Ain't much of a poet, but sometimes I write poems anyway.
Here's a couple that came to me today...
Ain't much of a poet, but sometimes I write poems anyway.
Here's a couple that came to me today...
As I sit here,
I feel the ache of sadness
In my belly,
And I know
There is no escape;
No blissful land
Or happy paradise
If this sad world
Is not also heaven,
Then heaven cannot exist
I am not sure
That this is heaven,
But I know
I have no choice,
Nowhere else to be
Jizo made a vow
To remain in hell
Until all beings
Were liberated from it.
This may seem noble
Until one realizes
That, just like Jizo,
We have no other choice.
Originally Posted by Stephanie
I am certainly no poet ... so let me just try this:
I sometimes feel the ache of sadness
I sometimes feel a warm good cheer
From either ... there's no need to escape.
The blissful land is in that ache,
and in my happiness too.
No where else.
Is this sad world just "heaven"
when we drop small thoughts
both "happy" and "sad"
(allowing such thoughts too)?
Then heaven exists
every where and no where,
And, I 'm sure ...
Nowhere else to be but here.
Jizo made a vow
To remain in hell
Until all beings
Are liberated from it.
Jizo's out from the start
And the same for we beings
For hell's door
is rarely guarded
I think temperamentally I'm a bit more Leonard Cohen than Jundo Cohen :wink: but I admire the way you see things nonetheless
That's for darn sure.................Originally Posted by Jundo
If reality is only a construction of the mind, is the difference between saying that things are fundamentally sad or fundamentally joyful merely an aesthetic, rather than an ontological, matter?
Outside of my own temperamental factors, I personally have gotten tired of the candy-sweet Buddhism that dominates popular American Buddhist discourse, as it strikes me as false and merely representative of the subjective reality of the upper middle class milieu it largely represents. It's easy to say that "hell is just a creation of the mind" when one has a relatively stable situation socially and financially. But becoming a social worker and working with people whose lives are much more precarious and traumatized on a regular basis, that sort of thinking becomes almost insulting.
It's not that I haven't seen the extent to which the mind creates hells and heavens, but to try to make a heaven out of a painfully deprived, oppressed existence is not only so demanding it almost requires sainthood, it also seems to me like submitting to social injustice. I've got one client who insists that he's happy and content even though he is obviously not and will sometimes even admit it and this strikes me to be true of many, if not most, people, including most people I encounter on Buddhist forums. It always strikes me that recognizing the true nature of human existence involves a recognition of the sadness of it on some level. Again, maybe that's my own temperament and experiences coming in, but it's how it seems to me nonetheless.
I guess the question is, when you finally grow up and see what this world is really like, can you say it's so wonderful if you're an honest person and aren't sheltered? I do believe that people are fundamentally more compassionate than cruel, because that's what I see in day-to-day experience. But I also believe that so many people in this world suffer so terribly, and become so damaged by what they go through, and often cannot get out of the painful circumstances of their lives, not because of personal moral failure, but because of various contingencies that are out of their control, that whatever peace is possible for them becomes a peace of resignation, not one of joy. And I think the bodhisattva who identifies with the suffering of the world must of necessity feel this too so there will always be that broken-hearted quality for them. That one must resign oneself to the world's sadness even as one struggles to alleviate the burdens of those who suffer. At least that's how it feels to me.
That's assuming that reality is only a construction of the mind. It is and it isn't. The world is actually, really there (I don't believe I'm a brain in a jar in a virtual reality simulation..) but yes I believe differentiation and assigning meaning is a human construction. But, one view is not superior to the other. There is wonder and joy in the emptiness of no-meaning, and I don't see a contradiction in that.Originally Posted by Stephanie
If you take a functional view of consciousness you could say that all that meaning and emotion is just as real as everything else, in a pattern of neurons and electrical signals. Who can deny its reality?
