Dealing with loneliness/alienation

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Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby flowerbudh » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:59 am

As a 15 year old on this path, I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis. I want truth-based friendships, but my peers aren't aligned as much with this way of thinking, and thus are indifferent. By most, I am shunned for wanting to love and learn as much as I can. What am I to do to either combat my loneliness or attract like-hearted individuals into my life?
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:40 am

As you've probably seen from reading a few threads, Buddhists will disagree about every single tiny little detail. I just attended a great retreat weekend with over 300 people, and they were perhaps one of the most diverse groups imaginable. Some took everything extremely seriously, while others were more light-hearted, and in some ways that was a healthy group.

I think once you have found some stability at your core then you can hang with superficial people, or have really serious discussions with others, or just walk away and be by yourself and it really doesn't matter either way. So I would say its fine to focus on your own practice and find your own way and really don't pay too much attention to what other people are doing, just let them come and go as they please.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby lobster » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:48 am

:twothumbsup:
You may be a little more mature than your peers or may be an outsider. First you may reach out through the options available to you. There must be some social sites for Buddhist or spiritually orientated teenagers? Maybe for now you can read, meditate and prepare for your future path? Also you are reaching out here and elsewhere.
Everything will be fine. Most young people go through a sense of loneliness or other emotions. Be kind to yourself and a little more accepting of others life choices. :consoling:
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:58 am

I agree with lobster...( law of averages I guess ).

I would encourage you not to see yourself as a lonely alienated person. That's not what Buddhism is about.
You might want to read about Metta Bhavana, which is a way of opening your heart to others.
You can google it.
There is a book by Pema Chodren called something like ' Start Where You Are '..it about just that.
Starting to practice in exactly whatever situation you are in.
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:30 am

The important thing is to have the right aspiration. Then be patient. That is the hardest part, when you're young. :smile:
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby ClearblueSky » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:36 am

I can definitely relate to that feeling... I was also about 15 when I started getting into Buddhism, and it was a pretty tough transitional time for me. Given you probably have some different attitudes than a lot of other 15 year-olds, it makes perfect sense that some feelings of loneliness would come up. What it really came down to for me in those high school years was finding a good balance of not isolating, but also being true to oneself. Once you hit college age things get a lot easier, because your peer groups become a lot less locked in, and it will be easier to meet like-minded people.
I think one way to look at things is to try to tie in all the aspects of Dharma you appreciate to connection in life, as opposed to separation. For example, if you're at a party and everybody's drinking and connecting in a way that feels artificial to you, you can try to think about what connects you: They're trying to find happiness in the way they know how, as are you. We've all got the same big goal, and it can really connect us all. It's a great time to practice compassion, and if your friend circle begins to change or grow apart, it's a great time to practice unattachment too. Keep being yourself, those that are good friends will appreciate you for that, and it will help you make like minded friends in the long run. In the meantime, you've got the extra little resource of Dharmawheel, there's some really great people posting on here. And remember, not only is high school pretty insignificant in the big picture of Samsara, but you'll see it'll be pretty insignificant later in life when things start to fall in place for you. You'll be fine. :thumbsup:
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Qing Tian » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:21 am

Well that was certainly an interesting post... but it begs the question: what was the purpose behind posting it?

Actually I rather liked this bit...

On my behalf I apologize for not doing enough to stop it, not that I have such power, but I haven't even legitimately tried and failed, which is what good conscience demands.


...particularly the second part (from '... but I haven't...') of which I am sure a lot of us are guilty, and which is quite neatly expressed here.

From Gibran (who is enjoying a bit of a revival from my bookshelf this month!)

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers... and you are all receivers... assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.


Just sayin' really.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Qing Tian » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:56 am

Indeed.


@Flowerbudh, as a curious counterpoint I was flying back to my home country a couple of years ago, after a particularly tragic event, when I decided to stop in Jordan for a couple of weeks. Why? because I had heard that the emptiness of the desert has way of helping one to reflect. I realise this sounds all a little romantic but I thought I would give it a try anyway. The desert sure is an empty and lonely place. And vast. Really, really huge. It gave me a chance to let everything that had happened slide away into a boundless space. Rather therapeutic in the end!

