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Being Alone

idea

Question Everything
"For the aspect of Zen in which I am personally interested is nothing that can be organized, taught, transmitted, certified, or wrapped up in any kind of system. It can’t even be followed, for everyone has to find it for himself.
As Plotinus said, it is “a flight of the alone to the Alone,” and as an old Zen poem says:If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?
Fundamentally, this is in a sense the position of the whole Zen Buddhist tradition. Strictly speaking, there are no Zen masters because Zen has nothing to teach."

Alan Watts ~ This is it (pg 80)

For other seekers, in your nomadic detached wandering, have you found beauty in your solo hike? Do you ever feel what you seek is no longer to follow another, but instead to awaken your own inner light?
 

amorphous_constellation

Well-Known Member
For other seekers, in your nomadic detached wandering, have you found beauty in your solo hike? Do you ever feel what you seek is no longer to follow another, but instead to awaken your own inner light?

It's an interesting question, but my question is on how american western society want to use those ideas? In high school, around the turn of the century, we read Siddhartha. In retrospect, I find that to be a highly unusual choice of book to promote to midwestern public school students, in a materialist culture, where the midwestern towns were dotted with churches. In other words, it was a book telling you that you could both escape materialism, and obviate the need for inner suffering, by manipulating it spiritually.

In my household, my christian parents were fixated variously on either the denial of suffering, or the need to experience it for what it was, as some kind of virtue. But in a book like Siddhartha, it might obviously question that whole foundation. And subsequently, almost every self-help article for the past 20 years has mentioned meditation, which seems to be the technique that was used to minimize suffering, to confront and minimize it, rather than to variously deny or extol it

So have a found beauty in my 'solo hike,' since some of these 'non-western' ideas have sort of influenced me? I'd say that perhaps only variously. We live in a society that obviously puts a price on everything, and there is obviously a fixation with functionality and mammon. Every bit of land here, and every action you take, seems to by weighed on the economic scale. If I don't function, what is left for me? You can't just enter the inner light whole hog, and meditate on the street the rest of your life, not easily anyway?

So then, what can we do with these ideas? Does the idea of just sampling them, or dividing them for only certain applications, just cheapen them? Are they supposed to relieve pressure that we accrue, and give us a better way to rest, in between making money? I'm confused by it.
 

Clara Tea

Well-Known Member
"For the aspect of Zen in which I am personally interested is nothing that can be organized, taught, transmitted, certified, or wrapped up in any kind of system. It can’t even be followed, for everyone has to find it for himself.
As Plotinus said, it is “a flight of the alone to the Alone,” and as an old Zen poem says:If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?
Fundamentally, this is in a sense the position of the whole Zen Buddhist tradition. Strictly speaking, there are no Zen masters because Zen has nothing to teach."

Alan Watts ~ This is it (pg 80)

For other seekers, in your nomadic detached wandering, have you found beauty in your solo hike? Do you ever feel what you seek is no longer to follow another, but instead to awaken your own inner light?

Reverend Hagee said that we have to pray to Jesus to win the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan)--that is, kill more effectively. Though highly educated in religion, he doesn't understand God's commandment not to kill, or turn the other cheek, or not to attack Iraq (as it says in Revelation), or not to bear false witness against Niger to make war against them, too.

So, instead of following the blind, follow your own path. You, and only you, are responsible for ending up in heaven or hell. You must learn the bible and you must understand what it says. Someone headed to hell is not able to guide you.

The solo hike through wilderness is the same as our solo hike through life...a hike to the afterlife.
 

Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
No.

I've been friendless and had no romantic (or sexual) partners for the last 5 years. This was voluntary on my part. I've just had too many bad experiences and I feel like it's not worth the heartache to try to connect with other people anymore. Forums like these are the closest I get to social interaction and they still make me feel a little uncomfortable. It was also a way for me to try to be "in the world but not of it."

At the same time, I realized just how true it is that humans are social creatures. There was a time when I considered myself so heavily introverted that I just didn't need other people and that God was enough to keep me company.

But our relationships with other people are what give our lives meaning. Even morality, gender, culture and art are all social constructs. In total isolation, life begins to feel completely meaningless. No amount of meditation or spiritual platitudes on my part seems to really change that. The best they can offer is to help me accept my own loneliness and find peace in the moment, even if the pain remains there.

