Fear of becoming a boring person

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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ihrjordan
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by ihrjordan »

The fact that you post this implies that you're torn between being a "boring" dhamma practitioner or being a lively "wordling"... well what's the problem? Just choose one.

Either you live in the world, have a job, a family, watch entertainment, amuse others, buy and sell, maintain status or you don't. It's that simple, you're never going to arrive at a point in your practice where you find a perfect balance between sensuality and renunciation; they are at odds with each other and as such when one is developed, it is to the other's detriment. Rather than a scale it is more like a tug-o-war in which you're either immersed in the world or you're not.
Thisperson
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Thisperson »

You might like this video from Ajahn Sumedho, Digity. He talks about boredom amongst other things with some humor.

SarathW
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by SarathW »

What is Boredom?
My understanding is neutral feelings with ignorance as the boredom which is unpleasant.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Ben
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Ben »

Many years ago I had a friend who decided to get a sex change. When I probed him as to why the answer he gave me was that he wanted to be 'an interesting person'. Now, I don't have a thing against LGBTI, but I didn't think his motivation was healthy nor appropriate. And I let him know as gently as possible. Needless to say, s/he hasn't talked to me since.

As for your own situation, I wish you all the best. I would suggest that you examine the feelings of aversion and craving regarding this impetus and perhaps also examine what it means to be interesting. Maybe instead of playing computer games and watching tv you could engage in other healthy pursuits that are beneficial whether it be volunteering at a homeless shelter or hospital, study or hiking.
kind regards,

Ben
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Pinetree
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Pinetree »

Digity wrote:I've been getting more involved with volunteer work.
How did this turn out ? - it's a quote from an older post of yours.

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Digity
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Digity »

Ben wrote:As for your own situation, I wish you all the best. I would suggest that you examine the feelings of aversion and craving regarding this impetus and perhaps also examine what it means to be interesting. Maybe instead of playing computer games and watching tv you could engage in other healthy pursuits that are beneficial whether it be volunteering at a homeless shelter or hospital, study or hiking.
kind regards,

Ben
For one thing, I know that playing video games and watching TV doesn't make you an interesting person. I actually don't play video games all that much anymore. I mostly outgrew them, but I'll meet up with friends maybe once a week to play card type games. I'm weening myself off TV. Recently, I've been mostly watching a lot of YouTube and not really TV shows, but I still don't like when I get caught in that cycle of watching video after video. It's a big waste of time.

I do plan to start taking up more healthy things like rock climbing and probably one other activity. The goal is just to meet people and get myself out of my comfort zone with strangers. I do some volunteer work with homeless people from time to time.
Digity
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Digity »

Pinetree wrote:
Digity wrote:I've been getting more involved with volunteer work.
How did this turn out ? - it's a quote from an older post of yours.

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Not bad. I help with the homeless on occasion. It also involves me interacting with other volunteers so I can work on being more comfortable talking to strangers, etc.
Digity
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Digity »

ihrjordan wrote:The fact that you post this implies that you're torn between being a "boring" dhamma practitioner or being a lively "wordling"... well what's the problem? Just choose one.

Either you live in the world, have a job, a family, watch entertainment, amuse others, buy and sell, maintain status or you don't. It's that simple, you're never going to arrive at a point in your practice where you find a perfect balance between sensuality and renunciation; they are at odds with each other and as such when one is developed, it is to the other's detriment. Rather than a scale it is more like a tug-o-war in which you're either immersed in the world or you're not.
I tried going the reclusive route, but it didn't entirely work out that well. I did find my concentration was better during those times, but I also felt shut off from the world and wasn't facing certain issues I had,uch as my social anxiety. So, I decided to work on being more engaged with others and step out of my comfort zone....in other words, being less reclusive.

