The path has become more of a dirt track.

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Awaiting_the_fifth, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    Peace to all,

    When I used to post here some time ago, I was so certain in my beliefs. I was convinced that I had now reached my ultimate spiritual path with NKT Buddhism and I would countinue on that path till my dying day at least.

    But now, the path is less clear.

    I still believe in the fundamentals of Mahayana buddhism, but the details elude me. If anyone asks, I tell them that I am a buddhist, but in my heart I think "Is that actually true?"

    Now I have no clear spiritual guide and no clear direction. Part of me thinks that this is a good opportunity to grow, another part of me is worried that I am making no progress and a small part of me thinks that I should go back to the NKT and just ignore all the things that made alarm bells ring in my head.

    So now, I am finding it extremely difficult to post replies to any messages. I type responses and then delete them because I worry that wiser people than I will tell me that I am wrong (even though I know how absurd this is).

    Although I believe as strongly as ever, I have lost all confidence in my beliefs. If that makes any sense.

    Just felt a need to share that.

    Peace
    AT5
     
  2. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    "Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe."
    Henry David Thoreau

    I wish I had something more profound to offer you AT5, but I guess sometimes the path is dark and you just need to find your way. I don't know about Buddhism, but in Christian thought the theologian Paul Tillich offers that the God Above the God of theism is the God you find after you've gone into the abyss and faced meaninglessness. Not sure if you'll find that uplifting, but to me it says that having periods of doubt are part of our spiritual growth, when we are getting ready to go on to a higher level of understanding. Perhaps you are ready to leave some of your less mature ideas about religion behind.

    Whatever this phase is, I hope that you get through it and find the strength to keep searching. And as for posting your ideas here, I also hope you find the courage to do that as well, because I always enjoy your contributions. I, for one, promise to go easy on you! :D

    cheers,
    luna
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Great big virtual hugs my brother!

    Most of us have skidded round the corner of your dirt track when we were headed down the straightaway with such faith we just knew no turn could make us lose control.

    Absolutely awesome that you've decided to say you have some confusion. I seem to remember some discussions regarding the bells a while ago...

    I agree this is an opportunity...an opportunity to evaluate where you are, what you feel, how your spirituality relates to your life...

    Someday I will tell you all of the tale of turmoil my physical life is in...but I am waiting for it all to play out. Many if they were in the same straights would determine that the world was out to get them, that karma, or some evil god, or whatever had them by the tail. I know a few things in my current situation...I had a role in it, a huge role, I cannot blame others for what I created. I also know there is a lesson in it...and that it will all work out in the end. Day by day while issue after issue arise, blessing after blessing befall me...the yin and yan is amazing...and the knowledge that this to shall pass is rewarding.

    Of those things that I currently consider bonuses/blessings some relate to things that if they come into fruition will be huge....and if they don't will be wonderous experiences...knowing there is no failure...just more work, more contemplation, more meditation...life is good.

    Glad to have you back, post away...
     
  4. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    A T F,

    Good to see you here again.

    And if I said, it's all been part ot a certain time, and it is in a process of shift, maybe, just maybe it reconciles, the very fact of the openness I read from you, and from Wil and others. Remember, you are still with your truth, and it is finding it's way to the surface. Trust.

    love - c -
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Hold your head up, especially during your spiritual fasting.
    You'll be OK. :)
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Fasting of The Heart
     
  7. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    AT5, hi


    i would ask; what is the nature of reality that pertains to my position amongst things! Is there something right at the centre of all things, that is undefineable and philosophically saponaceous [like slippery soap]? Where all natures seam meaningless compared to the vacuous enormity before you, infinitely close and far.


    Your faith is deeply linked to your perception and inner sense; think of the senses as the fingers on your hand separate parts emerging from one entity. In this the senses are five manifestations of the one. The deeper your connection to the innermost sense the closer to 'it' [nirvana?[?]] - to the undefinable. Perception also emanates from the same centre of the soul as the senses, e.g. The interaction of the visual sense and inner perception as linked with inner sense, is the third eye in essence – if i may.
    Faith is in my mind also an entity of the centre, perhaps it is the very link between us and god/divinity....




    in short what i am saying is that in my view you have reached down so deep that faith is a part of you yet everything is like an uncatchable carp – evading meaning! It is the very form of meaninglessness that is itself your own proof! All you need is belief in what your faith literally is [in it's nature].


