#67 Buddhism and LonelinessBy: Fred | March 13, 2012 | 0 Comments
It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. Buddha
Buddhism is more a way a life than a religion. Buddhism teaches how to use mind to nullify both temptation and negativity. Buddhism acknowledges the feelings of loneliness. It is Buddhism’s approach to dealing with loneliness that is strange to persons unschooled in Buddhist practices.
Loneliness from a Buddhist’s perspective
The middle wayis the way. Stay in the middle. When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is take action. We do not want to sit and experience what we feel. Yet the middle way encourages just that. It encourages us to call up the courage that exists in everyone.
Buddhist meditation provides a way to train in the middle way; to stay on point. We are encouraged not to judge whatarises in our mind. Instead, we are encouraged to not comprehend whatarises in our mind. What we usually call, good or bad, we simply accept as thinking, without the drama that accompanies, right and wrong. We are instructed to let thoughts come and go as if touching a dream with a feather. This straightforward training prepares us to stop struggling and develop a different, unbiased state of being.
The experience of loneliness can seem particularly charged with a desire to take action. Unless we can relax with these feelings, it is difficult remain in the middle when we experience them. We want success or defeat, praise or blame. If someone abandons us, we do not want the company of that raw discomfort. Instead, we adopt the innocent victim pose. We might ignore the irritation by acting out with indignation, assailing the person’s character. We automatically attempt to cover over the pain, one way or another, and identify with a victim.
Usually we consider loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not a feeling we wish to experience. It istense and heavy and burning with the desire to escape, and find something to help us or someone to keep us company. When we rest in the middle, we have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxed and cool loneliness that completely turns usual fearful patterns upside down.
Buddhism provides six guides for responses to loneliness. They are:
- less desire
- avoiding unnecessary activity
- complete discipline
- not wandering in the world of desire
- not seeking protection from one’s meandering thoughts
All are passive.
Buddhism acknowledges the pain that can result from loneliness. However, the Buddhist approaches to responding to that experience isthe opposite of all other methods. Buddhism says, do nothing. Do not respond. Stay in the center. Do not let yourself become a victim of destructive feelings. When centered, you have full strength. You realize you cannot be distracted or hurt by abstractions.
Buddhism says, “If you awake in the morning, and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, seize that as a golden opportunity.”Meaning, rather than persecuting yourself or feeling that something terribly wrong is happening, in that moment of sadness and longing, relax, and feel the infinite space of the human heart. You experience a power and peace that will protect and guide you.