There are many ways to truth, and while I agree the sort of practice you describe doesn't do much for me, I would be careful of disparaging the way that works for others. If it doesn't work for anyone and leads people down a dead-end, as I fear many of the current buffet-style New Age stuff is doing, then by all means call it on its bullshit. But if you read some of the text of the founders of Pure Land, for example, you realize that while devotional Buddhism is not my cup of sencha it is a direct, simple way of loosening the grip of ego on oneself, or giving people something to reach up for when they're hit rock bottom.Originally Posted by Stephanie
Hell is here on earth, heaven is here on earth. Is one of these false? Is one true?
If everyone realized this, would there be more of one or the other?
Who is asking anyone to make a turd bouquet? Who is asking anyone to ignore the negative? Not here, anyway. I'm not sure who you're railing against.It's not that I haven't seen the extent to which the mind creates hells and heavens, but to try to make a heaven out of a painfully deprived, oppressed existence is not only so demanding it almost requires sainthood, it also seems to me like submitting to social injustice. I've got one client who insists that he's happy and content even though he is obviously not and will sometimes even admit it and this strikes me to be true of many, if not most, people, including most people I encounter on Buddhist forums. It always strikes me that recognizing the true nature of human existence involves a recognition of the sadness of it on some level. Again, maybe that's my own temperament and experiences coming in, but it's how it seems to me nonetheless.
Holding all things in equanimity, good and bad, is a liberating experience. Have you not felt it??
Sure, there are lots of poseurs, but who are you to say they haven't had a taste? A big reflection or a small reflection of the moon still contains the whole moon. You consistently skewer those that cling to happiness but don't you cling to sadness just as much?
Yeah, that's what I meant. What I find difficult is the burden of having to create my own meaning, without recourse to some fundamental meaning or essence of the way things are. I want so much for there to be something or someone else to lean on, and yet I cannot believe that there is.Originally Posted by Skye
But see, Pure Land doesn't even have this problem because it very much makes the assertion that heaven is not right here, or at least that if it is, one needs Amitabha's grace to enter it. I can groove on that much more easily than this notion that gets passed around in America that the only reason one isn't perfectly rich and happy is just that one doesn't think positively enough.Originally Posted by Skye
I'd like to believe that if everyone realized the true nature of reality, we could live in a more peaceful world, but I'm not sure sometimes that it's possible. Every time I've looked hard enough, it seems that even the most enlightened people out there now and in the past couldn't help but cause suffering.Originally Posted by Skye
Yes, but it doesn't last. And even in that equanimity, when it is there, there is also sadness. At least also in my case. Last semester, when I was feeling very joyful and inspired in my life and work, I also found that a key aspect of the compassion that drove me was a feeling of sadness when encountering the world. I wasn't depressed like I am now, and I felt so much joy, but at the heart of it there was still a sadness.Originally Posted by Skye
Perhaps, but the difference is that if I do cling to sadness, it's not because I desperately want to be sad, it's because I'm dedicated to honesty, truth, and reality, and I just cannot help but see that this world is a sad one. And I refuse to get into the mindset that some Buddhists do--whether modern or traditional--that these people's lives wouldn't be that way if only they'd do this or have done that at some point in the past. Yes, a lot of the suffering people endure is self-created, but much is not. And the fact that people can suffer unjustly, and do on a massive scale, makes this world a sad one in my book.Originally Posted by Skye
I'm sorry if I'm harshin' on yer all's good times.
This is just my struggle right now.
Do you really feel so bad about this life? I'm sorry Steph but I really do think these issues are about you, not Buddhism, even candy coated Buddhism or new age things. Heaven, hell or just mundane everyday life is here on this earth and you may get the chance to experience all of them in one day, one morning or one hour :lol:I just cannot help but see that this world is a sad one
Even if we don't create the circumstances we're in, we all have choices as to how we react to them. We may not realise the choices we have, and they may be extremely dificult choices but they can be made and people in and from extemely dire situations do make them.
Practising is a way to come to that realisation, among others.
