Loneliness and Buddhism

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Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:54 am

You can skip to the end, and just read the question if you'd like, I only added the rest to give an idea of why I'm asking the question.

When I first got into Buddhism was during a time I was addicted to amphetamine and drugs in general, I watched a Siguor Ros music video, and felt something strange, immediately I was reminded of the Novel the Giver which I had read in middle-school, and related the feeling to the first time the protaganist see's the apple "change" (if anyone has read it). I stepped outside briefly for a smoke, and stared off ahead at a bush that seemed very significant to me, a strong wind came through and the bush began to dance, I felt for a moment after a very long time, at ease, I wanted to stay in that moment more than anything, I thought my heart had died, that emotions had left me forever, but they came back in such a strong force that if I were the type to cry, I would have wept. I watched for nearly a minute as the drawn out wind manipulated the bush like a puppeteer trying to say something far more than, "this doll is dancing, watch him dance".

I quit drugs that day, and quit smoking, drinking caffeine, watching pornography, lying, and drinking, It wasn't as if I read that these were unacceptable things to do as a Buddhist, I didn't know a thing about Buddhism and found it to be very silly before that moment, but after seeing that bush, I lost all desire to do those things.

A little background into my life, shortly before my question, I apologize for the long read, it just seems neccessary to explain my situation, to get any sort of answer that could help me.

I spent a year and a half confined to my bedroom because I had a massive falling out with social group in the town I lived in prior to now, And it drove me into a deep depression in which I tried to kill myself, I left the house only to throw garbage out down the road, I never saw anyone outside my brother and mother for a year and a half, I won't get into why as this isn't a sob story it's a question, and has been drawn out long enough. But recently before getting into Buddhism, I had another falling out with my friends including my best friend of 9 years, and my ex-girlfriend, I got cheated on and told her off which because she was popular amongst my friends, led to everyone refusing to talk to me or see me again, I started using drugs around this time very heavily, it's been about 8 months now, the first of the three months I got addicted to cough syrup and amphetamine, and caused some serious damage to my heart, as well as my mind, but I quit about 5 months ago that day I was blessed by the wind in the bush.

I quit everything, cleaned my life up, and it was all so easy, I began to read about Buddhism and meditation, and took to it very quickly. I began to feel as if I were in a video game at all times, everything became surreal and intensly vivid, I had profound thoughts every ten minutes, I started to notice an actual feeling of high, and perception change, everything was more vivid, I felt almost as if I were seeing everything, every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass in a field. I stopped hiding from sadness, and stopped clinging to happiness, I only noticed them, I began to see beauty in absolutely everything and was completely at ease. But out of nowhere, my heart started to hurt, I started to miss people so much, I stopped meditating, started drinking caffeine, which led to smoking, which led to drinking alcohol, which led to smoking weed, none of it helped as I knew it wouldn't, I knew I was grasping, but I couldn't help myself, I felt like a demon hungering.

I'm wanting to get back into Buddhism, I chased the road I was on again, and it brought me nowhere, I'm as lonely now as I was while meditating and being mindful, but now I'm controlled by chemicals once again, I'm just afraid, which brings me to my question...

Without friends, being alone, not having anyone care if you are dead or alive, some wishing that you were dead. Can you ever really reach anything close to enlightenment? If loving kindness is an integral part of Buddhism, how can you be a Buddhist? How can you feel loving kindness when no one will even speak to you?

I'll try to be less obscure and ask the question.

The question:
Can you be a Buddhist, if you have no contact with others, does loving kindness mean the same thing when you're alone all the time?
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby lobster » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:18 am

Thanks for sharing. :good:
Wonderful story and heartfelt. :hug:

The answer to your question is that we are social animals.
Our behaviour is dependent on the company we keep
and eventually we are self sustaining to a greater degree.

I get the impression you want to change again
and find friendship that will sustain a spiritual
rather than a hedonistic experience . . . :woohoo:

Spiritual friendship in Buddhism is one of the refuges. :namaste:
I will devote my practice this morning to you. :meditate:

:hug:
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:45 am

Thank you very much Lobster, this actually means more to me than you will ever know. I feel a far greater responsibility to pursue mindfulness again. You've reminded me why I started meditating in the first place.
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby underthetree » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:34 am

You are not alone: you are deeply connected to everyone and everything. Don't let loving-kindness be contrived and conditioned by circumstance. Just let it flower.
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby seeker242 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:47 pm

CoreyNiles92 wrote:
Without friends, being alone, not having anyone care if you are dead or alive, some wishing that you were dead.