Apart from other people for so long, it becomes hard to feel like I even exist. I understand how it can be a very spiritual experience to essentially become an outside observer, losing your sense of self and identity, but actually living it is... horrific. I made a mistake somewhere.
 

Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
It's an interesting question, but my question is on how american western society want to use those ideas? In high school, around the turn of the century, we read Siddhartha. In retrospect, I find that to be a highly unusual choice of book to promote to midwestern public school students, in a materialist culture, where the midwestern towns were dotted with churches. In other words, it was a book telling you that you could both escape materialism, and obviate the need for inner suffering, by manipulating it spiritually.

In my household, my christian parents were fixated variously on either the denial of suffering, or the need to experience it for what it was, as some kind of virtue. But in a book like Siddhartha, it might obviously question that whole foundation. And subsequently, almost every self-help article for the past 20 years has mentioned meditation, which seems to be the technique that was used to minimize suffering, to confront and minimize it, rather than to variously deny or extol it

So have a found beauty in my 'solo hike,' since some of these 'non-western' ideas have sort of influenced me? I'd say that perhaps only variously. We live in a society that obviously puts a price on everything, and there is obviously a fixation with functionality and mammon. Every bit of land here, and every action you take, seems to by weighed on the economic scale. If I don't function, what is left for me? You can't just enter the inner light whole hog, and meditate on the street the rest of your life, not easily anyway?

So then, what can we do with these ideas? Does the idea of just sampling them, or dividing them for only certain applications, just cheapen them? Are they supposed to relieve pressure that we accrue, and give us a better way to rest, in between making money? I'm confused by it.

From what I understand, in a lot of Eastern schools meditation was considered an advanced practice. One had to already master a variety of moral teachings before moving on to meditation and, when you did, this meant moving to and living in a monastery as a member of that community.

The importance of the monastic community in such lofty spiritual pursuits is extremely important to many ascetic practices, but Sangha is literally one of the three jewels of Buddhism specifically.

I don't think this "meditation for everyone" approach really makes too much sense to me.
 

Martin

Spam, wonderful spam (bloody vikings!)
The great thing about solo hiking is that you can give all your attention to what is around you. There is time to look closely.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
Zen
everyone has to find it for himself.
Yes, and only then "believe" turns into "knowing"

Alan Watts ~ This is it (pg 80)
I read 1 book, and I liked it

For other seekers, in your nomadic detached wandering, have you found beauty in your solo hike?
Yes, I love my "spiritual solo hike". I visited a Mega Baptist Church for ca. 5 years, and I was alone in the church, and it was good
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
Do you ever feel what you seek is no longer to follow another, but instead to awaken your own inner light?
It is good to follow my Master, until all outer attachments have been dropped
Final step is to "let go of the outside Master", not the first step
Realize "outside Master = Inside Master"
 

idea

Question Everything
No.

I've been friendless and had no romantic (or sexual) partners for the last 5 years. This was voluntary on my part. I've just had too many bad experiences and I feel like it's not worth the heartache to try to connect with other people anymore. Forums like these are the closest I get to social interaction and they still make me feel a little uncomfortable. It was also a way for me to try to be "in the world but not of it."

At the same time, I realized just how true it is that humans are social creatures. There was a time when I considered myself so heavily introverted that I just didn't need other people and that God was enough to keep me company.

But our relationships with other people are what give our lives meaning. Even morality, gender, culture and art are all social constructs. In total isolation, life begins to feel completely meaningless. No amount of meditation or spiritual platitudes on my part seems to really change that. The best they can offer is to help me accept my own loneliness and find peace in the moment, even if the pain remains there.

Apart from other people for so long, it becomes hard to feel like I even exist. I understand how it can be a very spiritual experience to essentially become an outside observer, losing your sense of self and identity, but actually living it is... horrific. I made a mistake somewhere.


Yes, we need friendship and associations, but I think healthy relashionships are those that respect personal beliefs. Not dependant, not controlling, not needing to be the same, respectful of everyone's independence.