I guess the point is that loneliness can be both a burden and a teacher depending on how you feel at a given moment. There will be times in your life when it seems there is no one to relate to. There will be times when you may be surrounded by those who cherish you for who you are. And there will be the times when you will see those who you love - and who love you - slipping away as their lives spiral out from yours. It is how life is and it is never easy, but you feel the sense that something is missing because you are alive right now! I would be more concerned if you felt nothing. Cold comfort perhaps.

Anyway, friendships grow on their own. Do not seek to hasten them. Nor to cling too tightly to them.

It's funny. None of the enduring friendships that I have been lucky enough to enjoy have sprung from any carefully planned meeting. All have been accidental, and all have surprised and delighted me because of that fact.

Sorry, this is not much help, but you are still young and have the world and your entire life before you. And tomorrow is, as they say, another day.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:17 am

:good:
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby muni » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:28 pm

flowerbudh wrote:As a 15 year old on this path, I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis. I want truth-based friendships, but my peers aren't aligned as much with this way of thinking, and thus are indifferent. By most, I am shunned for wanting to love and learn as much as I can. What am I to do to either combat my loneliness or attract like-hearted individuals into my life?


Oh, I think so, there are many, many like you. But most say nothing about. Most are hiding this in for example loudly talk, behind some particular cloths and some boxes of make up or remain in some safe corner by those they feel home. All beings want to be loved, also those who are reacting indifferent. Therefore to wish them in silence happiness, since they also feel once sad, alone and so on, is the way. If we focus on their lack of kindness, we ourselves aren't joyful and cannot find the peace in which loneliness isn't.

If we expect others are loving us or are like we desire we suffer. A teaching says when we really like to be selfish, we should do it good. And that is that wish may they all be happy, which is automatically bringing joy in ourselves. While the wish may I be happy, flows in loneliness, sorrow and so on.

For me, I should say true friendship becomes clear by connection with a spiritual friend.

All the best on your path. :smile:
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby KonchokZoepa » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:34 pm

i didnt read all the posts but the answer the OP.i can relate to you very well, when i started more seriously in the spiritual path i got alienated and separated from all my old friends and groups. first it was really hard, then i found people from internet but still it was really hard because they were living in other countries, but as i cultivated only spiritual people relationships, my life got way better and also my own progress faster and more devoted and dedicated. slowly you start to understand the suffering and delusions people suffer from and then it gets easier, you dont feel so lonely, you start to feel love and compassion and care for theyre wellbeing, and not some much concerned about your own problems, loneliness etc.. and as you progress, for me it happened that im not interested in wasting time with frivolous activities and people who are totally consumed in samsara and samsaric situations. its better to be alone and lonely that to immerse your self in samsara and its activity.

and being alone really helps you grow and reflect your own being, sometimes its good to be in solitude and learn about yourself. its all good.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Simon E. » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:10 pm

While agreeing in the main with that KonchokZoepa I think we should be careful not to encourage TOO much solitude when addressing 15 year olds..This is an important age in terms of social development which even has an effect on the maturing C.N.S.
A middle way might be possible and desirable. :smile: .
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Ayu » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:34 pm

flowerbudh wrote:As a 15 year old on this path, I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis. I want truth-based friendships, but my peers aren't aligned as much with this way of thinking, and thus are indifferent. By most, I am shunned for wanting to love and learn as much as I can. What am I to do to either combat my loneliness or attract like-hearted individuals into my life?

It is very astonishing: I had just the same problem, when I was 15 years old. (Now that's 36 years ago.)
I thought, should I keep to myself or should I mix with fools and superficial charakters? I was afraid superficialness was contaigious... :tongue:
Solitude was very aching for me, it was a very hard and formating time in my life and i had much time to think.
Since the end of that phase (at age of 15 3/4) I have never lived alone again.
It was a phase of thinking: "Who am I ? Where am i going to? Who will accompany me?"
I did not know, that many people only SEEM to be superficial, but there is a whole lot of human being in any of this "idiots".
If i were 15 years old again, i would try to do some things different now:
I would try not to bother too much about loneliness, I would try to base myself on my skills also. So the question would be rather "What are my qualities?", "How can I train and unfold my talents?"

Please, take good care of yourself, and always feel protected by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:38 pm

flowerbudh wrote:As a 15 year old on this path, I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis. I want truth-based friendships, but my peers aren't aligned as much with this way of thinking, and thus are indifferent. By most, I am shunned for wanting to love and learn as much as I can. What am I to do to either combat my loneliness or attract like-hearted individuals into my life?


