Forum Replies Created
February 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm #126988
You ask some good questions, very normal questions to ask when digesting presence. Consider the story: there is a woman that is thirsty, and she goes hunting for a well. She wanders through a desert for a long time and finally finds a well. As she drinks, her body unwinds, stress melts, and she feels better. But now she feels chained to the well. So she goes a few feet, exploring, and then runs back to the well. Perhaps realizes she becomes thirsty when she leaves the well, but still wishes to explore away from the well. Wants to get off the cushion and go do stuff that pulls her mind away from the feeling of presence. She becomes scared that to feel open, she has to just sit all day by the well.
Consider: she is the well, always. Said differently, plan the future, but be present, in your body, while you do it. Calm in the mind, while you do it. Those planned adventures won’t bring us the water, we bring the water to the adventure. See?
MattDecember 31, 2016 at 5:52 am #124055
Thank you for the kind words about my style and insight. I hope your heart continues to bloom your quest for meaning, sis!
MattDecember 31, 2016 at 5:47 am #124054
Thank you for the kindness, and I’m so happy that the words were helpful even after all this time. Happy New Year to you and yours. You’re welcome for the advice.
I stopped posting because my inner compass lead me elsewhere. 🙂 Don’t worry, I still endeavor to see the hearts of the world brighten, just not here. If you have a question (or anyone reading this does) that you want my take on, feel free to @amatt.
MattApril 28, 2016 at 8:26 am #103020
Now you’re talkin! Namaste and hugs are tangential to the topic, but fit well enough perhaps.
Namaste, the Buddha in me bowing to the Buddha in you. Consider looking past the skeptical goop you’ve thrown up, and notice there is no gavel in my hand. Namaste, the bow, is holding the recognition that buddha-nature is arising in ourselves and those we bow to. Somewhere behind whatever masks and personalities people offer and put forward, there is an awake, powerful force waiting to bloom, and inside us is the same force, an aspect of nature singing through us. When we let it, aren’t distracted, aren’t self-grasping, and sing what comes to heart and mind with courage and vulnerability, miracles can happen, grace.
The *hugs*, or the vulnerability of a brother embracing his brother, is genuine and heartfelt. It’s the willingness to answer the cry for help, dismantle the burp, and see connection restored. This ties directly into emotional mastery, because unconditional love is more than just a feeling, its a promise, uncompromising. You aren’t pixels on a screen, you’re my brother, brother. See the twinkle? You asked a question about a topic, I sung notions that came to heart, and you responded as you did. Breathing in your new response, I sung notions that came to heart. And again.
Consider also the reference to taste bud mastery. If we eat an orange, are familiar with oranges, we know exactly the kind of tree it came from. Never an apple tree. Never a grape vine. Nature is harmonious in that way. When we give up our self-obsession, and give up our desire to be seen favorably by anyone, it really becomes quite simple. Ahhhh, an orange! So, what’s up with the orange tree?
http://www.compassreadings.netApril 27, 2016 at 10:41 am #102906
Lol, what? How unexpected! How delightful! “I am not this, I do not do that”. Then why bring it up? Said differently… what were you defending, and from what or whom? We all burp, no biggie. Whew! Smells of pride… which is just another emotion, rises, fades. *hugs*, namaste.
http://www.compassreadings.netApril 27, 2016 at 4:41 am #102881
To me, aiming at “mastering emotions” is much like aiming at “mastering taste buds”. When certain food enters the mouth, responses happen. We can choose what we eat, but spicy food tingles, sweet foods taste sweet, bitter foods taste bitter. To master the taste buds, we can accept what is in the mouth, and chew mindfully, not become beholden to spicy or sweet or bitter foods. With emotions its the same. Watching thoughts, watching emotions, noticing how they rise and fade removes the contention. They’re just emotions… so why make a fuss, why lament them?
To me, the highest level of taste bud mastery is someone that doesn’t get up from the table to try to chase down the cook.
http://www.compassreadings.netApril 26, 2016 at 4:54 am #102767
I’m sorry for your difficulties, and understand how difficult it can be to set healthy boundaries with friends. Especially when those friends are clearly in need. In my opinion, you’re having two separate but related issues. One, you mistake enabling for kindness. Two, you lack the trust in yourself that brings about your courage.
The first issue, mistaking enabling and kindness is a normal thing to go through, and one most compassionate people have to learn. To sit there and listen to him lament his suffering (whine and moan and wail and beat his chest and dump) is not actually being a good friend. It’s like watching a horse flail his legs in a mudddy bog, and walking up to the horse and stroking its face, brushing its hair. What the horse really needs though, what the kindest thing to do for the horse, is taking a whip and smacking it on the ass. That is what makes the horse jump free from the mud. See?
Said differently, we all need connection, but as you’ve been intuitively feeling, he needs someone to kick his ass. A therapist, a teacher, a mentor… someone that will listen to his stories and then give him the truth, give him whatever it is that he needs to take the hard look at himself and make a change. This can be you, but it’s not your job… “not mine” said the Buddha.
