then, or prolong the experience by learning to weave it into only doing self-care routines for a few weeks (like any new habit) until it's the new default state and slowly testing the experience in all chaotic and social contexts going forward?

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/16/18 8:29 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I'm gonna say they're all mammals, none of them are really bad at heart and that it makes sense to hang on to none of your delusions when you know they are false.  or was that a rhetorical question?

* this thread kinda bothered me when i glanced it this morning.  i've read that research shows that mindfulness meditation is posively correlated with extraversion (liking people), lower levels of neuroticism and being open to new experiences.  I don't think that necessarily means hanging  with the same poisonous crew.

Interesting perspective Nick!  Could you share more about your introduction to the dharma?  That seems like quite a radical life shift, I am interested what events inspired it.

[quote=Francis

]I was considering diving deep into translations from Bhikkhu Bodhi to draw inspiration from, and I may still 
aloha francis,

   I generally begin preparing for my morning meditation by reading a sutta or two from bhikkhu bodhi's (and bhikkhu nanamoli) translation of the "majjhima nikaya" (the middle length discourses of the buddha). I originally got the very fine book from wisdom publications for $75; they are a great outfit and worth supporting. By now I have been through the entire work nearly three times. Pratically everything the buddha had to say is in there somewhere.

   Take your time, bra. It isn't really about books. As dogen said, the buddha dharma is about learning about yourself, and to learn about yourself is to forget yourself. You can ponder the classics, but every one of those old baldheads was no different from you. Look within and see.

   That reminds me of a story...(my favorite line):

*Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright*
(chuang tzu, trans merton)

The world values books, and thinks that in so doing it is valuing Tao. But books contain words only. And yet there is something else which gives value to the books. Not the words only, nor the thought in the words, but something else within the thought, swinging it in a certain direction that words cannot apprehend. But it is the words themselves that the world values when it commits them to books: and though the world values them, these words are worthless as long as that which gives them value is not held in honor.

That which man apprehends by observation is only out­ward form and color, name and noise: and he thinks that this will put him in possession of Tao. Form and color, name and sound, do not reach to reality. That is why: "He who knows does not say, he who says, does not know." 

How then is the world going to know Tao through words?

Duke Hwan of Khi,
First in his dynasty,
Sat under his canopy
Reading his philosophy;
And Phien the wheelwright
Was out in the yard
Making a wheel.
Phien laid aside
Hammer and chisel,
Climbed the steps,
And said to Duke Hwan:
"May I ask you, Lord,
What is this you are
Reading?"
The Duke said:
"The experts. The authorities."
And Phien asked:
"Alive or dead?"
"Dead a long time."
"Then," said the wheelwright,
"You are reading only
The dirt they left behind."
Then the Duke replied:
"What do you know about it?
You are only a wheelwright.
You had better give me a good explanation
Or else you must die."
The wheelwright said:
"Let us look at the affair
From my point of view.
When I make wheels
If I go easy, they fall apart,
If I am too rough, they do not  fit.
If I am neither too easy nor too violent
They come out right. The work is what
I want it to be.
You cannot put this into words:
You just have to know how it is.
I cannot even tell my own son exactly how it is done,
And my own son cannot learn it from me.
So here I am, seventy years old,
Still making wheels!
The men of old
Took all they really knew
With them to the grave.
And so, Lord, what you are reading there
Is only the dirt they left behind them."



terry

D.:
This is what I'd like to be,  but unfortunately, when you get used to being bitter and mean to people(disguised as  humour), it's very hard to unlearn. Most young people are like this as well. Being a kind individual is so unusual that I don't think I've ever encountered a person like that in my life.

Also, I think of most things as a gain/loss, and interacting more deeply with people I don't care for doesn't seem to give much 'benefit' or 'advantage' to me. This style of thinking is also very hard to unlearn. When I talk to people, I just think 'I could actually be doing something useful or more fun, than entertaining this person with small talk'
We are all mired in conditioning, there's no shame in them, they are what they are. Through this path, we start to see them but the work starts when we see what the effects of the conditioning lead to - suffering; we see the causes and the arisings of the conditioning and how it snowballs; we will ourselves to overcome it and take the steps to extinguish ignorance and remove the traces of conditioning by disallowing its continuance.

You need to come to a point where you suffer behaving in this manner; you practice metta (important: the feeling!) and see how doing good results in the immediate karma of your own well-being, how it trickles on to all areas of your life. Try doing what little metta you can (as easy as a silent 1 second well-wishing to strangers), see if you gain/lose anything by practicing the 1st parami - giving. 

Consider where all these problems/fears of yours come from? Do they stem from the illusion/s of self & ego? Perhaps reverse-engineering the process of enlightenment may help - behave like an enlightened being perceiving non-duality, would make it much easier to not take things so seriously and behave altruistically <- watch how pleasant it is for yourself. Why do things have to be planned (gain/loss - ego?)? Try living simply without overthinking consequences but with spontaneous right speech/actions - enjoy the ease and surprises. [Notice that most of the time such plans do not pan out. Why rehearse your interactions when they almost always don't turn out the way you thought?] Screw the outcome - you are happy with it however it pans out and you will be.