Doesn't the opposite hold true too, people also live in happines, love and health, on a massive scale. And not just people you see as middle class and sheltered.the fact that people can suffer unjustly, and do on a massive scale, makes this world a sad one in my book.
Doesn't matter if you're on streets living hand to mouth or a millionaire in a mansion you can experience 'heaven', 'hell' or the range in between.
You can also benefit the world by ceasing to do evil an doing good and be happy that you are doing just what you can just now and feel you are doing your bit.
Choosing melacholoy is a state that seems to be self perpetuating and unhelpful to you or others, choose living instead, it's no easier but the rewards are better.
To be clear, my personal quest is not for happiness. If it was, as someone who holds the suspicion that the emotional tone of the world we live in may be entirely self-created, I'd be pretty stupid, right?
My personal quest is for truth and for meaning. I don't mind sadness; what I mind is the absence of meaning. What I hunger for, and seek, is to know the way that things really are. My hope is that there is some ultimate meaning to it all, though increasingly lately I suspect there is not. But even if there is not, I just need to know what this world is that we live in. That is my hunger. My one faith is that this is a question worth asking, a path of inquiry worth taking. Even if it crushes you.
I'm not much for light-hearted coffee talk, am I? :lol:
Harry... :!:Originally Posted by HezB
There's a line in the movie Dolores Claiborne:
"Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto."
I think I could change that line for my purposes:
"Sometimes being a weirdo is all a woman has to hold onto."
And yes, I know I don't talk about it enough on here, but sitting helps immensely.
With all things.
There are many perspectives, all true yet each different; some are conflicting views but without the least conflict ... In our Buddhist Practice, we learn to hold each and all simultaneously. I suggest that you need to free your mind from its narrow tracks of thinking:Originally Posted by Stephanie
By one perspective, our world contains countless painful, ugly things: war, child abuse, poverty, the list goes on. Buddhist Practice is certainly not about being "happy" with such ugliness, nor is it about calling such tragedy anything but what it is. We can never be at peace with such things, nor should we be. Our Buddhist Practice never teaches us to accept or "be at peace with" such things!
Yet, by another perspective, in our Practice we come to "be at peace with" precisely such things and this complex world, and to honor its complexity. We learn to respect, accept and fully embrace impossible situations, difficult or cruel people, calamity and sadness as "just what they are", and not "how we would want them to be". In a universe that presents a garden of flowers and weeds, we respect that both appear whether we like them or not. Stinking dog crap in the road is just stinking dog crap in the road. Weeds are fully weeds and crap precisely crap!! I bow to that!
But, by still another perspective, even as we allow for the world to be a complex place, even as we accept the tragedy ... simultaneously, hand-in-hand without the least break, we can set about pulling weeds. The dog crap in the road is "just what it is" and I accept it, yet I step around or clean it up! I call this attitude "acceptance without acceptance".
(Dog grap, by the way, is an excellent fertilizer for flowers! We learn also to embrace the good and happy events of this world, and not call a lovely rose as just a cluster of thorns. I suggest, Steph, you need to learn this perspective too ... if you wish to embrace the weeds, embrace the flowers too.)
And by yet one more perspective, just as true, we can experience a world beyond all human concept of flowers or weeds, war, peace, without children to be abused or monsters to do the abusing, rich and poor, dogs and dog crap. No separate you, me, cars and tables, sun or stars. It is the blank white page before the play is written, the ways of nature before a human mind even calls it "garden". By this perspective, there is a Peace beyond peace or war, a Stillness in the movement, Life and Growth beyond weeds or flowers. All meaning is there, all belonging.
Do you see conflict and incongruity among these various views? Of course there is! Of course there is not the least!
This is the bus trip we are on ... the garden tour ... perhaps going no where, perhaps some where ... perhaps someone is at the wheel, perhaps not. But all the comedy and tragedy, the weeds and flowers, are seen as but passing scenery out the window.
