edearl wrote:Until about age 15, I was reared fundamentalist Christian, specifically Primitive Baptist, which is a tiny sect among the sea of Christianity. Yet, I was taught that everyone else in the world, except Primitive Baptists, would go to hell, among other self serving prophesies. This idea was, in my opinion, ignorant. Why would a God make humanity in his image and condemn all of those who were ignorant of the Primitive Baptist church to hell, merely because in their lifetime they had no chance to even hear the name Primitive Baptist?
My realization that self serving prophesies are ignorant was an epiphany that slowly changed my life. There were two primary effects. First, it was like the straw that broke the camel's back, and it me angry at my mother because she wanted me to accept on faith that which I decided was ignorant. Although, the root of my anger was due to my being profoundly unhappy as a child, which I blamed on my mother, regardless of the facts...I was young, dad wasn't around to share the blame, and at the time I did not recognize how much genetics and family history played a part in my being unhappy. Second, my epiphany made me an outcast from my family who were all Primitive Baptists and bigoted against anyone who was not Primitive Baptist.
Thus, from the age of 15, I could not trust my family to be a support group, because they lived a fantasy life...the Christian myth; whereas, I had decided to view life as realistically as possible. I began contemplating my life, but not as Buddhists meditate, because I didn't know to put my mind at peace before contemplation. Thus, my contemplation was inefficient and my progress slow. I funded my own college education and became an Engineer with a profound love of science and all rational knowledge. I married my soul mate in 1984 and reared a family. I salvaged my life through rational thought. Now at the age of 66, I have found Buddhism, which has been teaching for 2500 years, the things I contemplated and more. I now wish I had learned 50 years ago about the Three Marks of Existence, Four Noble Truths, Five Skandhas, etc.
My father, his father, and his two sons, including me, were/are addicts. My grandfather, father and brother are/were alcoholics, and I am addicted to food. All four of us suffer/suffered from a mild to moderate, chronic depression. I have read that Buddhism can alleviate suffering, and believe people have alleviated their suffering, but I am having difficulty with meditation.
I realize that reaching for a comfort food is slowly killing me. My meditation technique is straight forward. When I feel the need for a comfort food, meditate instead; thereby, postponing the act of eating. Unfortunately, I suffer from chronic neuropathy pain, which makes meditation extremely difficult to impossible. My doctors cannot prescribe a pain medication to help alleviate the pain. I resort to eating comfort food to get my mind off the pain, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.
I am new to Buddhism and meditation. Are there techniques that can help me meditate while suffering from pain? Anyone have any helpful ideas?
Thank you for sharing your story, edearl!
One of the most important parts of Buddhist practice, really even before what we often call "meditation" per se, is contemplation on the law of cause and effect. I believe you are already doing this with regard to food and alcohol - seeing the results of indulgence.
If you are suffering from or have suffered from depression, meditation on loving kindness is also highly recommended - starting from yourself! In cosmic terms, although it may seem late in life to find the Dharma, it is never too late at all.
I rejoice in your search for happiness, and hope that your path will be freed from obstructions!