For the second issue, lacking courage and trust in yourself… consider how you’ve been instinctually flowing with the energy you need, but keeping your lips zipped, holding it back, and now it’s rotted into anger. Said differently, you’ve felt the agitation, the invasiveness into your space, and inside, the force has been there to shut him up and shuffle him out. At first, perhaps it was there with kindness, but you were scared to express it. Now, its like a roaring bear “stop dumping on me!!!!” Had you expressed it in the beginning, now it wouldn’t be so violent.
At this point, consider spending time forgiving. Forgive yourself for being afraid to set boundaries for so long. Forgive him for suffering and using you as a “dumping friend”. Accept neither of you meant for the friendship to become chaotic and dysfunctional, and it’s normal for it to happen. Then, stand up, and warmly but firmly speak your mind and heart to him. Don’t punch furiously into your keyboard, hoping he gets the hint. Don’t hint at all. Honor yourself and him by being courageous enough to say what you have to say, being direct and clear. It’s OK to express your frustration, sister, if that’s what is there. Sometimes, its exactly what is needed for both of you.
May your inner voice be heard, sis, and all the magic to follow.
http://www.compassreadings.netJuly 12, 2015 at 10:02 pm #79728
Your spears always seem to zing true, sis. Consider: you blurted a pretty big flaw in their way of doing things. The bond between a mother and child is often where God shines the most in the whole world. Even if we entertain they are correct in the way we should connect with God (benefit of the doubt, big benefit), their response to a kid “misbehaving the doctrine” is booting the child out of the house. That’s fucked. And you jabbed right into it, a big old WTF inkybomb. Trust your heart, even Lifetime stories have heroes in them.
If your families are intertwined that much, just do your thing, relax. A casual spear and it took a fleet of them, see? Love is always stronger than fear, just flow with it. The boundaries for your son are a great idea, he has enough to worry about with out all that stuff, too. A whole world to explore. 🙂
MattJuly 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm #79185
Sometimes when we’ve outgrown our nest, that nest begins to contract in order to push us out. You’ve noticed for a long time you weren’t happy, weren’t being validated, being used but unappreciated. But also, you had concrete boots. Now, that concrete has been shattered, and you have a firm boot on your bottom to get the funk out.
It’s normal to be afraid of the unknown. Natural. Only sociopaths don’t feel fear. But you are also surrounded by blessings, many fortunate events that are helping your new phase begin. Said differently, you’re being pushed out of your nest with strong wings already grown. Though it’s difficult to trust, try to relax and do just that. 25 years at one company shows loyalty, and in this day, that’s a rare commodity. You also have a good buyout, so you don’t have to scramble. Good things, friend.
As for the tears, yes, let them flow, its alright. The lack of validation, then leading to a one sided breakup naturally produces grief. It reminds me of a toxic relationship breakup. The company is fat headed, organisationally egoic, distracted, negligent. There comes a point when the quest to find validation from a toxic employer (or partner) has to be let go of, cried out, yelled out, shaken off. Be patient with yourself as you do this, and it will fade away as you heal.
Finally, what do you want to do? If you could do anything, what would that be? Consider: you’re approaching a blank canvas with many wonderful colors, and you can paint almost anything you want. The confines of the nest sometime make it difficult to dream, but as your tears dry, consider resting with those questions in your heart. The path will open up before you, when the time is right. Relax!
MattJuly 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm #79108
When we have good dreams, it is not foolish to hold them dear. It reminds me of Marty Mcfly saying “what if they tell me I’m no good? What if they tell me I have no future?” The answer is easy, get up on the stage and play your heart out anyway. What do they know? Ya know?
Consider them teachers, like bullies that are there to help you see just how strong you are. When we look around and see only shadow, there’s a good chance we just need to look down to see we’re a lighthouse. They’re a reminder to be realistic, or to not put your head up your ass. If your eyes are staying open, you’re doing good work, keep going. See a need, fill a need. Let the critics’ words float like dust behind you.
If you have the strength, give them a hug. Otherwise, shake it off. “Not mine”, said the Buddha.
MattJune 29, 2015 at 6:09 am #78973
I’m sorry for your tough times, and can understand the desire to go for a jog when we are uncomfortable and sad. Consider that sorrow and grief is much like a backpack filled with stones. You can ignore it by surrounding yourself with new and shiny people and places, but you can’t outrun it. You have to choose to set it down. To open it up, pick up each stone, cry it out, and leave it behind you as you walk on.
Perhaps because you felt exceptionally lost 4 years ago, you are scared of your grief. Very normal. To try to avoid “going backwards” so you run and run, trying to recreate the walkabout and adventure. But you’re skipping an important step, unpacking the stone. So no matter where you go, when you stop and rest, the weight is there too.