Free your mind from its narrow ways of thinking!
That may be the attitude of some of the students who come to Buddhism, or any other self-help book in the book store, seeking "happiness". It is certainly not the attitude of most of the Buddhist teachers I know (at least the good ones).... I personally have gotten tired of the candy-sweet Buddhism that dominates popular American Buddhist discourse, as it strikes me as false and merely representative of the subjective reality of the upper middle class milieu it largely represents.
As well, Steph, folks seeking "happiness happiness happiness" everywhere are making the same error you are making, I think, in seeking sadness sadness sadness everywhere. Reality is much more complex than that.
Now, Peace in the presence of peace or war ... that is what Buddhism teaches and is very different from "happiness" I think.
Perhaps you want us to confirm for you, Steph, that life is just weeds and dog crap. Sorry, it is much more that that!!
It is both "wonderful" and "horrible" ... and Wonderful too beyond all human idea of "wonderful" or "horrible". It is a Heaven beyond heaven and hell, not merely a nullity or oblivion!I guess the question is, when you finally grow up and see what this world is really like, can you say it's so wonderful if you're an honest person and aren't sheltered? I
You say, "I want so much for there to be something or someone else to lean on, and yet I cannot believe that there is ... My personal quest is for truth and for meaning.."
Trust in the bus that brought you this far, and into this world kicking and screaming. Live your life. You are here, you have a seat, you have a window. Weeds and flowers pass by ... enjoy the scenery. Can you not appreciate the existential truth and meaning of the ride????
It does not last? It lasts even when you do not feel it so. Practice more with that!Skye wrote "Holding all things in equanimity, good and bad, is a liberating experience. Have you not felt it??"
Yes, but it doesn't last. And even in that equanimity, when it is there, there is also sadness.
Yes, even in the equanimity there is sadness. But in the equanimity there is no sadness too, not the slightest trace.
As well, know that in the sadness, there is equanimity.
Do not forget this!
Well said.Originally Posted by Jundo
I am now reading the fascicle "Ikka No Myoju" to which you have referred. Brilliant! Thank you!
The ancient master said
Do not to bring scriptures to the craper,
But I still enjoy reading
on my porcelain throne.
As is typical of my fucked up brain, I'm feeling a lot better after having one of the worst moments I've had as long as I can remember just a few hours ago. I'm not one for panic attacks, but what I experienced came pretty close. Lost all sense of self and reference points but not in a calm enlightened spiritual way, rather it was the way where you're praying just for it to end and hoping you haven't lost it for good this time. Your mind is going to smithereens while your pulse rate climbs and your stomach churns and you can't do anything about it. Full-bore crazy-ass meltdown (which I'm sure looked like nothing to the other people around me in the library at the time). But after that white-knuckle ride, I feel a little bit the sense of that "something" I've been feeling doesn't exist. Don't know how to put it other than there is a light, somewhere, and it comes from somewhere, but who knows. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be back down in the black hole...
One thing struck me during that episode though. I was lucid enough to be able to have some degree of mindfulness so that I was able to watch the experience without fully identifying with it but I found that no matter what sort of desperate thought I threw at it, nothing had any effect on the horror of it, until I came to a thought of compassion. I thought, "Going through this will help me better understand and have so much more compassion for my clients and other people who've gone through similar episodes, whether they're psychotic breaks or panic attacks or whatever else." That was all the meaning I needed to start calming down. I've thought about it since and it always seems to come back to compassion. I don't care how fucked up I am, that's what always gets through, even when nothing else does. So yes.
Have we had enough of the Magical Mystery Tour of Stephanie's screwed up mind yet? :lol:
And you notice the thought of compassion and you pay attention to what's infront of your face and you feel your back and your hands. Such an intimate thing. Too intimate FOR??????????????
You do seem to relish in being 'messed up' and telling us how you aren't an easy read/talk. It really doesn't seem that cool.
