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Is Meditation Narcissistic?

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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby So-on Mann on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:30 am

Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote: During breakfast one morning there were maybe ten people sitting around the table. There was a jug of milk and several boxes of cereal, and few other things. It turned out there wasn't any extra milk in the fridge, and only enough in the jug for everyone to have maybe 3/4's of a bowl of cereal ...with toast and jams. Aunt Marie insisted that she must go without milk in her bowl, so that every one else can have more. She was glowing with humility and pain. Then she sat there and chewed her way through a big dry bowl of bone dry bran flakes.. slowly, dryly, with watery eyes,...making a long drawn-out show of the discomfort and effort. It was the strangest bit of theater, but she got something out of it.

In my understanding the sanity of zazen, that is worth aspiring to, is living in a simple wakeful way, being grounded in/as the present, .. and acting according to situations as they arise, not from a fixed agenda or some notion of selflessness .

_/\_


If Aunt Marie had a real Zen practice, and had perhaps served as tenzo for a retreat, she would have known to add about a bowl's worth of water to the whole jug, then everyone could have had some!

I think Zen practice starts out narcissistic (me and my suffering!) But as it settles and mellows, it allows us to be of better service to our fellow human beings, without the trappings of crossbearing. Sometimes doing good for others is done by asking and inspiring other people to pitch in for the good of all.
Facing a precious mirror, form and reflection behold each other. You are not it, but in truth it is you.
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby ed blanco on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:02 pm

No.
I am but not zazen.
:dance:
"Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions."
Seng Ts'an
3rd Ancestor
'If we empty ourselves out, let go, and cease to hold on to our views, the truth will come to us..'
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby partofit22 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:14 pm

So-on Mann wrote:
Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote: During breakfast one morning there were maybe ten people sitting around the table. There was a jug of milk and several boxes of cereal, and few other things. It turned out there wasn't any extra milk in the fridge, and only enough in the jug for everyone to have maybe 3/4's of a bowl of cereal ...with toast and jams. Aunt Marie insisted that she must go without milk in her bowl, so that every one else can have more. She was glowing with humility and pain. Then she sat there and chewed her way through a big dry bowl of bone dry bran flakes.. slowly, dryly, with watery eyes,...making a long drawn-out show of the discomfort and effort. It was the strangest bit of theater, but she got something out of it.

In my understanding the sanity of zazen, that is worth aspiring to, is living in a simple wakeful way, being grounded in/as the present, .. and acting according to situations as they arise, not from a fixed agenda or some notion of selflessness .

_/\_


If Aunt Marie had a real Zen practice, and had perhaps served as tenzo for a retreat, she would have known to add about a bowl's worth of water to the whole jug, then everyone could have had some!

I think Zen practice starts out narcissistic (me and my suffering!) But as it settles and mellows, it allows us to be of better service to our fellow human beings, without the trappings of crossbearing. Sometimes doing good for others is done by asking and inspiring other people to pitch in for the good of all.


somehow your post quoted me instead of Kojip who initially posted his experience with Aunt Marie- :)

while i agree with your solution, just add water, nobody rose to the occasion in Kojip's story- perhaps there's a reason for that? i know that some people frequently do things like Aunt Marie- and with enough frequency that someone might be inclined to intervene- like make an effort to "go get more milk", so to speak- but would that be wise? speaking from personal experience, i very recently rose to the occasion to "go get more milk" and things got physical- out of control- and though i don't suppose that would always happen, it can- so it can be a tough call- when to act upon something and when not to- sometimes it's best, or saner, to let someone "eat dry cereal" and suffer if that's their practice, yes/no?

how would one help?
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby Kojip on Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:55 pm

partofit22 wrote:
somehow your post quoted me instead of Kojip who initially posted his experience with Aunt Marie- :)

while i agree with your solution, just add water, nobody rose to the occasion in Kojip's story- perhaps there's a reason for that?


I remember, as kid, in the middle of a really appalling family breakdown (that ended with my father's destitution and death), curling up in a ball and sinking into anguish. It went down and down until it bottomed out. Once it bottomed out I realized it did not fill all space and time... and outside that state there was just laying there, wiggling my toes, looking around, ambient sounds outside, the cat looking at me.. just clear and simple, with an open chest . Then I thought "oh no there aught to be anguish.. the world is ending".. and I juiced it, wallowed, until I got myself in a state again. Being clear and level headed was like a wasteland.. a bore. That happened a few times. I don't mean to sound cold, but maybe sometimes we love anguish, to be the star of a heavy movie. As long as that does the trick there is no point suggesting otherwise.. I don't have ears for it.