If you think no one cares, you are mistaken! We care a great deal, even though we have never met. You have friends here. Every dharma brother and sister, in all the Buddhist temples all across the whole world, are your friends. You have friends all over the place! :smile:


Can you ever really reach anything close to enlightenment? If loving kindness is an integral part of Buddhism, how can you be a Buddhist? How can you feel loving kindness when no one will even speak to you?


I highly doubt that the people at a local Buddhist temple would refuse to speak with you. You should seek them out. Buddhist people are generally pretty friendly people, regardless of who you are or what you have done or not done. Having spiritual friends is said to be very beneficial. But either way, they way you feel loving kindness is simply by deliberately cultivating it in your mind with "metta practice". And of course, being around other people who do this practice too, is quite helpful.

I'll try to be less obscure and ask the question.

The question:
Can you be a Buddhist, if you have no contact with others, does loving kindness mean the same thing when you're alone all the time?


The meaning of loving kindness does not change based on particular circumstances. The expression of it may change, but the meaning stays the same.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:03 pm

I apologize if my post garnered any sort of ill feelings, I did not mean it to be a self-pity party, It truly is not my intention, I know I present an excuse for every circumstance in which I might be happy. But my present moment reality is that I live in a town ranked #5 worst in Canada, I am not saying that is something to be upset over as #5 worst in Canada is far better than the highest ranking cities elsewhere in the world. But there are no spiritual temples here, I would frequent them if there were! I've often considered selling some of my posessions to visit the one nearby in Vancouver, to meet some people if only for a day, I have no issue making friends, it's keeping them that is the problem.

There is something profound about realizing a situation and failing to see an escape from it, It is almost like wanting to stay in a cycle of self-perpetuated sadness, and also wanting nothing more than to escape loneliness.

I really am not wanting to pity myself or recieve pity, I just want to know that even if this temporary part of my journey is spent alone, that I am still able to achieve something greater than what I am currently stuck within. And you have all certainly shown me that I can.
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:22 pm

Hi Corey,

It helps to keep the aspiration going. Each day, reflect on your intention to meet a teacher, and to practice Dharma among others, and reaffirm it to yourself. It cannot help but happen. In the meantime, you can also study Dharma and keep in contact with people on sites such as DW. Next thing, you'll be someplace like this...

http://www.marpa-gompa.org/

...and it'll feel like you've never been anywhere else in your life.
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: Loneliness and Buddhism

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:56 pm

I have had a similar experience. I was addicted to pills and heroin for years (never cough syrup though, is that DXM? nasty stuff) I had been introduced to my first Buddhist teachers in high school and my father was a close student of Kalu Rinpoche, so I guess you could say that I kind of grew up around the dharma. There were times when I was in the exact situation as you: I felt like the only way to live a healthy, Dharmic life was to close myself off from the world, refusing to have any social contact at all. But all your doing is jumping from one extreme to the other. And in a way your setting yourself up for failure. There will come a point where you become so frustrated that the bubble will just burst, and relapse will become inevitable. Shutting yourself off from the world is not an option, and don't think that because some Buddhist monks or masters are able to do it that you can too. Not yet anyway. I also tried to play a juggling game. I thought that I could still hang out with my friends, and maybe just do a little bit of drugs, just a little, and still maintain my practice. Nope! That definately won't work. Environment is stronger than will. The force of the drugs will overcome you everytime. Believe me, I have had more relapses than a centipede has legs. What you need to do (in my opinion) is make a determined vow not to use again. No matter what. You have such a better life waiting for you. Use whatever resources are necessary including the dharma. Even though you may not be able to do it alone, you must accept the fact that lonliness comes with sobriety. You must not hang out with your user friends, at any cost! So there will be some lonliness and even boredom and depression that you are goin to deal with. It does not mean that you need to do it alone, though. I would suggest maybe finding a good counselor, not a drug and alcohol counselor, though! Trust me. Find the nearest dharma center and go, even if is three hours away. No dharma center? Make one. Start a mediatiaton group. You need to create the causes and conditions that will support your new life in sobriety and in the Dharma. You need to be diligent and unrelenting. Make aspirational prayers. Don't think that sobriety and Dharma is a lifelong sentence to solitary confinement. But you need to put some work in, my friend.

All the best,
Troy
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