Something to think about if enlightenment is the goal - can the organism with built-in reptilian/mammalian self-defences allow for non-dual truth if one is walking around with high degrees of I vs The World, almost all the time? Even if yes, don't you think one would suffer instead from perceiving non-duality?

D.:
After a review of my life thus far, it seems like I'm on track for a pretty lonely life with no friends/significant others.

It's got me thinking if other people seeking the 'higher' things in life tend to be like me as well? The level of introspection & determination required to strive to extuingush suffering entirely isn't something you see very often.
Not everyone meets suffering head-on, the usual reaction is to just ignore it.

I feel like because the things I value are so radically different from most people that I can never really connect with them. There's an invisible wall that I can't overcome, and that seems to limit my ways to live a 'normal' life.

And this seems to the case for the Buddha as well, he couldn't live out the 'easy' path of being a king, and abandoned his wife and child and his luxuries, and instead chose to become a homeless beggar, with all it's hardships.

I originally scoffed at people deciding to become a monk, but the wordly life seems be pretty shitty as well.

Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?

I would be careful about making comparisons between myself and buddha as a justification for anything, e.g. for the fact that I have few social interactions. My guess is that the reasons you are lonely are much more down-to-earth, like e.g. you are an introvert with few social skills, or something like that, and that you comparing yourself to Buddha in this instance is a bit like a "happy thought" that's trying to compensate for feelings of loneliness (i.e. self-deception).

Personally speaking, I am generally an introvert, but I still force myself to maintain the connection with the people I am very close to - my parents, family and close friends, and I generally waste very little time in social interactions with people I am not close to. The overall result is that I have much less alone time than I would like.

But I used to live abroad, and for a few years at a time I didn't have access to close friends, and then I remember feeling alone like you seem to be hinting at.

You know what? I think that part of a meaningful human life is interaction with other humans. The buddha, whom you are citing, did nothing but hang out with other humans for the last 45 years of his life, right? In fact, let me cite you:

SN 45.2:

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.


So yeah, go figure emoticon

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/17/18 6:10 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

SN 45.2:

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.


So yeah, go figure emoticon

There is A LOT of that (in the above) that is happening right here, right now, in this site. See through the illusion of having an "in your face" dharma companion and rest in the knowledge that you are in Sangha companionship "online" - what is real and not? <- You have been in my thoughts for real when you weren't posting the past weeks. Do your 'friends' do that? We don't know. Treasure what you have, D.

The main change in my social life has come from quitting alcohol. Turns out the British adult social paradigm is centred around beer - who knew!? Going out and getting a skinful hasn't been at appealing to me for a couple of years now due to meditation, despite it being my favourite hobby prior. So in that sense, I've become less social. I have, however, found new social hobbies such as board gaming, that may to a meditator seem just as trivial as social niceities when viewed under an 'ultimate reality' lense, but that lense doesn't have to be applied all the time, and if it's the only lense you can apply, you may not be so free.

I feel like there may be a bit of a selection bias here since people who post regularly on forums are not generally your 'usual' people, we are often in some sense 'internet' people, and 'internet' people tend to be that way because of certain social problems, isolation, etc.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/17/18 9:19 AM as a reply to Rednaxela.
Rednaxela:

* this thread kinda bothered me when i glanced it this morning.  i've read that research shows that mindfulness meditation is posively correlated with extraversion (liking people), lower levels of neuroticism and being open to new experiences.  I don't think that necessarily means hanging  with the same poisonous crew.

You know, I agree. In a way it bothers me too. But facing and discussing the delusions we face is part of the path. And the correlation of meditation to those things listed is dependent on where you are in your practice. I've definitely faced some rough material that made not want to see anyone and I gather that could be a long time for someone in a dramatic and long dark night. (I've also faced some rough material that made me want the cocaine and the poisonous crew! emoticon ) Through practice, I'm beginning to see the benefits you note above and a lot of that is shedding the old identity I was running from, the one who would be hanging with the poisonous crew.

T DC:
Interesting perspective Nick!  Could you share more about your introduction to the dharma?  That seems like quite a radical life shift, I am interested what events inspired it.

Hey T, when I joined DhO a few months ago, I posted an introduction (link below) detailing the events. Happy reading!  

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6983378

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/17/18 12:07 PM as a reply to Rednaxela.
Yeah, point was that if you look at people the way you look at Humpback whales, it is easier to like them.  In my experience, liking people is a more powerful form of metta practice than cushion practice, so I am not on the social isolation is required or even useful for gaining enlightenment.   The key is to use practice to not get wrapped up in the dramas.   Take the good and let the bad flow past.  imho

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/17/18 4:08 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
If you look at people the way you look at Humpback whales, it is easier to like them.

I love how that feels like a much calmer perspective after spinning around my recent canine metaphor.

I think the point of all of this is to be more human. To discover what it means to be a human being. You have probably been told that before but life itself should be the meditation. You may encounter things you do like and things you don't like, note them. Be present for the pleasurable things, be present for the painful things. I believe spirituality and even personal interests shouldn't alienate us from others (except if you are persecuted for it) they should connect us to the world and ourselves. Understanding yourself in vipassana means understanding others from a much deeper level. Some conversations may be boring or superficial or too simplistic, but knowing how to enjoy simplicity is part of the learning. In a sense I feel the same way as you do and I hope you find meaning in relationships that are profound, spiritual and ordinary! 

