I'll begin my introduction with writing from Jack Kornfield's "The Wise Heart":
"...after my years in the monastery, I was lost in the universal side...the Western world seemed speedy and driven. It was appallingly materialistic...obsessed with success...I had no idea how to fit back in...it was hard to re-enter the world of form. I had to get a job, find a place to live, open a bank account...I struggled with these details...It took me years of work and practice in the world to learn respect for the details of work and money and relationship...I have seen many people like myself who have used spirituality as a way to avoid the world of form."
I'm 58 years old, and my whole life has been a very slow dawning of this realization for myself. I recently met with my three best old high school friends from 40 years ago. All were successful business millionaires with histories of accomplishment. I had nothing comparable to share. In contrast to them I seemed, I dare say, "retarded", lacking growth, and undeveloped. Although I still have a personal non-monastic "practice" (mindfulness and sporadic sitting), I continue to have concerns generated by my personal experience of some kind of "willful failure" in the world of form. I still feel drawn to the dhamma, but I KNOW I need to try to cope in the material world. So, I suppose some of my forum input will deal with these matters.
Old Dead Wood