You seem to need to consistently tell us how bad you are and how no one can help. Though lots have offered advice, both spiritual and psychological.
May be you should spend sometime asking yourself why you revel in it?
What you are getting from it?
What have you invested in being in this state?
In gassho, Kev
I'm not craving attention, I'm craving understanding. And I've had very little of it here. Perhaps I've come to the wrong place or the wrong community, or perhaps there is no such place for me. I put my weirdest, darkest stuff out there because I have no outlet for it anywhere else. No one accepts this stuff. I joke about it because you all obviously don't either but yet I'm desperate enough for an outlet that I'll put it out here anyway, knowing he sort of response I'll get: admonishments about how to fix myself, chidings about my spiritual backwardness. At least you all generally show a benign tolerance of me, as I provide an object for you to correct and set straight even though that's not what I'm looking for. I spend the majority of my time in this life hiding what my subjective experience is like from most others in my life. And it makes me so tired. I also am searching for someone who understands because this quest for meaning--as futile and irrelevant as it seems to be to the lot of you--really does consume me. You may think me insincere, but I assure you I am not.
I don't think it's necessarily that people don't understand what you are saying about your thoughts and feelings or what they are, but that they don't understand that you can't see that they are thoughts and feeling you need to deal with in whatever way works i.e. therapy, medication, sitting or a combination of all.
I've had very bad times in the past, had a couple of breakdowns, self harmed, been very ill and down with my ME/CFS but the resolutions came from me taking control and seeing a doctor/therapist/ sitting etc.
In fact my first resolve to see a therapist came after a week long retreat, years ago, which brough up a lot of things I needed to deal with.
I just feel that you need to act rather than be stuck in that thought cycle. Your continuing posts about your fears just feed that thought process.
In gassho, Kev
Steph,Originally Posted by Stephanie
If you are having serious episodes like this, I want you to talk to a counseling professional. Please don't wait. I am sure that they can find some treatment that will leave you better, not worse. Please do that quickly, even today, and don't hesitate. Nothing to lose!
All things come and go. One moment your caught by some unbearable nervous state and then the next day or moment your not. Comes and goes. Just don't make it such a big deal. The more importance you attach to any state or experience the more it becomes your entire experience.
You'll keep talking about it over and over. Your thoughts and what you believe is not special Stephanie. It's the same old same old. Been there done that. Advice work with your experience. What does that mean? It means don't believe or be convinced by anything. A lot will come up in practice and that's about it. I'll keep repeating it until you get it through your skull, pay attention. You want me to repeat it? Pay attention.
One more time for the road. Pay attention. Sit. Pay attention. Release your tension. Sit. Pay attention. Feel your back, hands, legs body, see, hear, smell etc.Pay attention. Let things come and go. Pay attention. Got it?
There's no good or bad practice. You might not be able to smell anything sometimes, but that's just your practice at that moment. Then the next moment...
One thing you might want to ask yourself is what is happening at this moment and am I paying attention.
10:50 pm Time to go sit with my own shit that you don't hear me rambling on and on about in someone's ear.
But guys this is how I feel. No one understands me.It's not so much the tension or thinking too much it this thirst for understanding. It seems like it's something that I've always had. Everywhere I go I can't find people who can relate to me or this thirst for meaning. It's a hunger. I can't shake it. I guess I'll go somewhere else or do my practice by myself.
I agree it looks like we're all dogpiling on you. Maybe it's not the right thing to do, maybe it's mean, but it's coming from a place of kindness and understanding. As a matter of fact, I'm in a cycle of depression right now. Over the years I've learned when it comes and goes and that perspective has given me power over it. The worst part was when I couldn't recognize it for being a construction and taking it for reality. Now I notice when its trying to drag me down into having a certain perception, and the Dharma has helped even more in that direction - like the happy times, suffering comes when one clings to it, good or bad. From what I've read, many people in the Sangha have struggled with this as well. Please understand that we do understand, and I think professional help may be an excellent course of action.
