Insecure with myself

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Insecure with myself

Postby vanquisher91 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:30 am

*Brace for impact, this might be a long (although duly paragraphed :twothumbsup: ) topic*

Tuesday I will be taking a two hour trip up to Abhayagiri Monastery with my wife and mother-in-law to spend most of the day and share a meal and tea with the monastics and hopefully speak with them. I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time. Excited because it will be the first time every visiting a monastery or meeting a monk, apprehensive because I feel I have no place being at a monastery taking up the monastics time with my problems. Having been conditioned by military service, I'm not one to readily seek advice or assistance with 'feelings' as it doesn't really go over well to ask in my position even though my specific job is very emotionally and physically challenging :embarassed: . I'm encouraged to see military chaplains, but all of them are of Abrahamic faith and no monk that I know of has the necessary clearance to speak in-depth about some of the causes of my problems.

Now on top of this, I'm carrying a lot of....lets say 'karmic' guilt. Almost all of it rooted in sloth & torpor. The issue is that the problem and it's cause are blindingly obvious, and yet I feel helpless to fix it, or rather, myself. I'll be the first to admit that I'm very young, naive, and lazy, but admitting this to myself gets me no closer to solving the problem. I don't meditate, I don't chant, I have 3 Buddha statues and have yet to kneel before any of them, and I couldn't pass a test over Sutta knowledge to save my life. It's so bad, I feel that after 3 years I no longer have the right to call myself a Buddhist, though my dog-tags say otherwise. I feel guilty when I look at those pieces of tin around my neck knowing "Buddhist" is stamped on them and that, should I fall, my remains will be treated as such. When others find out I'm a Buddhist in the military, they naturally get curious and ask me questions which I answer with such hypocrisy I feel required to give them a disclaimer "...but i'm not a good practitioner".

Of course, some of you will say "well theres your problem, you doubt yourself too much!", to which I submit that it is my actions (or lack of action) which cause the doubt, and not the other way around. I find myself buying all these books and spending hours reading through website after website trying convince myself over and over "I am a Buddhist, I am, I am!", but to no avail. The really terrible part in all of this is that I know this is the right path for me. I know that through Dhamma all this can go away, that I can find happiness and overcome myself. I read about Jhana and the idea of equanimity and all of these great attainments and I want nothing more than to be able to have that kind of peace in my life. Of course I'm craving, don't we all? Isn't that what supposedly sparks the drive for us to end this? Desire and craving have to come into play somewhere, I just can't seem to move on to the point of doing something about it.

I don't know what I need. I don't even know if anything can be done about it, let alone what support I can hope for from others. It isn't as though I haven't tried to meditate or practice. Quite the contrary, I've sat several hours over the last 3 years and sometimes with great success that lasts several months, but with each renewed flame comes a wall of water to extinguish it (Basic training, technical training, my job, finances, lack of confidence/faith, depression, doubt, etc.). Now I'm embarrassed to even speak about Buddhism let alone practice it, even around my wife. I feel like I'm being judged even when I'm alone, as though everybody could see right through me and is making a list of all the reasons I'm not a Buddhist. Like a scientist who discovers what he thinks to be the theory of everything, only to be laughed off the face of the planet. I suppose to my credit, I haven't yet crumpled, but that is only a minor victory in which no real ground is gained.

So, scale of 1-10, how messed up am I :)

*And of course, thanks for reading. If anything, it helped a bit to type this up and get it off my chest*
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Re: Insecure with myself

Postby PeterB » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:43 am

We are all messed up until Enlightened Vanquisher91. And being insecure is not necessarily a bad thing. It might mean fewer layers to shed.
Its people that think that they know who should worry.
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Re: Insecure with myself

Postby Reductor » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:28 pm

First, I would encourage you to be a little easier on yourself. Many of us here might have cause now and again, or again and again, to find ourselves lacking the Buddhist qualities we so highly regard.

For example, a few years ago I was ending all my comments on Buddhism with "..but I'm a shitty Buddhist". And I did that for many more years than three. Yet that is no longer the case, because I too came to a point where it was no longer enough to identify myself as a Buddhist. Doing so hadn't alleviated my pain, nor made me a better person; there was a strong motive to change.

Since then I've found that recollecting the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha on a daily basis to be one of the most enjoyable forms of practice. It has provided a mental uplift which makes it much easier to let go of worldly concerns which had made me miserable.

You can set a rupa on a shelf, if you don't yet feel like bowing. You can raise you're hands in anjali, at least. In time you're heart will easily bow, and so you're body will do so easily as well. When you realize that the Buddha possessed the qualities that you would wish for yourself, you will find maintaining virtue and meditation much easier; you'll want to practice in a way that you may not want to now.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tions.html
http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/budhsati.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Make liberal use of you imagination. Set your rupas someplace in the open that you pass by in the morning, and spend 5 or 10 minutes reflecting on these various things. If you wish you can spend an additional 10 minutes sitting quietly or meditating, but don't sweat it at the beginning.

And to steal advice from some others around here, maybe you should find a good teacher in your area, if at all possible. And I've heard good things about those retreats.

:anjali:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Insecure with myself

Postby Nibbida » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:22 am

Try having equanimity with your lack of equanimity. Allow for the fact that your practice is imperfect and that's exactly where it needs to be at that moment. All things result from causes and conditions, including the state of your practice at any given moment. How could anything be otherwise? Otherwise it's like asking the universe to re-arrange itself so that it will line up with our arbitrarily high expectations. Have equanimity in your practice, and have equanimity with any lack of equanimity. Be mindful of experience, and be mindful of the fact when there is a lapse in mindfulness.

"At every point in our practice it's perfect" --Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen

"In practicing mindfulness, it can be helpful to remember that the practice works even when it doesn’t seem to work." -Gil Fronsdal, The Issue at Hand
http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/the-issue-at-hand/chapter4/
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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