So I've been practicing Vipassana / the Dharma for around 12 years.
I have found that the practice has actually, over time, made me a more social person.
Many years of practice has slowly eroded my fear and anixety around social interactions, nowadays I feel very comfortable to chat and connect with different types of people, in different types of connections.

So, the path doesn't necessarily need to lead you to become more introverted, quite the opposite.
But that's just my own story, for what it is worth.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/18/18 2:18 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Yeah, point was that if you look at people the way you look at Humpback whales, it is easier to like them.  In my experience, liking people is a more powerful form of metta practice than cushion practice, so I am not on the social isolation is required or even useful for gaining enlightenment.   The key is to use practice to not get wrapped up in the dramas.   Take the good and let the bad flow past.  imho

   All of us here on the kohala coast have a big interest in humpback whales. The other day I saw a huge male breach three times from my picture window here near hawi town; had him on the binoculars for the last two breaches. Wow! I'm close to two miles from the coast and could see the big fish clearly with the naked eye and in detail with the glass. It was pretty dramatic, that violent splashing, which was how he caught my attention. It's whale season in alenuenue channel. Soon we'll be seeing the babies following momma and auntie around, trying to breach in their wobbly toddler way. So cute. Just big whale-people. And they sing, too. They must make love, since they have babies, but no one knows anything about it; mystery!

   People, now, are astounding; like deer in the woods but so incredibly athletic! Imagine an animal standing on one leg, or dancing or playing basketball. "What a piece of work is Man...the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals." And yet, in appearance, or in our sight, can be also "foul and pestilent." I like the analogy of the farmer. At home, he tends his garden, preferring the vegetables and killing the weeds and pests. When he goes on a picnic with a friend, and sits in a lovely meadow, enjoying the buzzing insects and wild flowers that earlier he thought of as "pests and weeds," the perspective is different. In his garden he loves the one and hates the other; in the meadow, it is all good. He understands the essential interdependence of the web of life, but can't help hating weeds and pests, and loving fruits and flowers. Nota bene, the farmer feeds us all.

   In general, isolation is not natural to human beings. Blake said, "The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship." It is our web of relationships that makes us who we are as a personality. We can become very attached to our web, which leads to suffering. Isolating oneself is a tool to weaken the attachments. Being less attached, we can see more clearly, act more effectively, and in general serve our web more efficiently.

   In practice, we are living in a society where the general level of love and healthy socialization is declining. When I was a kid, oldsters claimed believably that people were much more friendly, giving and sociable "in the old days." When I was young, my wife and I would hitchhike across country as a preferred means of getting around; by the time we were 25 we had been from coast to coast at least six times that I can now recall. We trusted people, generally. (In the south everyone had a gun in their glovebox, but it wasn't intimidating; I used to carry openly in oregon when out hiking and camping. I gave that up when I couldn't bring myself to shoot anything, even when it was clearly appropriate.) I can testify for myself that neighbors were neighbors when I was a kid, and people pitched in and helped out. They weren't nosy but if problems arose they were there for you. Now everyone wants to live the good life on their own and the devil take the hindmost. It wasn't all roses then and it isn't all thorns now, but the trend is clear. As a culture we need more metta and karuna, as we all know.

   There are a lot of reasons for this, but I tend to think of it as a result of capitalist economics. It serves the 'machine' to atomize people, so that every individual needs a tv, computer, stove, fridge, bed, apartment etc etc. On every street you sees cars parked while their garages are filled with consumer goods. We can no longer turn off our machines; they in fact turn us off. Technology dramatically increases the possibility of communicating, but there is that "invisible wall" isn't there. (Everyone has an arrow in their chest; few admit it.) People could skype or facetime with full video but instead they won't even talk: they text. Whatever they say, it is a way to avoid "facing" people, to avoid interacting with any degree of intimacy. Most americans spend their days working at something they cannot relate to and their evenings sitting in front of a screen, involved in some sort of diversion from reality. They eat poorly, get little exercize, and the illusion of interesting friends and an interesting life is presented as entertainment to pacify them. It is equally possible to acquire the best our entire culture has to offer, in bulk and for little cost. And at least some of us are no doubt taking advantage of those opportunities.

   Isolation is not just a tool for generally dialing down ones attachments. It can also be used specifically and in doses as a curative for various relationship problems; kind of like fasting. If someone you are closely related to and deeply care about is behaving in a way that is clearly unacceptable or is going to be unacceptable if allowed to run on, one may want to leave them alone for awhile, let them work out their (active or passive) aggressions without using us as a foil. Sometimes the person misbehaving is our own self, and isolating ourselves can prevent further damage and give us space to make adjustments. I used to go camping a lot. Now I have a cabin on three acres in ocean view which is quiet and isolated, and I spend a lot of time there, at peace. And come home to my wife renewed and refreshed. It works for us.

  My two bits.

terry



"Forty years ago when I was wandering,
I struggled to paint a tiger, but it didn’t even look like a cat!
Reflecting back, as I release my grip on the cliff’s edge,
I am still Eizo of my young days.”

~ryokan
 

   

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/19/18 3:55 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
Bruno Loff:

SN 45.2:

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.


