Happy New Year!

HYN!

May all your virtuous dreams come true 

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Make Friends with Loneliness (via Pema Chödrön)

How can you make friends with loneliness? 

~ and why would you?!
My friend who suggested these articles described loneliness as “an open wound. It hurts, and feels like it won’t ever heal.” Mother Theresa says “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Not isolated cases – Thich Nhat Hanh describes how “Loneliness is one of the afflictions of modern life… it is universal in our society.

Doesn’t sound like something you’d want to hang around with. As Pema Chödrön says, “Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in.”
But, she says, “scrambling for security has never brought us anything but momentary joy.” It just provides us with changing suffering – the brief release we get from uncomfortable feelings, when we change the situation to a more comfortable one ~ before the discomfort still slides back in. (nb.’changing suffering’ is Geshe Kelsang’s phrase, not Pema’s)

¸   . •   ☽   *   ¨ 

Rest with the uncomfortable feelings

Pema suggests just resting with the uncomfortable feelings instead of trying to avoid them; beginning a “non-threatening relationship with loneliness”. We do this by sitting with the painful feelings, and changing our habitual responses to them. This transforms the pain into a much more manageable ‘cool loneliness’, which doesn’t hurt nearly so much.


After all, as Kadampa Buddhism reminds us, we’re born alone, die alone, and spend most of our life that way. So it makes sense to befriend loneliness. And this is what Vajrayana is brilliant at, transforming negative energies into something much better.

If we’re brave enough to sit alone with our own mind, we can achieve real peace. This doesn’t have to take years in solitary retreat, either. Just being aware which thoughts make you feel lonely, watching the feelings as they arise – not being swamped by them – but recognising them for what they are, and working with them, can bring immediate relief. 

This process really does take the sting out of any lonely feelings we might have, and is a necessary, heartbreaking, often joyful part of the spiritual path.

nb. The “not being swamped by negative minds” is an important point. If we feel more miserable than when we started, that’s defeating the point of meditation, which is to pacify our mind.
We have to be alert for negative minds, and take swift action to defeat them. This can be anything from a simple breathing meditation, which calms the  mind; or any other object of meditation we find helpful.

Sometimes though, it’s best just to get up and make a cup of tea. (Alcohol isn’t best BTW, it’s a depressant. Sure it dulls the sharp edges at the time, but it makes us feel worse afterwards. And it makes our situation harder to cope with.)
Go out for a walk instead.
Really, be kind to yourself.
You’re important.
Return to your meditation with a lighter mind, it’ll go better.

¸   . •   ☽   *   ¨ If you’re one of those folk who got here because you googled “lonely”, take heart, you are not alone. Please comment below if you want, and we can share some thoughts.

Ref: Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart (Shambhala Buddhist lineage)

tiny smilie fowie
See also:
to ‘lonely’ from Israel (and everywhere else) letter to my lonely visitors
Alone isn’t so Lonely
 – pt 1 of this lonely vs. alone series ~ why alone-time is cool.

I do like what Tich Nhat Hanh says as well. “To live alone is to live in mindfulness, free from worries about the past and future. We enjoy life as we live it right now. His is a more Zen approach. His book, ‘A Better Way to Live Alone’ looks at this.

 

Turn demons into cupcakes (animation)

Dharma Dreameater

This is proper lojong!
How to transform adverse conditions into the Spiritual Path, or demons into cupcakes. 

-_-
Dharma Dreameater ~ a night in the life of a Witchy Baku 😀

Alone isn’t so Lonely

Being by yourself isn’t a bad thing

– even at Christmas.
Despite popular belief,
alone-ness isn’t akin to loneliness.
Rather than the sadness and desolation of unwished for isolation; being alone allows us the freedom and space to really be ourselves.

There’s just something about this time of year that brings the ‘alone’ thing into sharp focus. It seems unnatural, somehow, to be quiet at a time of festivity. The well-meant concern of others, and their sympathy for our perceived loss, makes it feel like we should really be out there, having fun.

As one of my mate’s mum said this morning, “Christmas is such a weird time. People think that everybody’s partying, and they’re not! It’s certainly nothing to get unhappy about if you’re not. It’s such a palava about nothing! Our Tricia’s gone to Gibralta just to escape it all!”
Can’t say i fancy that, but away from the fuss n’bother, there’s another, quite different side of life, that finds happiness from another source.
-_-

to live alone is to live in mindfulness

As Tich Nhat Hanh says, “to live alone is to live in mindfulness, free from worries about the past and future. We enjoy life as we live it right now.

