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Buddhism in the News


Monday, January 02, 2006

Advice and Encouragement Needed

The last few days I haven't felt very "Buddhist" but then again what is a "Buddhist" anyway?

I've been battling with my perfection/self-mortification complex that was deep rooted in growing up in an extreme Christian environment.

The ironic thing is that lately I've been getting into a deeper practice by meditating everyday so who knows.

A large part of this too is my chemical imbalance which sometimes holds me hostage for weeks at a time. From time to time I can lesson the blow but it still makes a major impact on me.

Even despite my medications I have still been feeling depressed and not very "spiritual."

Perhaps I'm just thinking too much.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is I need some advice and some encouragement if you have any.


(PHOTO: Temple on the mountain of Emei Shan in China. CREDIT: Nigel and Julie Snow).

-Peace to all beings-

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Amadeus said...

Your a good Buddhist, my friend. We all go through periods where we feel less connected to our spiritual selves than we would like.

Take myself, I was feeling incredibly spiritual the other day. Calm, compassionate, loving. I felt connected with those around me. Well, just today, I felt like socking a bozo driver that cut me off because I was going "too slow". Needless to say I felt more physical than spiritual. And, with the Holiday wind down and the festivities over, I feel almost feel half-assed alienated.

I am sure you have challenges with the medication and such, but that in no way dimishes who you are--a spiritual being. It just means you may be on a different plane at the moment--or--you are just over thinking the whole thing.

Peace and joy!

-And Happy Roman New Year


"James" said...

Amadeus: Good point on remembering the times (which are more often then not) when we ARE in the moment and feeling our Buddha-nature most easily.

Also, good point on the holidays. I am burned out with all the festivities and stimulation. I am sensitive to stimulation anyway from having schizoaffective disorder so all the lights, sounds and party's probably helped sink me for this brief moment.

I have to remember during my meditations to remind myself that I am a Buddha by nature. As well that depression and discouragement are just apart of the path/journey -- not the journey itself.

They will not derail me permanently.

Beth said...

james: i'm feeling lately like we are all just a soup of chemicals. whatever we are feeling due to our chemical make-up at any given time has no effect on our buddha nature. it is right there with you, always. i do hope this tough time passes. what i can offer you in terms of encouragement is my presence. thich nhat hanh says that this is the greatest thing you can do for someone, just tell them that you are there. of course i'm a stranger out in cyberspace, but i'm still offering you my cyber-presence. be well.

Gareth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gareth said...

A lot of people find Christmas and the New Year difficult. It's a time of immense pressure...especially the New Year in which we often take time to examine our own lives and hold it up against some ideal, or expectation, and often find it lacking.

I don't know if this is what you mean by your perfection complex, but I found myself doing this recently, and hit an emotional slump (which is why I took some time off-line).

You recently left a comment on one of my posts about impermanence - perhaps it's worth remembering that everything passes; this is the nature of Samsara.

And every time you meditate, and every time you make an effort to practice you are planting will seeds that will ripen in time.

I'm feeling much better now, partly through simply focusing on actual doing things, instead of thinking about them, and partly through having some external conditions removed and partly through returning again to the dharma.

As Amadeus said – you are a good Buddhist....whatever that might mean ;)

with loving kindness


isaiah said...

Om Namah Shiva-

Resting in that which makes least sense is sometimes all one need do.

Rest your thoughts, rest your heart, rest your being...and be in love with yourself. You are beautiful.


"James" said...

Kim: Thank-you for your presence. I can feel your love and support. You have a beautiful way with words and I appreciate your advice.

Gareth: Yeah this time of year is hard indeed. Lots of stimulation, crowds, pressure and time with family (which is good and bad).

Thank-you for reminding me of impermanence. I need to meditate on this more then I have lately. Already today I feel things have lifted a bit. Such a rolling, dipping, path this journey turns out to be. I think that another thing to keep in mind is too seek and find refuge in the three jewels.

You are so very true about meditation sowing the seeds for good. I think another way to get out of this funk is to focus on others...focus more on compassion.

Isaiah: Yeah, I'm realizing that this hard time is a great lesson for me. I may not fully learn it this time around, however, I am gaining ground.

Thank-you as well for reminding me to just rest and love myself. I am beautiful, you're right. I am apart of all things "good" just as much as I am apart of all things "bad."

Matt said...

A wise women soul once told me that to be in the state of constant connection to others would drive one insane. I responded that to not be in connection is madness. Then she fogave me and smiled a knowing grin.

One can become attached to the physical feeling and labels and self assess oneself to gauge one's inner state.

Relax, don't assess whether you are or aren't feeling Buddhist correctly. That is one way to get there.

marieroshi said...

One thing thing I find attractive is the absence of label. You don't need to be a good buddhist. You don't even need to be buddhist. You're perfect just being James. And don't stress about not feeling very spiritual from one day to the next. Change is constant. One day you're happy, the next day you're not so happy. So what? Every moment is different than the one before it and the one after it. Just take it all in stride. You're James; you'll be fine. ;-)

Amadeus said...

All beings are by nature Buddha,
as ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
apart from beings, no Buddha.

-Hakuin Zenji, "Song of Zazen"

theycallmemac said...

Just remember, the flower blooms in the wild whether or not it is kept in the minds of others. Breath in deeply and breath out deeply with the knowledge that your mind knows peace, all of our minds do.


"James" said...

Matt: Thanks for the analogy and the reminder on labels.

Marie Roshi: Yes, you're right. Labels are just like so many bubbles that form and then pop right before our eyes. Every moment is different then the one before that THAT is to be're so very right.

Amadeus: Thank-you for sharing that beautiful, "Song of Zazen."

Mac: Breathing in, breathing out...thank you for bringing me back to the present, wonderful and only moment.

I bow to all of you..

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