You all are insulted that I don't simply take your advice. But have you asked yourselves why I would take your advice? A handful of people here have made the attempt to empathize or better understand my experience, but for the most part you just assume you know what's going on and tell me what to do without making any attempt to connect with me.
What I came here for was to see if anyone could relate to my experience. The response to that is an overwhelming, clear "No." And perhaps it's not because no one here can relate to it, but certainly no one has communicated to me that they can, with perhaps the exception of Charles. The major difficulty with which I am struggling right now is the intermingling of my existential search and my current "low ebb." I am not ignorant of my possible psychopathology, but that's not what I came here to address. I come to a place like this looking to see if other practitioners and people who have taken similar spiritual paths as me have had the same hunger or the same struggle. If anyone like that spoke out, you would find me very receptive.
Anyway, I realize it's stupid to keep exposing yourself to an unsympathetic audience. And I realize it was perhaps my error in coming and persisting here even when I could sense I maybe wasn't a good fit here. I'm not sure if there is any reason for me to continue posting here, and if I move on, I want to assure you that even if I am not well right now, I am not in danger. I have learned to live with my mind and I don't mind it. Again, I reiterate that my search has been, and remains, one for meaning. I get the sense you lot are "over that," and I am not, so I'm not sure there is a meeting point for discussion here.
Had… I used to blog allot about similar stuff. I think people liked it. Or at least were interested in it.
I deleted allot of it because now it looks like allot of silliness, too me.
I had allot more readers/viewers then, despite the fact that research says that people do not like clowns. I said allot allot!
Take good care.
Things are not going to be the way you want them. Where are you running to? This is just something that you have attached too much importance to. Life goes on. Don't get us wrong. You are welcome here entirely. Yes, yes, no one understands me. What if I started to do that (and I have). Would that help me at all? Nope. What makes you think that no one is relating to you. In fact we are. Do we think we are? No. Are we forcing anything on you? No. Are we dictating what you should do? No. We a relating and trying to show you what is a barrier to your practice. This my dear is it. So I encourage you to go here and go there. Look for this and look for that. No one is stopping you "but" you are always welcome here. Like everyone else who every moment of everyday has something that they feel is so different from everyone else. I'm still waiting to see you in the sitting room.
What do you want Stephanie? Do you want someone to understand you? Do you want someone to understand this feeling of search and meaning that you have had. Do you want someone to relate to that? Do you want someone to talk to you about that? Why? What's the point? It has absolutely nothing to do with practice and it only reinforces your ability to think that you have a hardcore feeling for search or meaning.
Do you think that we chat about this stuff when your not around? Do you think we have some club where we get together? We don't. Do you think we're ganging up on you? I have never met Jordan or Harry. I have never met Jundo. I never met most of the people who have thrown advice at you. So, how can we, who have never even spoken together have the same point towards what you are experiencing? Any view that you hold is going to cause you trouble.
Steph,Originally Posted by Stephanie
I (along with most others on this board I would assume) ABSOLUTELY can identify with your struggle and and your hunger....that is precisely why we are all persistent in our suggestion for you to stay with your practice and/or seek professional help.
"A fool who persists in his folly will become wise."
We are trying to point out to you in a kind way that your struggle is simply not yours alone.....you are not someone special (sort of speak).
You are identified with this idea that you are going through this grand struggle and spiritual quest and that nobody understands you, etc, etc, etc.....but those very thoughts and ideas are NOT the REAL you. If you are having trouble seeing or understanding this, that is completely OK.....all you need to do is practice.
My first suggestion would be to seek professional help, I would think the proper medication would "take the edge off" and enable you to pursue a more consistent practice. My other suggestion would honestly be to stop posting on this board expecting answers which you will simply not find here. I think it's fair to say that you are not going to find someone here to commiserate with your conditioning and thus, nobody here can offer you the comfort that you are looking for in that regard.
Peace. - John