Why is it so hard to practice outside of Buddhist institutions? I've been trying to do this for the last five years. I've been practicing Buddhism for 10 years: 5 years getting into Buddhism, and 5 years getting out.
But I still find it incredibly difficult, even scary, to do this on my own, 'with a little help from my friends', of course.
That need for what Glenn Wallace calls the Big Other--for affirmation, camaraderie--it's still there.
But yet, that's what the Buddha did.
@ShaunBartone I think it comes from a fear of the unknown. Of having no path. Nothing and no one to say, ‘that’s right, good job, you’re headed in the right direction.’ It’s a plunge into the unknown, the path less traveled. Yet that is exactly what the Buddha did. You have to trust yourself implicitly. As Krishnamurti said, it’s a path beyond the known, the guaranteed, the tried and true. It takes tremendous courage.
@ShaunBartone isn't the issue the loneliness? that's what most people run away from. that feeling of having nobody to share their experiences or the practice. I'm struggling with this for about one week now. I didn't seek to be alone, but I also don't want to be in company anymore just for the sake of company (when the company is not really fulfilling). so now I'm trying to be just here and sit with my loneliness. acceptance is the first step to healing.
@reto very true. It is the loneliness. We naturally want to share our experiences with people who understand. That’s why I started this instance, I guess.
I started getting depressed again because my ambitions were not met, and I had to stop meeting some people. But really behind the depression was sadness caused by loneliness. Now I just expose myself to the loneliness not trying to cover it up. I believe it's a ton of bad stuff that never had the chance to get conscious. This mess needs my attention and I'm there now for it. I believe it will sort itself out slowly.
what I wonder is this: feeling lonely is suffering. now if you go to a group to get rid of that feeling then it's not really dealt with. wouldn't it be better to get free of loneliness instead? and it seems the only way to do it is when you're alone, because in a group you don't get the problem anymore.
@reto @tim I agree that we should learn to feel more comfortable with solitude. But people need people: it’s biologically wired into us as a social species. ‘Mastodon’ is a perfect example of that need for others. But it’s always a mixed bag. You might connect with people who are supportive, but you’ll have to put up with a bunch of shit in the process.
I don't really have the time or energy to find dedicated groups, so have picked up and studied mainly-tao through books and my own contemplation. It's difficult to find a good taoist sage in Sussex 😁
That said, it's been helpful (essential?) to learn through a mix of people and settings. I take a mixed approach - various online forums (usually dip in and out temporarily), tai chi teachers (online and IRL), and friends with similar interests.
@ShaunBartone yeah, I know what you mean. It's what we are all looking for: a bit of company and love.
But again It makes me wonder... if the Buddha found freedom from suffering alone, shouldn't we be able to do it too?
and if we can't then maybe something is not right? are we now biological species or are we more?
@scribe nothing really, that's what I'm trying 😄
can tell you later maybe how it turned out 😊
currently it's quite hard, almost constant sadness because of the loneliness, but it's a lot better compared to when I would feel just depressed and the sadness was not conscious (many years it had been like that)
The things is, we are not the Buddha (or at least not the body / mind of the being who was given that). Therefore, we may experience whatever it was he experienced via a very different route, and in very different circumstances
Everyone is seeking externally for the love they already are, which is waiting to be realised, how every distorted that search may look.
Yes, humanly we are wired to companion with others, but that's at a different "level".
@tim the thing is, I suspect that most of the human suffering/unrest is rooted in a feeling of loneliness. but people are not aware of it because they don't spend time with themselves, taking care of themselves. the effect is all the noise and problems we see around us. being never satisfied and unable to plug the hole inside. running to and fro from one thrill to the next, constantly in need of distraction and excitement
@scribe 😄 but maybe it's the other way 'round. capitalism is here because of that 🙃
the tendency of people to distract themselves from their suffering creates an industry to help them with the distraction. it's a vicious cycle. the question would be: how can it be reversed? what would be a way to break the vicious cycle? because that cycle is probably going to destroy our planet...
thank, interesting poiints. I guess I'm more of an extrovert but because I pick up feelings of other people it is also hard for me to be in company. altogether it's getting better in groups as I'm learning to speak more spontaneously, I'm saying less and listen more (the principle of Suchness in Zen or Wuwei in Taoism). I found that ambition/purpose is keeping the loneliness away, so you have to get rid of that to really experience loneliness 🙃 🤔
There's no doubt that certain people appear to be "energy vampires".
We have a kind of support / meditation group once a week here in our home. There was a guy who came along who clearly was massively lonely, had had mental health issues, and was the most compulsive talker I have ever met.
Buddhahood eluded me and, eventually, compassion fatigue kicked in. We had to close the group and reconvene without him as he was causing others distress.
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