Fears regarding practicing alone

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Justmeagain
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Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by Justmeagain »

Hi,

Do you ever have concerns about experiences that you are having or indeed may have if you practice alone? I mean, how would a deep non-conceptual experience of Emptiness be managed if you lived and practiced alone? I can't imagine going into work seeing myself as having long black hair and a voluptuous red body and being accepted as a competent therapist :alien:

...I am of course being facetious, but you get my drift?

Thanks in advance!
philji
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by philji »

What difference does it make alone or with others?
Justmeagain
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by Justmeagain »

philji wrote:What difference does it make alone or with others?
I guess if you have a community of fellow practitioners there's a buffer?
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Ayu
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by Ayu »

I know similar concerns from my side sometimes. I have no fear of practicing alone though, but sometimes I think: 'What if my mind gets liberated NOW right away? Will I faint? How can I keep standing on my feet, if they are so illusionary?'

I assume, those thoughts are only ridiculous. The mind is about to reach a new realm and those thoughts are nothing else than fear of the unknown.

In my experience, being alone is essential for calm and deep practice. Nothing dangerous will happen. :smile:
You're not afraid to fall asleep alone as well and you're able to deal with any dreams that might occure.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by Tsongkhapafan »

Yes, but for example, our Tantric practice is secret and we don't reveal whatever kind of generation stage experience we have gained.

I think it's impossible to practice alone without deep experience from having listened to a qualified Teacher, having received many teachings, having done group retreat and fully internalised the instructions and having gained some experience. Even in solitary retreat it may sometimes be necessary to seek advice or guidance from senior practitioners. When we are very familiar with our practices and meditations, then it is possible to practice alone but until then we need very much to rely upon our emanation Teachers and Sangha.

Fear is dispelled by confidence gained from experience of practice.
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Karinos
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by Karinos »

that kind of fear comes from wrong understanding that enlightenment is some kind of super power phenomena, our mind become something else, we experience uplifted state of reality.
that is wrong - according do scriptures - enlightenment is full integration, seeing the Truth, experiencing full wisdom etc.
so there is nothing to worry about - this is not SciFi or Fantasy - stop watching Marvell :)
DGA
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Re: Fears regarding practicing alone

Post by DGA »

Justmeagain wrote:Hi,

Do you ever have concerns about experiences that you are having or indeed may have if you practice alone? I mean, how would a deep non-conceptual experience of Emptiness be managed if you lived and practiced alone? I can't imagine going into work seeing myself as having long black hair and a voluptuous red body and being accepted as a competent therapist :alien:
I think you raise two separate and important questions here. First is the problem of how to work with the sometimes scary things that the mind can concoct when in solo retreat; second is the issue of how to reintroduce yourself to the ordinary world after a retreat, which can be intense.

Emptiness isn't scary. However, monkey mind can be. When you settle into retreat, your mind can certainly play tricks on you that can disrupt your retreat and, in some cases, can be potentially dangerous. To give a banal example, I was once in retreat and became convinced that a certain sound outside was someone trying to interrupt me. So there was a strong temptation to get up and check, again and again. I'm sure others can tell more interesting stories about that...

Now, to the second question. The world seems different after retreat, that's for certain. I remember trying to negotiate NY's Penn Station after an intensive and becoming convinced it was all a dream for a while, then that I had died and this was the bardo for a while, and so on. Integrating is part of the work.

One of the least productive things is to build up anxiety and expectation about these things. It's better to just go into the retreat, do your thing in a businesslike way (just do it and do your best), and let whatever happens happen. Self-care as appropriate.
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