_/\_
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby ed blanco on Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:31 pm

Wow, Kojip, what a narrative. It has the flavor of life come at you with a vengance. Maybe the wanting to go back to that state was a defense mechanism. I know the wondering of why the universe is not falling sharing my misery.
I wonder if artits need these bottoming out episodes earlier in their lives to reach the far edge of creatitvity.
THE HOURS is a miserable movie, yet I keep watching it mesmerized by the suffering and despair of the three woment in it. One being Virginia Wolf: "always the hours between us, always the days, always the love." Yet not even love saved her. And she did love.
Thanks for sharing.
:O:
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby creature on Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:09 pm

Kojip wrote:I don't mean to sound cold, but maybe sometimes we love anguish, to be the star of a heavy movie. As long as that does the trick there is no point suggesting otherwise.. I don't have ears for it.

_/\_


It really does sound cold, but looking back on the way my meditation has affected my life, I have developed the same perception. There's no other way to put it. I found that under the surface, I was way more ready to invite suffering and anguish than I would have thought. At times, it has been due to some misconception about myself and reality (good ol' delusion), at other times i have simply been fascinated by it, for lack of a better word. It provides a narrative which is filled with justification, and like ed blanco puts it, a good measure of self-defense.

I have definitely had narcissistic reasons for practicing meditation, since sooner or later you become weary of that type of thing. But as I have developed some perspective on myself, there's a really good reason I don't look at it as narcissistic: I don't see much of a difference between my own suffering and that of others. Whenever I have been creating a hell for myself, it has affected the people in my life. The opposite is true as well. So I find that my well-being depends how I treat both near and distant people; we all define our worlds that way. But stuff like this is absolutely dependent on my effort to understand myself in the first place, and for that I have to practice meditation. Otherwise, words like interconnectedness and well-being become empty platitudes, quickly forgotten in superficial matters of "me" and "mine". I don't want to live a life like that. But perhaps that is narcissistic. :lol2:
"What is inherent in you is presently active and presently functioning, and need not be sought after, need not be put in order, need not be practiced or proven.
All that is required is to trust it once and for all."
- Foyan, Instant Zen, pg. 23
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby partofit22 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:13 am

Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote:
somehow your post quoted me instead of Kojip who initially posted his experience with Aunt Marie- :)

while i agree with your solution, just add water, nobody rose to the occasion in Kojip's story- perhaps there's a reason for that?


I remember, as kid, in the middle of a really appalling family breakdown (that ended with my father's destitution and death), curling up in a ball and sinking into anguish. It went down and down until it bottomed out. Once it bottomed out I realized it did not fill all space and time... and outside that state there was just laying there, wiggling my toes, looking around, ambient sounds outside, the cat looking at me.. just clear and simple, with an open chest . Then I thought "oh no there aught to be anguish.. the world is ending".. and I juiced it, wallowed, until I got myself in a state again. Being clear and level headed was like a wasteland.. a bore. That happened a few times. I don't mean to sound cold, but maybe sometimes we love anguish, to be the star of a heavy movie. As long as that does the trick there is no point suggesting otherwise.. I don't have ears for it.

_/\_


that's just it, one never knows with any certainty if anothers self torment is doing the trick- while i see how it can be sometimes, sometimes it seems to do nothing useful- the person could be planning their suicide or to hurt another person- so i think that sometimes when one sees one in such a state it's only natural to offer some sort of assistance- or simply ask if anything can be done- perhaps asking first is best-

i appreciate your honestly, stating you don't have ears for it- sometimes i don't have the ears for it either- and i understand where you're coming from with the realizing after something happens- thanks for that-
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby Kojip on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:19 am

partofit22 wrote:
Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote:
somehow your post quoted me instead of Kojip who initially posted his experience with Aunt Marie- :)

while i agree with your solution, just add water, nobody rose to the occasion in Kojip's story- perhaps there's a reason for that?


I remember, as kid, in the middle of a really appalling family breakdown (that ended with my father's destitution and death), curling up in a ball and sinking into anguish. It went down and down until it bottomed out. Once it bottomed out I realized it did not fill all space and time... and outside that state there was just laying there, wiggling my toes, looking around, ambient sounds outside, the cat looking at me.. just clear and simple, with an open chest . Then I thought "oh no there aught to be anguish.. the world is ending".. and I juiced it, wallowed, until I got myself in a state again. Being clear and level headed was like a wasteland.. a bore. That happened a few times. I don't mean to sound cold, but maybe sometimes we love anguish, to be the star of a heavy movie. As long as that does the trick there is no point suggesting otherwise.. I don't have ears for it.