So yeah, go figure emoticon

There is A LOT of that (in the above) that is happening right here, right now, in this site. See through the illusion of having an "in your face" dharma companion and rest in the knowledge that you are in Sangha companionship "online" - what is real and not? <- You have been in my thoughts for real when you weren't posting the past weeks. Do your 'friends' do that? We don't know. Treasure what you have, D.


I'm pretty sure that anyone who classifies as something even remotely close to "friend to person A", will keep person A in his thoughts even when person A isn't right there next to him.

But while necessary, this is far from enough. A friend will not only want person A be happy, but be willing, on top of that, to sacrifice his own well being to help preserve the well being of person A. It's easy and cheap to want everyone to be happy. In fact, it is pleasurable to do so (as metta practitioners know well), so wishing others well is extremely easy if it isn't accompanied by actual effort and sacrifice, or at least, by the willingness to take on that sacrifice if necessary. I could ask you, for example, if you would host D in your house if he was to find himself homeless, or if you would give him money to help pay for the tuition of his children, or loose a weekend of free time in order to help him move to a new house... and my guess is that probably not (but hell, maybe I'm wrong), so suggesting you are his friend is probably premature.

I generally have respect for people here, and even admiration and gratitute for some, and I have well-wishes for most people, and all these things are necessary ingredients for a friendship, but not sufficient.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/19/18 4:56 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I could ask you, for example, if you would host D in your house if he was to find himself homeless, or if you would give him money to help pay for the tuition of his children, or loose a weekend of free time in order to help him move to a new house... and my guess is that probably not (but hell, maybe I'm wrong), so suggesting you are his friend is probably premature.
I wanted to add: "There are many things that I would do for people here, even though we've never met."
But didn't think it necessary to address the OP's question.

I am altruistic enough to die (in thinking, not sure if I can in reality) for anyone for simple, good reasons - as simple as that there is an option to do so. Hosting anyone - without thinking. (I am 'hosting'/guiding 6 practitioners this month from DhO - I do not need to sacrifice my time/effort/own practice for zero personal upside.) Valuables - all given away, so I cannot help.

However, you are probably right in that most do not feel or practice metta this way (why do we need a face/actual contact to like/love someone?)- I send metta out with 'whatever they can take from me', checked and felt deeply not just empty wishes. emoticon

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/19/18 4:27 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Very interested in how you are "hosting/guiding 6 Dharma overground practitioners this month.
Are you inferring that you teach?

The implication that six of my fellow travelers are coming directly under your sway staggers me.

I guess it shouldn't, your school requires second path prior to being able to teach meditation, doesn't it.

Teaching, or implying that you are in a position to teach, here or anywhere else, is a big and bold statement.  I would not have thought that a mendicant (one who makes their living by begging) would be in the business of satiating his ego by impling that he has both, students in person, being taught medtation on site, and now 6 students here!  Wow, i am impressed.  Wanna talk about about your hosting/guiding/teaching a bit more Yilum,  mmm.

D.:
After a review of my life thus far, it seems like I'm on track for a pretty lonely life with no friends/significant others.

It's got me thinking if other people seeking the 'higher' things in life tend to be like me as well? The level of introspection & determination required to strive to extuingush suffering entirely isn't something you see very often.
Not everyone meets suffering head-on, the usual reaction is to just ignore it.

I feel like because the things I value are so radically different from most people that I can never really connect with them. There's an invisible wall that I can't overcome, and that seems to limit my ways to live a 'normal' life.

And this seems to the case for the Buddha as well, he couldn't live out the 'easy' path of being a king, and abandoned his wife and child and his luxuries, and instead chose to become a homeless beggar, with all it's hardships.

I originally scoffed at people deciding to become a monk, but the wordly life seems be pretty shitty as well.

Anyone else had these kind of thoughts?


Someone once told me to focus on the similarities between myself and others, rather than the differences. Consider that you're not so different than everyone else.

Consider that dealing with suffering is common ground for all humans, and that we may have different ways of doing it, but it's safe to say we all are guilty of a lot of avoidance, self-deception, and spiritual bypassing in how we do it. You really think you're going right to the heart of the thing while others are just ignoring it? Try making a list of all the ways you're ignoring it and all the ways you use avoidance.

There are many ways of walking the path, some more isolated and contemplative and others less so.

I agree with those who suggest metta as a helpful practice in response to these kinds of thoughts.

But the words that came up most on reading this thread are honesty and authenticity. I would suggest you cultivate these qualities in personal relationships, and try to be aware of the elitism and arrogance that comes across so strongly in your post.

(Did you get defensive there? See what I mean about avoidance?)

Say what you mean and feel and listen to others, and try to connect and find common ground. We are all just trying to be happy and end our suffering in our own ways.

My guess is that this post points directly to what you need in your practice, and maybe it's time to take a break from other forms of practice and just make an effort to cultivate authentic connections and really be present with others. Maybe that's the specific practice you need now.

J C:


Say what you mean and feel and listen to others, and try to connect and find common ground. We are all just trying to be happy and end our suffering in our own ways.

My guess is that this post points directly to what you need in your practice, and maybe it's time to take a break from other forms of practice and just make an effort to cultivate authentic connections and really be present with others. Maybe that's the specific practice you need now.

Sound advice, I guess, but it only really works if people actually want to talk to you and want to invest some effort into being with you, instead of just passing the time with idle chatter before they go do something they actually want to do.