Consider one of the stones. “HER. The one. The only”. How beautiful to have met such a lovely woman, what a romantic and poetic explanation of who she was! And also, total bullshit, a fancy romantic notion, you over exaggerating, being dramatic and storybook ignorant. She had some great qualities, and as a person, she helped your body and mind and heart sing with happiness. Then, clamp that tight fist in your brain around her, throw ropes around her as “the only”, and you have yourself a stone.
To set it down, consider unclenching around “the one the only” and accept that as romantic fantasy and false. “She meant a lot”, sure, of course, clearly. “I really loved her”, yes, well said, definitely. “She left”, yes, that sucks friend, hurts like crazy, cry it out. “I don’t like sorrow”, of course not, grief is tough, not fun for any of us, takes time and tears to heal.
Finally, consider starting a meditation practice. By becoming more in tune with your breath and body, it will be easier to stay present even when you’re not on vacation. So you don’t get lost in your brain as much, and can see the freshness in the everyday beauty, not just the beauty in externally fresh experiences. With so much high adventure experience, chances are great you have focused concentration. Focus that concentration into the breath, as though direct attention toward breathing is like an extreme cosmic sport of climbing the mountain of happiness, and lots of things will get easier. Consider “Thich Nhat Hanh guided breath meditation” on YouTube as a potential liftoff point.
MattJune 28, 2015 at 9:15 pm #78958
Loneliness, in the way I’ve experienced and learned about it, is when we are not good friends with ourselves yet, and so look outside for “other” so we can feel friendly feelings. It’s like other people give us a chance to stop bouncing around in our head, and its so relieving, so refreshing, to not have “other” is full of sadness and agitation.
The key to unravelling this is accepting that you, by yourself, without anyone else there, have the ability to be happy and content. Of course, its not automatic, we have to grow that place, stoke that light. But the capability is there inside each of us, like a seed waiting to sprout. To do so, we have to become friends with ourselves, take good care of ourselves, clean ourselves off, dust ourselves off.
Consider the lost feeling inside your head. Very normal, very usual. Step dad and mom busy doing their thing, often painful for you to experience. Sisters to care for, protect from dad’s injustices, but not knowing what to do, how could you? Escaping into drug euphorias, leading to addictions that fueled poor choices. These kinds of things would leave anyone feeling disoriented, confused about what to do, seemingly difficult to make friends with themselves. Lots of criticisms from the outside and inside. No wonder mind is messy!
But its all garbage, hogwash, like muck thrown at you for 20 years leaving some clumps of gunk on an otherwise beautiful girl. And that girl has really just ever wanted some good hugs, to know she is seen and loved as is. Unfortunately, like many of us, your parents didn’t do a great job at that, so its up to you. Be kind, tender with Charlierae, she needs your warmth and love. As you act kindly and patiently with yourself, the feeling of loneliness will convert into aloneness, or a sense of well being no matter who you are or are not with. It takes time, though.
Consider focusing more of your attention on self nurturing activities. Art, music, dance, yoga, walks in nature, bathtubs with candles. Make space for yourself to be gentle and kind, and much of the inner agitation naturally dissipates. Plus, it gives space to meet whatever non-functional habits you have left with openness and curiosity. To explore what is not to your liking in your environment or behaviors, and do something different.
Finally, consider a meditation practice. My suggestion is trying “Sharon Salzberg guided metta meditation” on YouTube. Metta is the feeling of warm friendliness, and its something we can practice, grow, and embrace. It lessens the mental wind, the seductive pull into the brain, and helps us stay awake, connected to the present moment. Said differently, the feeling of loneliness is like the heart’s light very naturally grown dim from the difficult times you’ve seen. Metta meditation can help rekindle that light, see it shining bright again.
MattJune 28, 2015 at 7:10 am #78930
Perhaps you could wait a year before telling them. What’s the rush? Buddhism is like a quiet internal revolution, deeply personal, an awareness of self. Don’t try to wear it like an armor with your family. Instead, consider using it to change the way you relate to them, seeing more clearly, loving more directly.
MattJune 28, 2015 at 7:01 am #78928
Well said! Some conclude, especially when engaging Buddhism without a teacher, that the emptiness of thoughts means they are pointless, to be ignored, turned away from. Better though is to accept them as not inherently agitating, meeting them with space. For instance, thoughts of food can be noticed, accepted, and embraced without panic, as an indication we are perhaps hungry. You could breathe and ignore them all day, or you could eat a sandwich. 🙂
Good luck on your journey, friend, you’re wonderful.
MattJune 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm #78911
Consider you may have some anxiety about peer pressure from old buddies leading you astray. Your gorilla chase reminds me of your id “chasing the high”. Together, perhaps your inner child is noticing that before you started socially drinking, you were fine alone. But after socially drinking, habituation kicked in and you chased and chased an alcohol buzz. Then, you quit, grew sober, walked away from that lifestyle.
Congrats on your accomplishment. One day at a time, friend, keep going!