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Strange realisation led me here

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Strange realisation led me here

Postby Lasse on Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:04 pm

Dear teacher,

In 2014 at the age of 30 I had a strange life changing experience following a realisation, which summed up, goes like this: Since I experience, and my physical body is a composition of matter and its interactions, I drew the conclusion that matter and its interactions intrinsically cause experience. As such I further realised that the act of experience exists everywhere and that existance is one "suchness". This caused me to no longer associate myself as something separate from the rest but instead view life as one suchness, and that we all are that one suchness. Immediately after a rush of liberation, relief and stillness was felt. Fear of death was gone. Fulfillment in mind was felt. Confidence in life was at an all time high. Many paradoxes about life I previously held were dissolved. It felt like I had answered the hardest riddle there was.

At that point, I realised that I previously had no clue of this sensation and since I hadn't heard of anything similar like this before, immediately I forgave myself and everyone else for simply not being able to view life in this way - or any other way than we are accustomed to. I felt a kind of loving pity for my past self and for other people who are discontent with their life situation. I saw myself in them, and them in myself. It was a sensation that there was no meaning in life unless you set out to create a meaning of life. It was a very creative process, but also a shock.

Shortly after, I became interested how other people would feel if they got the same conclusion so I talked about my experience and how one can make this realisation, only to be met with resistance and doubt. It became obvious that people don't like to accept new ideas unless they first want to learn. Quite soon I realised how lonely I became in this life view and while I felt very free, I also at the same time felt like a prisoner to the society and culture that I met and faced. I felt alienated and rejected and fell into a short depression, abandoned everything I owned because I felt items didn't matter, quit my job as it felt too mechanical, elitistic, competitive and void of caring social interactions. So I moved back with my parents mostly because my father is of old age, ill, and I wanted to let him spend more time with me. Psychiatrists labeled me having a psychosis and said that religions are mass-psychosis. This changed my world view. If this was a psychosis, then the word psychosis no longer have a negative meaning to me.

My family have a Christian upbringing and the closest way I could describe the sensation was that of being one with God. I never was interested in religion but with lack of vocabulary to describe this new and mysterious view of life, I had to borrow words that made most sense to me at the time. As time went by, I started to get interested in philosophy and eastern religions and found similarities to my view which reignited my flame. Even though I didn't know anyone in person who could relate to what I have been through, I noticed sayings and phrases that seemed to agree with the view I had and so did no longer feel like the lonely one. That said, I am a layman and don't know much but what I've read, I agree with. With the Christian vocabulary, I guess I could describe how I feel as "alone in heaven" or "alone in paradise". With other vocabulary, I guess I could describe how I feel as "enlightened". In my own vocabulary I guess I could describe how I feel as "you and me and the universe are the same being, let's enjoy". However I don't see it as a prideful status symbol, more as a means to describe the peace and easygoingness I feel on a general basis. It is difficult to put a label to this so please read them more as an attempt to describe something I don't have a word for and not as a claim to understanding of these concepts.

With time, I humbled and to some degree also renounced the model I had created, as I then saw it only as one means to reach that state. Generally speaking, I no longer have much of a goal in life. I realised that I had already fulfilled my childhood dreams and that I had lived my life abiding to the wish of a 8 year old self. I feel that chapter of my life is done. I don't really have a problem with not having a goal but given the society I live in, I still wish to get food and somewhere to sleep so some form of modest sustainability is required. I feel confused about what to occupy myself as. I feel that I'd like to be there for people who feel dissatisfied with their life situation and I feel that I want to get involved with some religious or spiritual community as it appear to be the closest match to what I've experienced. I feel I have a lot to learn about life that people go through. I want to understand them. I want to understand what more there is to learn about myself. In a way with my view of life and the world, I take the liking of life in its acts as a play and I feel it would be delightful to see people getting an "aha" moment, where perspectives finally click into place and where they can make their own meaning in life. Slow down and appreciate what is - many problems we carry seem to be worries and thoughts not rooted in the present moment but expectations and demands of the future. One idea that popped up once in a while was to become a monk but I admit I know little about that role. As such I wonder if that would be a naive idea.

My questions then goes like this:
  • From your experience and standpoint, do you believe I would find teachings of Zen helpful or along the lines of what I have experienced?
  • Do you know of any place I can go to discuss and share these kinds of experiences, so I can find likeminded friends?
  • Do you have any other advice that I might not appear to seek, but that you find could be of help to me?
I am seeking some kind of direction to feel more comfortable and at home with being who I am. I realise that I can accept what is around me, "hide" within the crowds and keep things for myself but I feel it would be more liberating to dwell among people who are welcoming and wish to share their stories. People who can pause and enjoy what is. Who want problems?