Through friendship, marriage, kids, work, I can't be sure, but I don't think I was ever 100% in agreement with anyone else on everything. Part of myself was always independent and alone through every relashionship.
 

idea

Question Everything
It is good to follow my Master, until all outer attachments have been dropped
Final step is to "let go of the outside Master", not the first step
Realize "outside Master = Inside Master"

A good research paper uses more than one reference. I think a good student listens to more than one teacher, more than one master. Combining ideas from multiple sources is a personal individual endeavor. We have to think for ourselves when evaluating each resource.

Even if you only follow one master - it was your choice who to follow, your opinion of what makes a good master, your own mind guiding in what to do.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
I think a good student listens to more than one teacher, more than one master
My Master advises us:
First it's okay to visit multiple Gurus before choosing your Guru
But when you made your decision then better stick to your Guru

The first step on the Spiritual Path is 1 pointed concentration
Without it you can never enter the next stage, contemplation, let alone meditation

If you search for water, it is best to dig deep and digging multiple wells is not advised

But if multiple Gurus works for you, then go for it. However don't tell me "a good student listens to more than one teacher", I will decide what is good for me. I don't tell you what is good for you either.
 

Sand Dancer

Crazy Cat Lady
"For the aspect of Zen in which I am personally interested is nothing that can be organized, taught, transmitted, certified, or wrapped up in any kind of system. It can’t even be followed, for everyone has to find it for himself.
As Plotinus said, it is “a flight of the alone to the Alone,” and as an old Zen poem says:If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?
Fundamentally, this is in a sense the position of the whole Zen Buddhist tradition. Strictly speaking, there are no Zen masters because Zen has nothing to teach."

Alan Watts ~ This is it (pg 80)

For other seekers, in your nomadic detached wandering, have you found beauty in your solo hike? Do you ever feel what you seek is no longer to follow another, but instead to awaken your own inner light?

I thought part of Zen was finding a teacher. Maybe I am wrong.
 

idea

Question Everything
If you search for water, it is best to dig deep and digging multiple wells is not advised

Good point. There are some who say the secrets of the universe are contained within each grain of sand, that if you study anything long enough - dig anywhere - eventually you will find the source. Moderation - talk to anyone in the oil industry, some wells produce, others do not.

The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman - some interesting studies on those who stay focused on only one thing, and those become distracted. Just another point of view, interesting experiments. Wiseman gathered a group who self identified as lucky, and another that self identified as unlucky, and gave them a task - count pictures in a newspaper. The unlucky group concentrated, stayed on task, dutifully followed instructions, and counted the pictures. The "lucky" group had a different tendency - instead of concentrating and staying on task, they became distracted, started reading articles. Hidden in the articles was "congratulations! You just won$250!" . Also, the answer of how many pictures was also written in articles. The lesson from the study, it does not always pay to be focused. A broader perspective often reveals more opportunities.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
Good point. There are some who say the secrets of the universe are contained within each grain of sand, that if you study anything long enough - dig anywhere - eventually you will find the source. Moderation - talk to anyone in the oil industry, some wells produce, others do not.

The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman - some interesting studies on those who stay focused on only one thing, and those become distracted. Just another point of view, interesting experiments. Wiseman gathered a group who self identified as lucky, and another that self identified as unlucky, and gave them a task - count pictures in a newspaper. The unlucky group concentrated, stayed on task, dutifully followed instructions, and counted the pictures. The "lucky" group had a different tendency - instead of concentrating and staying on task, they became distracted, started reading articles. Hidden in the articles was "congratulations! You just won$250!" . Also, the answer of how many pictures was also written in articles. The lesson from the study, it does not always pay to be focused. A broader perspective often reveals more opportunities.
I found the best Spiritual Teacher, that's not you