    Hope that help or at least detracts ;)
     
  8. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    AT5:

    That one's personal life may at times be confusing is no surprise since the world itself is Babel, confusing, and we are but minute reflections of all that confusion.

    Smile and laugh at it as much as you can, have faith in where you choose to go (even if that is only for a day at a time) and be assured that you will arrive there.

    There were days in my life that I was not sure I would survive the night to awake the next day to the light, but I always did, and still do. Never be afraid to express your heartfelt thoughts. We're not here to judge them. We're here to learn from them.

    flow....:)
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Spiritus ubi vult spirat

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    Your words scatter light ... a saying sprang to mind:

    "Let go and let be."

    In recalling the words, I could not remember where I had read them. To my delight I found it a saying of The Eightfold Path.

    And I feel, in your heart, you know which way to go.

    So let go, and let be!

    Courage, brother, you have earned your burden for those whose shoulders are not yet broad.

    Thomas
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Reminds me of a saying...Now @5 I know you are Buddhist therefore G-d is a questionable entity...but there is a saying I've always liked which Thomas so kindly reminded me of...and a recent response that I heard that I really like...

    G-d gives us no more than we can handle...

    .... I only wish (s)he wouldn't trust me so much!

    Which makes me think of the one ...

    Some people are upset at the way G-d is always called in the masculine,
    He, the Father, etc... So they like to replace it with the femininine or a mixture Mother/Father G-d, (s)he. Which causes consternation amongst
    others..and even others have issues with gender or anthropomorphism so
    they choose to refer to G-d/Spirit as It. Which of course continues to
    offend even more...Truth is G-d doesn't care what name or reference or
    label you give...whether it is She, He, or It....just don't combine them all.
     
  11. Jeannot

    Jeannot Jeannot

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    I don't believe that any particular creed or "ism" is necessary to tread the path. Each of us has his own, but at least we are withing hailing distance of one another.

    "There is more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds."--Tennyson
     
  12. earl

    earl ?

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    Nice to see you again AT5. In my case, I alternate between bemoaning the fact I don't know didly and seeing "Don't know" as the virtue it is. :p As it is said in the zen tradition: "when there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakeing; no doubt, no awakening." Take care, earl
     
  13. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    Peace, AT5!

    Don't think you need not post - what you have said here has been an inspiration to me, as I find myself heading down the same dirt track.

    There are others feeling what you are feeling - and as you can see from the responses, even more who are lovingly cheering you on.
     
  14. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    many thanks to all for this thread...............

    And it gives me the opportunity to quote again from St John of the Cross..........."If we wish to be sure of the road we tread on we should close our eyes and walk in the dark"

    :)
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Anyone seen the animated movie 'Cars' yet?

    Sometimes you have to play on the dirt track...

    And it this vehicle we are in handles different than on the paved road...

    And as we learn the new skills in the new terrain we develop new understandings...

    Consider turning into the skid @5.

    And I so ditto the remarks of others. I so appreciated your participation in the past. And your thoughts as you contemplate, cogitate, circumnambulate...will be beneficial not only to you, but also to many of us...and many who have not been here yet...
     
  16. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin New Member

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    Sounds like you are basically at the same place with Buddhism that I am with Christianity. I don't know if you were born into a Buddhist community or if that was a choice you made as an adult. I was born into a Christian community and I fully expected to live out my life in that community. I faced some hard choices and am not longer there.

    I find it impossible to come to a position where I will openly say I am not a Christian. Nor do I feel comfortable declaring myself a Christian. I have been in this state for perhaps ten years or more. I keep feeling impatient with myself and wanting to declare myself one religion or another.

    But I am so particular that it is RIGHT. That I have definitely arrived and I never feel like I have definitely arrived for a very long time. As soon as I make a declaration, I find the clarity leaving and again I feel like I have something less clear than a dirt road. (A dirt road you can at least see.)

    I am asking myself, do I have to have a religious identity? I know what I believe. I just can't recite a creed and sign my name on the dotted line. IS THIS IMPORTANT?

    I don't know. Part of me says, Yes you are living a lie. Another part of me says, Quite worrying so much about a religious or spiritual identity and just enjoy the beauty and vitality of life and the universe.