Whether we’re alone at Christmas (or just generally) by choice or chance; it’s our choice whether that’s a good or bad thing. Gotta admit, I’m comfortable with it.
If we can feel content in our own company, our body and mind can find their own balance. We find our thinking becomes clearer, and things start to make more sense. In this spacious environment, our minds become peaceful and free.

Yes, being faced with our own mind can get a little unnerving at times. That’s why so many people hate silence, and being alone. We’re all haunted by negative minds; but the trick is to apply loving kindness, both to ourself and others. The demons often dissolve into a peaceful, loving mind. If they persist (and bad minds do tend to be persistent little buggers) don’t give into them! That’s the joy of silence – a chance to sort our own mind out. * more on that later * Just be patient, and relax into it best you can.

And spending time alone doesn’t mean we’re anti-social, or are rejecting folk.
It just gives us space to unwind, relax, and settle back into the love for others we can find in our hearts. The space we have created allows us to cultivate that love. “When they listen to the song of their heart they find more love and compassion enter their dealings with others. This allows listening and real communication.” (top7business.com) This means that when we’re with others again, we are truly happy to be in their company; and we have just so much love to give 🙂 This good energy comes right back at us, as well.
: )

Shantideva’s forest retreat

See also:

Make Friends with Loneliness pt 2 of this lonely vs. alone series
How to be Alone ace video on you tube
Tich Nhat Hanh the space of alone
(I’m never that sure about the monks letting a suicidal farmer walk away – but the story makes a good point. Tich says that many of people’s toxic excesses – things like food, intoxicants and sex – are abused just to escape from the loneliness they feel. But it so doesn’t have to be like that.
As Jill Bolte (neuro-scientist) says “in this moment, we are perfect, we are whole, and we are beautiful.
-_-
Buddhist meditation:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
nb. if you know someone who’s on their own this Christmas, even if they’re not online, please share this with them. No-one should feel bad being on their own at Christmas.

new FB page for Amitabha Bristol

Buddha Amitabha

Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Bristol has got a brand new and properly official Facebook page  now ( <- link underlined)
Why not pop over and check it out 🙂

Something you believe in? Just keep on keeping on, isn’t it.


I wasn’t expecting much response when I started this.
I just created the site becoz I had to do something after the Facebook page got killed off.

For my own mental health ~ better to channel that outrage and hurt into something productive, than get self-destructive or hurt someone else.

And because I couldn’t just dump the people who regularly checked in for Buddhist articles and our local centre updates, like they didn’t matter.
Because they do. People do matter!

I know they d0.
I
let things get to me. I hurt.
I hate being rejected, dumped, and generally disregarded.
And in that respect I am no different to anybody else, human or animal.
We all share a need to feel alright about ourselves and not suffer too much.
Don’t we?

I had a burning desire to share Buddha’s teachings, and a very strong feeling that people could use them. I reckoned it would pick up after awhile.
You know, the way things sometimes do.

Something you believe in? Just keep on keeping on, isn’t it.

Two months in and it does seem to be working ~ folk can get something out of it, and my sanity remains relatively intact 🙂
I’m one happy camper. 
I really am honoured to be able to help folks by sharing Buddhas timeless wisdom.

If you’ve tried to look at things from another perspective and it doesn’t seem to have made much difference, don’t worry. Like Geshe Kelsang says “just try, don’t worry.”
These things can take time.

Sometimes though, things aren’t meant to work out, and you just have to accept it. That helps clear the air karmically, and for all concerned.
Shrug, let go and move on.

Shit happens, you know? It’s just the way of things. And please comment here. Some very wise beings follow these posts, so we’ll see if we can help.

Thanks y’all for your support ~ totally invaluable.

Dharma Dog ~ MKMC photo

Mu at the Avalokiteshvara empowerment, MKMC

=^••^=

Sengai-Mu has accompanied me to numerous empowerments and an ordination.

Not for him, tho Chönden did say “that’s more than most humans get to do.” 
He tends to crash out in my wheelchair when it all gets too much 😉

(* Mu, not Gen Chönden ;~)

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