I don't see why I should put effort in(beyond just normal social niceties.), when others don't. If people aren't willing to connect with me, then it's a fair assumption to make that they don't want me around them for longer than necessary.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/19/18 7:43 PM as a reply to Stuie Charles Law.
Stuie Charles Law:
Very interested in how you are "hosting/guiding 6 Dharma overground practitioners this month.
Are you inferring that you teach?

The implication that six of my fellow travelers are coming directly under your sway staggers me.

I guess it shouldn't, your school requires second path prior to being able to teach meditation, doesn't it.

Teaching, or implying that you are in a position to teach, here or anywhere else, is a big and bold statement.  I would not have thought that a mendicant (one who makes their living by begging) would be in the business of satiating his ego by impling that he has both, students in person, being taught medtation on site, and now 6 students here!  Wow, i am impressed.  Wanna talk about about your hosting/guiding/teaching a bit more Yilum,  mmm.
I cannot infer, but imply. It will be out of the ordinary if I used 2 words to imply and replace a single word of apt meaning. Thus it is clear that you are the one inferring out of self-angst that by investigating is also clearly the way out of your misery.

This inferring is also the cause of you staggering, holding strongly onto illusions and concepts, in Buddhist words - ignorance (look up Dependent Origination), thus failing to see the truth of things.

You are right that a mendicant's true meaning is one who begs. But if you've understood the way of Theravadin monks, the word is improper as we do not beg - everything is offered to cultivate the first parami unconditionally  in the people.

I'm more than happy to talk to you, as i can see many ways that you clearly can bring your practice forward, but first you have to decide whether you want to converse like an adult or simply choose to behave like before - insult when you're incensed for personal, selfish reasons and ask others to piss/fuck off when you aren't feeling the power of your anger? If you have suddenly changed your mind and want to re-open communications after you slammed the door, I think any culture would deem a simple apology the first step from you, the right way to proceed.

You're forgiven anyhow because it's all imaginings in your pool/stream. 

If you really want to find me, I'm not in your pool.

Look up to the skies and see. emoticon

Deepankar, there is no way to find out the pure joy of unconditional love and giving till you experience it yourself. Living and giving in this mode of expecting returns is an intangible trade, it is still a barter - what joy can it yield other than you having the longer end of a stick? 

Be careful of living life measuring gain/loss, the snowball can and will become an avalanche - unstoppable conditioning of misery that you become used to instead.

Consider giving this unconditional living a chance to show you its worth and value. 

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 12:51 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
You'v said a lot about nothing, and nothing about teaching.   mmm

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 1:47 AM as a reply to Stuie Charles Law.
Out of deep compassion for your situation (conditioning), I suggest looking into delusions and ill-will (fetters).
Illusion of teach/teaching (existing in your words and posts only) and what it takes to be a teacher. You can go back to MCTB and there are fine words there about what qualifies one.
Frog's view out of a well: 2nd path required to teach (from a single source: MCTB, using it to assume world-wide coverage and application)
Look into jealousy (if you listened to Kundalini, it demanded honesty)
Look into who is satiating his ego by writing (ego-blowing) information about his progress through the jhanas (they do not lead to enlightenment). I am answering Bruno's question in contrast. (However it is known that people wrongly judge others by their own personality - very useful to catch people, as they say it takes a thief to catch a thief).
Look into being in serious misery of being a taker and giving litte to nothing back. Very happily disrupting the peace of other topics, contributing nothing, but think nothing of it at all. A moral issue.
It is such a long list, but this is enough to get you going for a very long time (If you believe in rebirth, it could be aeons).

Ockham's razor: You listed so many things happening against your logic/belief/understanding. The simplest answer is that all the other factors are in place and that you are simply the only factor wrong. You also seem to find happiness from (others' misfortune), so stay tuned, nothing can stop this 'farce' from blowing up, can it? You can *chuckle chuckle* when that happens. emoticon

I've never needed to teach meditation, only guide - google the difference. But you seem like you want to sign up to be a student and be taught. But sorry, I do not wish to be a teacher. There's absolute truth here, but that is all I can help you with...

All the best with your stream. (Consider the serious possibilities that you are not in it and strive harder - Hint: Ill Will)

You strangely prefer to judge by who is the speaker than look at the facts, so check with Pawel, Noah or those you believe if MCTB 1st/2nd Path means entering the stream. Ah and yes, MCTB 2nd? Had it 2 months back, but to me it isn't an attainment. It is clearly stated "belief in self" is the 1st fetter - that means non-duality. Which if it isn't clear, we are both not sotapanna's yet.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 2:11 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Thank you Yilun, that says it all for me.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 2:19 AM as a reply to Stuie Charles Law.
I hope it helped really, but frankly you reek of sarcasm. It should not matter because what we think of each other can only be a made-up illusion, just a thought process conditioned by our pasts. I hope you see the truth in that. All the best, Stuie...

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 6:25 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
I could ask you, for example, if you would host D in your house if he was to find himself homeless, or if you would give him money to help pay for the tuition of his children, or loose a weekend of free time in order to help him move to a new house... and my guess is that probably not (but hell, maybe I'm wrong), so suggesting you are his friend is probably premature.
I wanted to add: "There are many things that I would do for people here, even though we've never met."
But didn't think it necessary to address the OP's question.