_/\_


that's just it, one never knows with any certainty if anothers self torment is doing the trick- while i see how it can be sometimes, sometimes it seems to do nothing useful- the person could be planning their suicide or to hurt another person- so i think that sometimes when one sees one in such a state it's only natural to offer some sort of assistance- or simply ask if anything can be done- perhaps asking first is best-

i appreciate your honestly, stating you don't have ears for it- sometimes i don't have the ears for it either- and i understand where you're coming from with the realizing after something happens- thanks for that-



Hi Partofit. Sorry..sloppy writing. By not having ears for it, I meant that in the middle of that anguish, when it seems to fill everything, I don't have ears for hearing an alternative.


Anyway .... blabbed enough. :)

_/\_
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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby Beatzen on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:19 pm

So-on Mann wrote:
Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote: During breakfast one morning there were maybe ten people sitting around the table. There was a jug of milk and several boxes of cereal, and few other things. It turned out there wasn't any extra milk in the fridge, and only enough in the jug for everyone to have maybe 3/4's of a bowl of cereal ...with toast and jams. Aunt Marie insisted that she must go without milk in her bowl, so that every one else can have more. She was glowing with humility and pain. Then she sat there and chewed her way through a big dry bowl of bone dry bran flakes.. slowly, dryly, with watery eyes,...making a long drawn-out show of the discomfort and effort. It was the strangest bit of theater, but she got something out of it.

In my understanding the sanity of zazen, that is worth aspiring to, is living in a simple wakeful way, being grounded in/as the present, .. and acting according to situations as they arise, not from a fixed agenda or some notion of selflessness .

_/\_


If Aunt Marie had a real Zen practice, and had perhaps served as tenzo for a retreat, she would have known to add about a bowl's worth of water to the whole jug, then everyone could have had some!

I think Zen practice starts out narcissistic (me and my suffering!) But as it settles and mellows, it allows us to be of better service to our fellow human beings, without the trappings of crossbearing. Sometimes doing good for others is done by asking and inspiring other people to pitch in for the good of all.


I think that Zen practice can be a front in some contexts... but even someone being "me and my suffering!" is a good thing compared to someone riding the highs and thinking they're a zen master because they've dropped acid and had a mystical experience of some kind - just for example. Sometimes I get carried away when i editorialize.

Lord Buddha said that, even if someone should simply raise their arm (for the dharma), it is beneficial. I'm saying that it's okay to be self-absorbed, because then you'll realize how everyone else thinks it's all about themselves too.
It's all fun and games 'till someone loses an I.

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Re: Is Meditation Narcissistic?

Postby partofit22 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:31 pm

Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote:
Kojip wrote:
partofit22 wrote:
somehow your post quoted me instead of Kojip who initially posted his experience with Aunt Marie- :)

while i agree with your solution, just add water, nobody rose to the occasion in Kojip's story- perhaps there's a reason for that?


I remember, as kid, in the middle of a really appalling family breakdown (that ended with my father's destitution and death), curling up in a ball and sinking into anguish. It went down and down until it bottomed out. Once it bottomed out I realized it did not fill all space and time... and outside that state there was just laying there, wiggling my toes, looking around, ambient sounds outside, the cat looking at me.. just clear and simple, with an open chest . Then I thought "oh no there aught to be anguish.. the world is ending".. and I juiced it, wallowed, until I got myself in a state again. Being clear and level headed was like a wasteland.. a bore. That happened a few times. I don't mean to sound cold, but maybe sometimes we love anguish, to be the star of a heavy movie. As long as that does the trick there is no point suggesting otherwise.. I don't have ears for it.

_/\_


that's just it, one never knows with any certainty if anothers self torment is doing the trick- while i see how it can be sometimes, sometimes it seems to do nothing useful- the person could be planning their suicide or to hurt another person- so i think that sometimes when one sees one in such a state it's only natural to offer some sort of assistance- or simply ask if anything can be done- perhaps asking first is best-

i appreciate your honestly, stating you don't have ears for it- sometimes i don't have the ears for it either- and i understand where you're coming from with the realizing after something happens- thanks for that-



Hi Partofit. Sorry..sloppy writing. By not having ears for it, I meant that in the middle of that anguish, when it seems to fill everything, I don't have ears for hearing an alternative.


Anyway .... blabbed enough. :)

_/\_


oh- lol ... yeah- i can see that- no alternative for "woe is me"- temporarily- i think you said it's less as times goes by though- and to that i'd agree- by noticing the woe- i think- maybe ..
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