    I have been told that the idea of progress is pure Enlightenment thinking. Hmmm. Not enlightenment as in spiritual awakening in Buddhist but enlightenment as in West European scientific thought. Apparently, progress has not always been the goal of human life. Maybe it is not the right goal to look for but what are the alternatives? Being? Experiencing things as they happen? I don't know.

    Yeah, that seems like the Ego wanting to be All. I find it is usually okay to say "in my opinion" or "in my experience," etc. That allows others to be wiser and it also allows me to share my thoughts. I've noticed others use this approach, too. Sometimes the wisest, or most helpful, words are spoken by those who feel least sure of themselves. We never know for sure what the other person needs.

    I am not exactly sure what you are talking about but I do know that at the times when I have felt least sure of my faith others have made bold declarations about my strong faith. Sometimes I think faith means to go on even when we feel lost and hopeless and have nothing to guide us except the duties of everyday life.

    Here is a verse and chorus from an old Christian hymn* that have often been an inspiration for me:

    It may not be on the mountain's height
    Or over the stormy sea
    It may not be at the battle's front
    That my Lord will have need of me
    But if by a still small voice he calls
    To the paths that I do not know
    I'll answer "Dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
    I'll go where you want me to go."

    "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
    Over mountain or plain or sea;
    I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord.
    I'll be what you want me to be."

    To me, this means that no matter where I am or what I do, if I just live my daily life the best I can and live it sincerely, somehow it will be okay and come out alright. Like I said, for the last many years I have not really been able to tell what path I am on except that it's mine.

    I don't know if any of this is helpful but I share it in case it is.

    *Words and music here: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/g/igowhere.htm
     
  17. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Well, thanks man! I thought I was the only one.

    I dunno, you get far enough and the "path" peters out. Then you give up your blankie because you're trying to strip down to the essentials. Then pretty soon there's nothing left. No faith, no belief, just everyday, ordinary life. Then I wished I could find something to go back to because I had given up all my toys and had nothing left to play with. Damn, I passed up my chance for ignorant bliss and now it's too late. I never should'a asked those questions. And now I can't go back. Now I'm stuck out here on the perimeter where there are no stars. Damn!

    Oh well, it's too late dude. But don't you think this is pretty much exactly what the Buddha was talking about? I mean, the desire for a measure of comfort in faith and belief?

    Chris
     
  18. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    "there are many paths to the mountaintop, but when we get there we will all see the sme moon" .... you are on the same path as all of us, seeking a better world and a more spiritual world for our generations to follow .... never fear to post a thought .... we all learn from each other .... aloha nui, poh
     
  19. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin New Member

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    People are always telling me that few people ever get to this point so maybe everyone else has a "recipe" that works for all of life because they're not trying to move beyond the known. Maybe they find something that is comfortable then stay there. I don't know. It's just really good to find other people like me who are really serious about this life and want to go places and notice when things aren't going the way they were supposed to.

    One piece of consolation. Sometimes I find if I stick with something long enough suddenly there's a breakthrough of insight. Of course, it's not a resigned sticking-to-itness, or a passive sitting around. It's an active looking for loopholes through which to move beyond the block. Maybe as we all sit here brainstorming suddenly someone will say something that helps another person move forward and the block is broken. Just an idea....
     
  20. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    I dunno Ruby. Maybe it's because I just don't have the ability to asign something outside of myself the status of a higher authority. I can't trick myself into just believing, trusting, having faith that something else knows better than me. I would like to feel that I'm superior to others in that respect, but perhaps the opposite is true. I may be communicating a sense of futility and depression but that's not how I feel about it. How it feels to me is accepting that there is always going to be conflict and tension and just living with it as a natural thing. I'm no longer looking for comfort and security in belief systems and affirmations. I took a good hard look at my motivations and threw out my security blanket and pacifier, but that came after a lot of years of deconstructing myself.

    Of course there is always something that can be done to progress a little bit more, but I think that people get to a certain point where they've buttressed their emotional needs in a satisfactory way are willing to just leave it at that. If we were to ever really reach a true state of enlightenment we wouldn't be able to function in the physical world. So there's always a conflict in accepting or justifying the trade-offs there. How to care and not care? How to try and not try? How to persue what can't be persued? How to accept without becoming complacent?

    Chris
     

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