I am altruistic enough to die (in thinking, not sure if I can in reality) for anyone for simple, good reasons - as simple as that there is an option to do so. Hosting anyone - without thinking. (I am 'hosting'/guiding 6 practitioners this month from DhO - I do not need to sacrifice my time/effort/own practice for zero personal upside.) Valuables - all given away, so I cannot help.

However, you are probably right in that most do not feel or practice metta this way (why do we need a face/actual contact to like/love someone?)- I send metta out with 'whatever they can take from me', checked and felt deeply not just empty wishes. emoticon



You say you would "die for someone, simply because the option is available", but frankly I suspect you just say that because the idea of doing that is pleasant for you (it's a "happy thought", so to speak). In fact the option of helping others without any concern for yourself is quite within your reach, all you have to do is survive with the least means possible and give all the leftover money to the poor (here is a website where you can do just that). In fact, if you are not already doing that, how could you even contemplate the possibility you would be able to die for someone --- not just someone, anyone --- else. It's all talk, if you ask me.

And another point. I think that a significant fraction of meditation practitioners like to "help" others as a part of a weird ego-trip, and this "helping" results in a pleasurable mental payoff. All it takes for them to back off is when the ego-trip payoff becomes smaller than the work they have to put into getting it, e.g. when the helpee does not agree with the narrative. I know that acting in this way is very tempting for me personally, and that I have to be very vigilant so as not to engage others in that way, especially when I am talking about meditation to someone who I believe is less experienced. Even when trying hard not to enable this pattern of behavior, sometimes a thought or a behavior slips through my vigilance and I recognize that I am doing it yet again, in a subtle way. This pattern is part of my shadow side, so to speak.

There are a few signs I can think of that make me believe I am seeing this pattern. For example:
  • Appearing overly-eager to help, even when help was not specifically requested.
  • Prone to making long monologues that can't be proven wrong, especially monologues about non phenomenologically-definable concepts such as "true self".
  • A self-inflicted position of faux-superiority: they don't agree with me it must be because they "didn't get it", aren't "as enlightened as I am", or whatever.
  • An odd mix between high reactivity to criticism (criticism leads to ranting, defensiveness, long replies, etc) and immunity to it (i.e. criticism never leads to actual change, that isn't even an option unless criticism is seen as comming "from someone above").
And that's just off the top of my head.

That said I think this is not the case for everyone who is keen on helping others, so who knows, maybe you don't suffer from this. Though admitedly, the way you write triggers my alarm bells, and ranting against Stuie Charles Law didn't help your case.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 6:55 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
You say you would "die for someone, simply because the option is available", but frankly I suspect you just say that because the idea of doing that is pleasant for you (it's a "happy thought", so to speak).
No. I came to be a monk because I was seriously contemplating suicide, found little meaning in life. This speak of death is not your usual casual talk, I AM ready for it. Part of me doesn't really fancy living that much. And what little I can do for others, watching them happy is a major spark of living on.
In fact the option of helping others without any concern for yourself is quite within your reach, all you have to do is survive with the least means possible and give all the leftover money to the poor (here is a website where you can do just that). 

My addict dad died beaten by Malaysian police to death as he will not reveal his bosses, when he was peddling heroin (2009). My younger brother followed in his footsteps, 2011 cocktail drug OD, now vegetative. All remaining assets are left to him. If you think I should have done what you mentioned, I respectfully disagree.

Regarding Stuie, I have no idea why he launched a tirade against me on a Kundalini thread where I was trying to find out more about it. I doubt I was the subject matter expert.

I used to be a copywriter/editor, affirming the truth is a habit and writing long is so much easier than being concise+precise. So pardon me for being lazy.

All the rest said about me, there is possibly truth in them but you seem to get the wrong person (I do not know what is true self, nor recall any disagreement/criticism - I find that these are lacking in this forum, I welcome them and think them important for growth, yes mine and so far you are the first (Stuie was just swearing at me).) and will look deeply. I do not think of it as an ego trip - If I see something that I think I could help, the thought preventing me from doing so is the thought of being seen as what you mentioned instead - such a pain that on an online site we have to make such considerations to prevent us to help. I see posts go by nowadays with no senior meditators helping, what really is the right thing to do for juniors like me? Stay meek and silent, let the poor souls float by?

P.S. You are prejudiced against monks and such a livelihood - You called it an immoral form of living. Notice it is all subjective finger pointing. I will seriously take what you said as food for thought (what is implied) and perhaps restrain on helping (it should only be offered when asked?) - funny though...

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 7:16 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I appreciate this thread in all seriousness. Such fresh air when we are allowed to speak freely without pleasant boundaries. A smell of humanity?

Thank you Bruno & Stuie - it seems odd but I feel close to you, we share this rage (Why me?!) 

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 7:43 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
I see posts go by nowadays with no senior meditators helping, what really is the right thing to do for juniors like me? Stay meek and silent, let the poor souls float by?

P.S. You are prejudiced against monks and such a livelihood - You called it an immoral form of living. Notice it is all subjective finger pointing. I will seriously take what you said as food for thought (what is implied) and perhaps restrain on helping (it should only be offered when asked?) - funny though...
Okay Yilun. You know, I am very prone to being critical, but I also do it to myself. If my criticism feels like it isn't touching anything, then feel free to disregard it, I am often wrong.