The short answer is to keep at it. Your intentions are pure, as you describe them.

There are communities of people who also want truth-based friendships. These exist. You can access them. The trouble is that it may be difficult to make contact until you have a few more years, perhaps some wheels, and the ability to move about more freely.

In the interim, there are sites such as DharmaWheel where you can make some connections...
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby KonchokZoepa » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:43 pm

yes Simon.E i agree with you on that. not too much solitude for teenagers, withdrawing from society at that age could be very unhealthy thing to do. i did that when i was 19 and took a few years to start to get my act together and learn to be more of an outcast in society. now im enjoying it i dont have societys restrictions and bad or unhelpful people that much around and i can focus on the Dharma.

as to balance a bit my first comment i want to say buddhaflower that being with people also teaches you so much. if you cultivate wisdom and truthfulness you will see people much more clearly and truthfully instead of the filters of your own mind, you learn how to see them with wisdom and compassion and love instead of judgeful and opionated mind, that does not still remove the fact that its hard to be with people who are not like you or cant relate to your state of mind and good heart.

maybe you could find a Dharma center in your city/town if there is one. im sure you can make friends there with people.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby flowerbudh » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:19 am

Thank you all for the wonderful replies! Love and blessings. :namaste:
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:30 pm

flowerbudh wrote:As a 15 year old on this path, I experience profound loneliness on a daily basis. I want truth-based friendships, but my peers aren't aligned as much with this way of thinking, and thus are indifferent. By most, I am shunned for wanting to love and learn as much as I can. What am I to do to either combat my loneliness or attract like-hearted individuals into my life?



Just keep looking, at 15 I don't imagine you will find that many interested in spiritual pursuits though, IME the closer people get to death the more willing they are to mess around with big questions, but there are always exceptions...so just keep doing your thing and eventually you'll come across the right folks. As to truth based relationships, again, your age is exceptionally hard for that, but I had a few very meaningful relationships at that age, and I know it's possible.

I think what Futerko says is great though, the more you can accept being around different kinds of people without some grand sense of accepting or rejecting them the better.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby kvy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:09 pm

The willingness to embrace loneliness can itself become a basis for compassion and connection. At some level, we are all existentially alone, and that shared condition can bring tenderness and gentleness towards ourselves and others.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche talks extensively about this in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. There's a chapter entitled the Genuine Heart of Sadness, check it out...

If you can over time make peace with those parts of yourself that experience loneliness, the more you will feel a sense of belonging on this planet, independently of the people around you. At least, that has been my experience...

Warmth and Blessings on your Journey!
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:24 pm

I felt very lonely as a teenager, too. Even though I was not a Buddhist at that time. But I was interested in Philosophy and Psychology, while I perceived almost everybody else around me as hollow and superficial. Looking back I'm quite sure this had more to do with me coming from an extremely dysfunctional family - my parents were both alcoholics and on some occasions literally tried to kill each other. I was suffering from depressions, insomnia and probably also from some kind of PTSD. Me feeling lonely and different was rather an expression of my depression than of my different interests. But that aside I agree with ClearBlueSky that as soon as you go to college you will be much better of, because you will finally meet people with similar interests. I hope you'll soon find some friends in Buddhist practice groups. Oh yes, and before I forget, I already snuck into some University seminars while I was still going to school, I attended some University workshops on Freud's psychology when I was sixteen. Some older pupils from my school took me there. That was cool. Maybe there are some other people with similar interests in higher classes at your school, too? Or maybe you can sneak into some University lectures on Buddhism? Maybe there are study groups in your vicinity?

Meanwhile I also think you should try not to let your feeling of being different drag you down too much. Being with non-Buddhists can also be a relief from time to time. And it can be a refreshing exercise in being normal. I'm 46 now, and after 20 years in Buddhist practice groups I've really learned to appreciate a certain level of sanity and normality that folks in Buddhist practice groups and forums (!) often lack of. :tongue:
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Dealing with loneliness/alienation

Postby Roneen » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:21 pm

Her beauty sparkles like a nugget of pure gold. She has perfumed curls like the large black bee. Eyes like lotus petals, teeth like stars in the heavens. - Lalitisvara Sutra
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