6-11-17 Loneliness

The Soil at the Root of Loneliness

Tonight, on the cushion, I felt my heart ribs, and my mind-heart like a thin steel blade growing smaller. In meditation practice I’ve learned to try not to pour too much story into a thought or sensation. And I’ve also learned not to fly away mentally or obstinately return to my breath. Tonight I felt the loneliness of my entire life, not grandly dramatic, but not ho hum ordinary either. I have always been “so lonely.” Perhaps this was a glimpse (thin and metallic) of an alone-ness without reference point – loneliness of loneliness. And, perhaps this just means that I was meditating. Dissolving the solid identifications which frame ego’s wall, generates a very natural human terror. What will happen? How will I act, if not with one of the infamous three poisons: passion, aggression, or ignorance? William Brown

12 and 12 – Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness.

Many Buddhist teacher’s claim that beyond that ultimate loneliness is joy. But I don’t get it. When I read or hear that teaching, it just doesn’t seem to fit. Perhaps it doesn’t “fit” because it is beyond concept. Perhaps my mind has met something which it cannot grasp! However, what choice is there? Exhausted with the continual machine of the three poisons, the only workable action seems to be sitting meditation. Which leads to that experience of dropping through the bottom of loneliness and continuing, without throwing oneself away, without knowing “what to do,” on to what might be the path to joy and luminosity. That brilliant, energetic inverse of emptiness which promises nothing, and everything.

Chogyam Trungpa said in Shambhala the Sacred Path of the Warrior: Normally, we limit the meaning of perceptions. Food reminds us of eating, dirt reminds us to clean the house, snow reminds us that we have to clean off the car to get to work; a face reminds us of our love or hate. In other words, we fit what we see into a comfortable or familiar scheme. We shut any vastness or possibilities of deeper perception out of our hearts by fixating on our own interpretation of phenomena. But it is possible to go beyond personal interpretation, to let the vastness into our hearts through the medium of perception. We always have a choice: we can limit our perception so that we close off vastness or we can allow vastness to touch us.

When was the last time you actually heard a bird sing? Actually stopped and listened to it? What about the sound of the wind blowing through the trees? When was the last time you looked up at the stars or noticed how the sunlight reflects through the clouds? Megan Bauer:

Everybody is brought up in such a way that everybody has become idealistic. Nobody is realistic. The ideal is the common disease of humanity. Everybody is brought up in such a way that everybody goes on thinking that they have to be something, somebody, somewhere in the future. An image is given and you have to be like it. That gives you a tension because you are not it, you are something else, yet you have to be it. So one goes on condemning the real for the unreal — the unreal is unreal. And the ideal goes on pulling you towards the future, out of the present. The ideal becomes a constant nightmare because it goes on condemning. Whatsoever you do is imperfect because you have an ideal of perfection. Whatsoever you attain is still not fulfilling because you have a mad expectation which can never be satisfied. Osho

Big Book pg 8:
No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity.

As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from needing resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. To the degree that we’ve been avoiding uncertainty, we’re naturally going to have withdrawal symptoms—withdrawal from always thinking that there’s a problem and that someone, somewhere, needs to fix it. Pema Chodron
When we permit uncertainty, fear, the opinion of others, and avoidance to guide us we get lost. Come from your heart, act with integrity, courage and compassion, and you will find the way.

Why don’t you choose your own conception of God. — It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself, (my small self). Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.
I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems… Big Book pg 12 – 13:
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Any aspect of a power greater than myself, includes myself, it is not an outside job, it is an inside job. It is my responsibility to constantly be opening and being courageous enough to act from my wisdom, strength and compassion.)
For Dipa Ma, mindfulness wasn’t something she did, it was who she was – all the time. There is nothing wrong with lapses of mindfulness, with the mind wandering. “It happens to everyone. It is not a permanent problem. “There is nothing ultimately to cling to in this world, “But we can make good use of everything in it. Life is not to be rejected. It is here. And as long as it is here and we are here, we can make the best use of it.” “Live simply. A very simple life is good for everything. Too much luxury is a hindrance to practice.” “If you bless those around you, this will inspire you to be attentive in every moment.”

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
“The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.”
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Heart Of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com