My stance on the matter of helping is such that I often refrain from helping even when I think I might have something to say. When I do decide I will say something, I try to avoid the assumption that I know what's right for that person. I usually frame my "help" as descriptions of my own experience: "this thing happened to me and in that situation I did the following". Framing it like that already includes some of the required modesty: you know what happened to you and what was right for you, and you can describe it to others, and then let others come to find out whether that works for them or whether they need something else.

For example Mathew Poskus asked a bunch of stuff recently, and I gave a bunch of "help", basically presenting the way how insight practice progresses for me. It turned out that the kind of direction he needed was not quite along the lines of what I had suggested. Once someone else suggested he take on a certain perspective, it imediately helped him, and I later regreted being so absolute about my suggestions.

So generally I make an effort to say "this might work" or "this worked for me" instead of "I recommend you do this". That avoids the arrogant presumption that you know more about what's going on with the other person, and what is right for them, than they do.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 7:53 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Thanks Bruno, I felt that these pleasantries are unnecessary. I thought it obvious to the reader that all information on a forum by a random stranger/s is to be taken with large pinches of salt, 'advice' is to be weighed and matched to personal experience and then used appropriately. However, it is a good practice and I will start to communicate in this manner. Perhaps this is Right Speech - then I am sorely lacking here and need a lot more work...

D. - your angst on this topic, my angst, all other kinds of worldly angst: man, they are all hard to work on and often I see the easy, escapism way and take that road. Problem is we cannot run from it, mate. There comes a point where we are faced with no choice, and that point is usually the worst point to start. Start somewhere more comfortable...

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 10:47 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
In my experience:


Angst - what is it good for. Absolutely nothing.  Say it again. 

There is no center, this shit is just happening and feeling anything but awe is delusional.   No one has any responsibilities or roles to play and no one is in any control.  While we worry - a massive black hole somewhere is eating a galaxy. 

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 11:51 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I think the key issue with angst is that it feels so important.  It is hard to accept that it is just another mental fabrication that has no actual meaning.  In reality, it is probably the nerves in your right hip or something dumb like that. 

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 1:37 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Yeah, point was that if you look at people the way you look at Humpback whales, it is easier to like them.  In my experience, liking people is a more powerful form of metta practice than cushion practice, so I am not on the social isolation is required or even useful for gaining enlightenment.   The key is to use practice to not get wrapped up in the dramas.   Take the good and let the bad flow past.  imho

Thank you Seth.    

i enjoy sending metta on my daily commute.  Building it during the ride then firing it off indiscriminantly when i get off.     

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 2:48 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
I'm getting a weird James Yen vibe here...

D.:
J C:


Say what you mean and feel and listen to others, and try to connect and find common ground. We are all just trying to be happy and end our suffering in our own ways.

My guess is that this post points directly to what you need in your practice, and maybe it's time to take a break from other forms of practice and just make an effort to cultivate authentic connections and really be present with others. Maybe that's the specific practice you need now.

Sound advice, I guess, but it only really works if people actually want to talk to you and want to invest some effort into being with you, instead of just passing the time with idle chatter before they go do something they actually want to do.

I don't see why I should put effort in(beyond just normal social niceties.), when others don't. If people aren't willing to connect with me, then it's a fair assumption to make that they don't want me around them for longer than necessary.

Why should you put effort in when others don't? Maybe because it's a practice and it'll help you.

But you haven't written a lot of specifics about who these people are - if some of them aren't interested, can you find ones who are? Or if everyone you talk to isn't interested, what's the common factor?

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 3:16 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
I appreciate this thread in all seriousness. Such fresh air when we are allowed to speak freely without pleasant boundaries. A smell of humanity?

Thank you Bruno & Stuie - it seems odd but I feel close to you, we share this rage (Why me?!) 

aloha, metta, aloha...

   Apparently you guys have a history, but stuie's question seemed reasonable to me, and yilun's reaction appeared shockingly defensive for someone we might expect to be placid after so much meditation. Stuie's replies also seemed a resonable counterpoint to emotional responses. And bruno's observations also had merit. Where does the rage come from that we share?

   There was a recent thread where paul smith represented a problem with a friend accusing him of being defensive. While people often or even usually *are* defensive, the accusation in itself is one of the commonest of "games," because it is always a winner for the dealer. If you respond to an accusation of being defensive, you are being defensive, and you lose. If you do not respond, it is proved that you are defensive. There is no way to win this game for the player.

   I do not want to put you on the defensive, yilun, but can you tell us about the six folks you guide? Do they realize they are being guided? What dos being a guide mean to you? We can all be guides, eh? Leaders perhaps, by examples and offerings?

   I truly want to think well of you my friend, and you may be digging yourself a hole here. I listen to dharma talks by theravadin monks all the time while I work and travel, and speak of dhamma before dharma. I love you, ok? No reservations. Please respond with care. No one enjoys being slapped down like you did stuie.


metta, karuna,
terry

ps lighten up, try smile! it's all good...

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 6:23 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
I do not think of it as an ego trip - If I see something that I think I could help, the thought preventing me from doing so is the thought of being seen as what you mentioned instead - such a pain that on an online site we have to make such considerations to prevent us to help. I see posts go by nowadays with no senior meditators helping, what really is the right thing to do for juniors like me? Stay meek and silent, let the poor souls float by?