Why you keep telling me I am wrong
Ask yourself that question
I don't do that to you
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
The great thing about solo hiking is that you can give all your attention to what is around you. There is time to look closely.
Yeah, I liked to do solo trekking in my younger days in Himalayas. It was interesting, rewarding, being with oneself, with no other person around for hours. Luckily, and strangely, I never encountered leopards, bears or even snakes. Encountered leaches and bed-bugs, and hated them.
One had to already master a variety of moral teachings before moving on to meditation and, when you did, this meant moving to and living in a monastery as a member of that community.
I did not have any guru or join any monastery. My information was from scriptures and it was enough. Actually, I had to purge my mind of all previous information and start anew to arrive at my answers. I went solo even in my meditation.
In total isolation, life begins to feel completely meaningless.
In isolation, perhaps apart from a job, you should do what interests you the most - study, paint, travel, exercise, body building, gardening, growing bonsai plants, feeding animals. There must be something that you are interested in.
The solo hike through wilderness is the same as our solo hike through life...a hike to the afterlife.
For me, that is a funny belief without any evidence.
Are they supposed to relieve pressure that we accrue, and give us a better way to rest, in between making money? I'm confused by it.
What pressure are you talking about? Sure, one needs a job to sustain oneself. In India, we do not have the kind of social security benefits that are available in other countries. In some places, they may be enough to sustain a person. But other than that, what pressures?
.. but instead to awaken your own inner light?
Inner light! What is this 'inner light'? A feeling of satisfaction? Like after a nice meal?
 
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amorphous_constellation

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I liked to do solo trekking in my younger days in Himalayas. It was interesting, rewarding, being with oneself, with no other person around for hours. Luckily, and strangely, I never encountered leopards, bears or even snakes. Encountered leaches and bed-bugs, and hated them.

Now that's interesting.. wow

What pressure are you talking about? Sure, one needs a job to sustain oneself. In India, we do not have the kind of social security benefits that are available in other countries. In some places, they may be enough to sustain a person. But other than that, what pressures?

I see.. In america, social security isn't enough to live on alone once you're old, and one problem I have at 35, is that my portfolio isn't too diversified. So, that's not good. But yes, it's better than nothing, I suppose

But that's maybe not even what I mean by 'pressure.' I had an old friend that went to India in the sixties, and he talked about a value reversal out there: that in the materialism vs. spirituality debate, spirituality came on out top in India, whereas here, materialism is king. So I guess with that, I have to ask you if you feel that this is true?

There is a real question here of, do people see a mountain as a mountain, or do they just see a money making area, and thus the mountain should be modified if need be

And with that worship of materialism, that we have here, there sometimes isn't much respect given to 'spirituality.' I mean I have family members, and people I grew up with, and coworkers, that respect the personality of donald trump, for example. If you are struggling in life, there is always someone there to rant at you about strengthening your 'individuality,' before they dismiss you.

My dad for example, tends to extol the value he brings to society, via his big-wig city planning job in construction management. Often he talks about battling egos at work, and money stuff, and he wanted me to major in architecture, despite getting a D- in high school autocad class. Well, architecture can sometimes be nice to look at, but it's really one of the last things I'm interested in (in terms of material mechanics)

So I tried it in college, and had to drop out. I am just not that interested in materialism, or the construction of material objects, or engineering level math. And I was struggling to grasp it.

And because I couldn't grasp or retain interest in that very material enterprise, both he and society likely view me as something a failure
 
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Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
I had an old friend that went to India in the sixties, and he talked about a value reversal out there: that in the materialism vs. spirituality debate, spirituality came on out top in India, whereas here, materialism is king. So I guess with that, I have to ask you if you feel that this is true?

I mean I have family members, and people I grew up with, and coworkers, that respect the personality of Donald Trump, for example. If you are struggling in life, there is always someone there to rant at you about strengthening your 'individuality,' before they dismiss you.

.. he wanted me to major in architecture, despite getting a D- in high school autocad class. Well, architecture can sometimes be nice to look at, but it's really one of the last things I'm interested it

.. both he and society likely view me as something a failure
I am not a vacuous spiritualist, not into mysticism, I put duties 'dharma' before anything else. Politically I support the current government in India (Narendra Modi) becfause he is honest. The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty which ruled India for 55 out of 75 years was anti-Hindu and, in the later stages, financially corrupt.
I am interested in architecture. We have various architectural styles in India which are beautiful. But my work-life was in different fields.
Well, that is not correct. You may not have been good at one thing (Yeah, I too could not digest Mathematics), but there certainly must have been things in which you had your interest and must have been good at.
 
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