:ghug:

Sincerely, thanks for your time,
Lasse
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Re: Strange realisation led me here

Postby jundo on Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:05 pm

Hi Lasse,

First, you should speak to a teacher in person if you can. Where are you located?

Second, it is hard to say, but the flavor of Zen I practice warns against overvaluing or getting "hooked" on the need for such experiences and peak times. The insights may be valuable, but you seem also to be reporting that it is taking you away from ordinary life, and that you are having some difficulties working, relating to others and the like. The kind of Zen I Practice tends to avoid such as excessive. It should not take you out of life, but make you very much at home within it. (However, please be aware that other types of Buddhism and other Eastern religions might be more accepting of a removal from life as you describe. Personally, I think one has to be careful, because it can be something unhealthy for many).

I would also get a second opinion from the psyciatrists, just to be sure that the diagnosis was wrong. Many mental illnesses can manifest as what seems to be a spiritual experience. Best to make sure.

I wish I could be more helpful. Let us know where you are, and I will try to see if there is any teacher.

Gassho, J
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: Strange realisation led me here

Postby Lasse on Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:32 pm

Thank you for your reply Jundo.

jundo wrote:First, you should speak to a teacher in person if you can. Where are you located?


I'd be interested in speaking with a teacher in person.
I live in Europe, Sweden, Östergötland County in a small town called Finspång. The nearest city is Norrköping.

jundo wrote:Second, it is hard to say, but the flavor of Zen I practice warns against overvaluing or getting "hooked" on the need for such experiences and peak times.


I can see that getting hooked or searching for those experiences sets a goal that have little use other than having such experiences. I haven't since felt anything like it nor have I looked for it within myself. To me it was a model to allow oneself to get a different, secondary, view of life. One that appear as authentic as ones original view but with less burden and suffering. What I seek is some kind of communion. The purpose isn't to win anyone over to justify this model I stumbled across by fluke. The model isn't important. A model is a model, it isn't reality.

I simply don't worry that much these days. I don't feel that I have to be right all the time or to achieve anything particular. I haven't felt stress for a long time and haven't felt the need to hurry anywhere either. I just am. It's safe to say that I have become lazy. So perhaps I am overvaluing/hooked on such experiences as lazyness and carelessness, non-worriness. Not peak "aha" realisations.

jundo wrote:you seem also to be reporting that it is taking you away from ordinary life


Yes, that is true. It is safe to say that it feels like an escape from ordinary life, if ordinary life means pursuing wealth, status, rightness, a thirst to produce more to consume more which was/is my ordinary life. I'd like to say those things are not bad, but I've grown tired of them. What I mean is that people can pursue these goals if they wish, personally they are less interesting. I found myself always reaching out for more, defending my position for whatever reason really, to be important? I noticed that I didn't need or miss a lot of items that I previously hoarded and treasured highly. Those previous "important" aspirations appeared to burn myself out, hurt or belittle other people when I corrected them with my best knowledge and put my idea of joy and wealth in expensive things. Yet I valued and defended this point of view. My knowledge of my area of expertise, programming, became a topic of attack and defense. Who was right and who was wrong? The field was always to strive for perfection. Who made those rules and who accepted them? I was always lonely and I never used time to really listen to other people on other subjects. I was very quick with putting words in their mouths or trying to "improve" them by taking them through hard and intense intellectual challanges and arguments to prove them wrong, or for them to prove me wrong. I lived a life of logic, rules and restrictions on how to behave. I found it tiring and questioned why I partake in such activities. Moving away from them, I find myself not knowing what to do and I felt that everyone else around me was still in a race to "achieve" (a lack of a more suitable word), so I felt alone.

My desires are few. I'd like to eat, sleep and spend time with easy going people. I'd like to share joy and peace. To be of any use to others so other people don't get stressed over seeing me going through life doing nothing, I figured I could be there for people who feel distressed as I once were. I wish to be a friend.

jundo wrote:It should not take you out of life, but make you very much at home within it.


This sounds good.