I'm the same way; when people are primed with pattern-recognition to perceive/challenge ego trips in others, even though it can sometimes be contextually useful, it also tends to create false-positives and unintentional divisivenss compared to accepting solidarity and humanity in everyone. I appreciate your and everyone's willingness to help; the pragmatic reality is it's far more helpful to people like me than non-help from teachers who don't have the time/energy to directly help everyone. I've seen communities with excessive roadblocks to help and it wasn't pretty; makingsense reddit (for example) had turned into a non-community of people that hyper-focused on seeing 'intellectual masturbation' in nearly every thing, every post and every one; swiftly shaming and removing everything that didn't perfectly direct people to a single act of reasoned purification.

Spoilers: it seemed to devolve into an echo-chamber that destroyed it's own community and everyone's potential; their argument was they were being efficient, but in many ways it was wasting potential with dehumanizing public relations. This community seems much more humanized in comparison, people are complex, and not everything can necessarily be reduced to black/white ego characterizations; I hope we can all take a step back and see the potential in everyone before going down that path. Funny story, I was waiting for the metta books to arrive, but received a notice that there was an error in the delivery; took a short nap in fleeting semi-frustration and woke up with a feeling knocking on the blood brain barrier door, opened it and was tackled with love. I'll take that over dependent origination any day; Thubten Chodron also reflects on this with Is the spiritual path a lonely one? Now the dilemma, should I track down the delivery error or let the books go. *heads outside to track them down.

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/20/18 4:01 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
In my experience:


Angst - what is it good for. Absolutely nothing.  Say it again. 

There is no center, this shit is just happening and feeling anything but awe is delusional.   No one has any responsibilities or roles to play and no one is in any control.  While we worry - a massive black hole somewhere is eating a galaxy. 


that reminds me of a song, one I like to play a lot and am playing now (taj mahal lives on kauai and I have seen him play this several times):

Take a Giant Step

Though you played at love and lost
And sorrow's turned your heart to frost
I will mend your heart again

Remember the feeling as a child
When you woke up and morning smiled
It's time, it's time, it's time you felt like that again

There is just no percentage in remembering the past
It's time you learned to live again and love at last

Come with me leave your yesterday, your yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind

You stare at me with disbelief
You say for you there's no relief
But girl, I swear, it won't do you no harm

Don't sit there, in your lonely room
Just looking back inside that gloom
Mama, that's not where you belong

Come with me, I'll take you where the taste of life is green
And everyday, everyday, all that wonder just has to be seen

Come with me, leave your yesterday, your yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind

Though you've played the love and lost
And sorrows have turned your heart to frost
I will mend your heart again

Remember the feeling as a child
When you woke up and morning smiled
It's time, it's time, it's time you felt like that again

There is just no percentage in remembering the past
It's time you learned to live again and love at last

Come with me, leave your yesterday, your yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind

Songwriters: CAROLE KING, GERRY GOFFIN

Hi Terry, if you'd like to snoop, you can read his/mine "recent posts". It's not right for me to dig them up just to avoid digging my own hole. And I think things are resolved now...

Love to All too! emoticon

IMHO there's more truth in all I said than it seems as a senseless game of fame and blame. Judgement or illusions changes with each interaction and no one can stop that. I've a personal goal to help as it makes me happy (that's very important isn't it?) whomever I can.

This interest in my guidance shall be converted to a post seeking expert criticism on how I conduct the monastery's business of hosting/guiding aspiring yogis on the path although I sense that the interest isn't on the yogis progress, It can be a positive endeavor!

May all beings be free from suffering! emoticon

OP:  

Humans really need social interaction.     

Josh Korda is a cool dharma teacher who is very interested in human psychology.  Check out these podcasts:

http://dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com

It is fine to be alone, but don't convince yourself you need to be a loner.  

Indeed, it is much easier to be alone if you know you have close human relationships waiting for you.

Follow the advice above and force yourself to interact with people and trying not to judge them.  And noting and noticing what it feels like when you do judge them.  

It is great practice even if they really aren't your kind of people.  Even if they are way old hippies or losers or self-help types of whatever you think you don't like.

Good luck!  Don't give up!

With love.

Francis Crawford



 

 

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/22/18 1:50 AM as a reply to Francis M. Crawford.
Hey D! Why don't you try volunteering? You do not need to approach anyone, these guys are usually so friendly and defenceless - they will chat you up. Just try to be as honest as possible - it is bloody liberating. Maybe you'll meet the girl of your dreams? emoticon

RE: Social alienation among meditators, and the value of the wordly life?
Answer
2/23/18 5:41 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
Hi Terry, if you'd like to snoop, you can read his/mine "recent posts". It's not right for me to dig them up just to avoid digging my own hole. And I think things are resolved now...

Love to All too! emoticon


aloha yilun,

   Not a snooper. I did see some of the posts that enraged you. It was your reaction to them that struck me.

   If you feel things are resolved, then that's fine. I think the situation is clear enough.

terry


"In one thousand years,
how can I
live up to
the true path
even for a single day?”

~ryokan


"Short of breath
a sardine vender
makes his way to the top.”

~ryokan