I would rather manage better where I already am than resorting to some "exclusive club" of people who live in harmony and peace.
I would rather resort to some "exclusive club" of people who live in harmony and peace than not being able to manage where I already am.
I like to keep my peace, stillness and confidence in life while not letting challenges by people around me lead me to feel I have to escape anywhere to retain them.
I don't want people to feel that they are the reason I "withdraw". Perhaps I shouldn't cling on to these feelings that hard.
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Re: Strange realisation led me here

Postby jundo on Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:18 pm

Lasse wrote:Thank you for your reply Jundo.

jundo wrote:First, you should speak to a teacher in person if you can. Where are you located?


I'd be interested in speaking with a teacher in person.
I live in Europe, Sweden, Östergötland County in a small town called Finspång. The nearest city is Norrköping.



I am not sure of the situation in Sweden. Please contact my Dharma Brother. He is also Christian Priest, and boring like me, but he will know that situation in Sweden.

http://www.anzenkai.com/

I know that some teachers might interpret this very differently from me, so I don't know. You may try to write Denko, who is a frequent teacher here at ZFI ... he is almost in your part of the world ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havredal_Zendo

I am a stay in this life and world kinda fellow. There are others who find their calling withdrawing from this society, and taking up an alms bowl. Both are good paths, and it is just that I am the former kind of teacher and practitioner, not the latter.

My only other concern is whether or not this is a real "calling", or some psychological issue of withdrawl (for example, I am now doing some reading on a problem here in Japan of young adults who withdraw from society and lock themselves in their bedroom for years because they are incapable and afraid of coming out. They are called ”hikikomori" if you google it ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori

I am not saying you are that either. I am saying that I am not qualified to judge your situation, so you should talk to a teacher in person, plus make doubly sure that you confirm with mental health professionals that this is only "spiritual experience" and not psychological issue of some kind.

Sorry that I can't be more helpful.

Gassho, Jundo
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen, interaction with other practitioners and teachers & all activities of a Soto Sangha, fully online without charge (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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Re: Strange realisation led me here

Postby Lasse on Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:14 pm

Thank you for your answers Jundo.
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Re: Strange realisation led me here

Postby Guo Gu on Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:11 am

dear lasse,
thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum.
i'll answer your questions in line:

Lasse wrote:My questions then goes like this:
  • From your experience and standpoint, do you believe I would find teachings of Zen helpful or along the lines of what I have experienced?


zen can be helpful, but trying to find a teaching that fit along with what you have experienced is not. put aside your experience, like dropping an old luggage that you've been carrying around for years, and just be open to what zen is? instead of trying to define, understand, retrieve what had happened, just put it down. then you're free! otherwise, whatever you cannot let go becomes your obstacle.

Lasse wrote:
  • Do you know of any place I can go to discuss and share these kinds of experiences, so I can find likeminded friends?


  • try here: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/country.php?country_id=74

    Lasse wrote:
  • Do you have any other advice that I might not appear to seek, but that you find could be of help to me?


  • just continue to be open to learn, like the source of where this very question comes from. this openness will lead you out of the disconnect you feel and bring you joy being with others.

    Lasse wrote:I am seeking some kind of direction to feel more comfortable and at home with being who I am. I realise that I can accept what is around me, "hide" within the crowds and keep things for myself but I feel it would be more liberating to dwell among people who are welcoming and wish to share their stories. People who can pause and enjoy what is. Who want problems?


    there has never been problems... just stop reifying, solidifying experiences into "things."
    life without direction is meaningless. one needs meaning to thrive. why not make helping others the direction of your life? you can do this as a janiter, teacher, businessman, or store clerk. the positions may differ, but the direction is the same.

    be free,
    guo gu
    Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
    http://www.tallahasseechan.org/
    Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
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    Re: Strange realisation led me here

    Postby Judy Roitman on Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:59 am

    Dear Lasse,

    I hope you find a teacher and a sangha (community) to practice with. Everyone so far has given you good advice. I will only add that any person's awakening is not about themselves. One saying is: see your true nature, help this world. These things — see your true nature; help this world — are not separate. That is what compassion means. I hope you are able to function clearly in any situation and not be caught by theories about how things are or are not.

    Best,

    Judy

    P.S. The Zen places listed at http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/country.php?country_id=74 are: Dialoguepartner Sweden, Göteborg Zen Center, Göteborg Zen Dojo, Lund Zen Center, Lunds Zendojo Magle, Northern Lights Zen Center. Even if none of them is very close, you might be able to visit and talk to a teacher, learn how to practice, practice on your own, and join on retreats. Good luck!
    Judy Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, Kwan Um School of Zen
    www.kansaszencenter.org
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