I guess it's not as straight forward as saying just pick one and go with it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I am trying to find the right balance between a dhamma practitioner and a "worldling". I understand that you can't have it both ways entirely, but there must be a good balance one can achieve that keeps one on the path and still allows them to engage with the world around them in a healthy manner.
Digity
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Digity »

dharmacorps wrote:Interesting post-- I have been observing this lately but I have been experiencing this in a different light. I am noticing my attachment or craving to being known as an "interesting person"-- i.e. funny, witty, sharp, etc. Maybe this is the flipside, the aversion to being thought of as boring. The question may be, what does it mean to you that you are seen as boring?
I've had this issue too. Growing up I was shy and anxious, but early on in my life I learned that people thought I was funny. Because of that, I felt that I needed to entertain and make people laugh for them to like me. That sort of stuck with me a long time and I still see that tendency in my mind. It's not a healthy place to operate from, because it's coming from a place of neediness/desperation and people can smell that a mile away.
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_anicca_
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by _anicca_ »

The content of the fear doesn't matter as much as the fact that a fear/anxiety has arisen. Your fear of becoming a boring person may be a hook for underlying anxiety (you did mention that you had social anxiety and an overactive mind; this is a product of both, IMHO. ). Besides, you can't control if other people think of you as a boring person.

You're right when you say it is not as black and white as being a "worlding" or a recluse! If only it were that simple!

Thinking about your fear is giving it sustenance to continue growing bigger and more intense. As someone that is currently working a lot with anxiety, I can tell you this from an experiential perspective! Try to let go of the thoughts (I.E. clinging/sustenance) that come along with the fear (such as, "I'm going to be a boring person.", "No one will like me.", "What will people think of me?) and then the fear itself. Easier said than done, but it is possible.

:anjali:
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia
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lotuspadma
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by lotuspadma »

"Living in the world and practicing meditation, you will seem to others like a gong that has not been struck and is not producing any sound. They will consider you useless, mad, defeated; but actually, just the opposite is true."
"People outside may call us mad to live in the forest like this, sitting like statues. But how do they live? They laugh, they cry, they are so caught up that, at times, they kill themselves or one another out of greed and hatred. Who are the mad ones?" - Ajahn Chah
I used to be and still am to a lesser degree, quite like you. That is, not wanting to let go of distracting things, but still knowing it is best. Years ago I wanted to be a musician, or a singer. Music was my passion. This and other forms of entertainment that I was gripping tightly slowly melted away or are well on their way. First thing is meditation. Then you will see how much better the pleasure of renunciation is. Then I spend a month without listening to any music. Continued meditating and now I can go on weeks, months without most entertainment. And it is pleasurable, not painful or hardly so. You can do the same for sure. You will see the value of renunciation when you heave seen it for yourself. You strongest wish will not be to go back, but forward. As in: what else can I let go of? The more you let go, the (genuinely) happier and more at peace you become.
You have to respect your wish for more spirituality, forget what people think. Remember in the Dhammapada it says you should befriend only those who are your equal or better than you. Not necessarily Buddhist, but your friends should at least respect your spiritual path. Otherwise be alone. You'd be dragged down. The Dhamma is your best company. There are many Buddhist forums online if you need help and don't have access to a monastery/spiritual friend. Don't waste this precious human birth trying to please others. In any way, being a dedicated Buddhist will facilitate your friendship with other dedicated Buddhists. By being 'worldly' you will get 'worldly' friends.
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Zom
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by Zom »

Then you will see how much better the pleasure of renunciation is.
Easy to say. Hard to do.

The advice here is: you can follow worldly things which are interesting for you, but try to decrease this involvement slowly step-by-step. See for yourself how it goes. As your practice advances (and here I'm not talking about meditation), your craving will decrease, deeper understanding will grow (not intellectual, but a kind of "inner/instinctive"), and you'll find yourself in a situation, when you are "okay" with a minimal involvement in different worldly and sensual things. If you feel it is too painful, make a step back, go enjoy the world. But again, see how it goes and see if this is really satisfying. Personal experiments is the key here.
rajitha7
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by rajitha7 »

I think people wrongly conclude perfect Buddhists must be vegetarian. They also wrongly conclude you need be a permanent recluse to become enlightened.

Buddha did say "be an island to yourself and be a recluse". This is perhaps only until one reach a level of enlightenment. Being a recluse helps to calm the mind.

If you look at Buddha's life, he was a wandering in forests as a recluse but he became enlightened near a village. He spends the rest of his life among people from all walks of life.

Imagine what Buddha would say if he lived today. Instead of saying one should go under a tree cross-legged - he would say find a quiet room. I have personally adopted a plan. I aim to spend 8 hours a day meditating. The rest is a normal time.

The Sutta says meditation over 7 years is required to cross over. I will try for 7 years. Take a break if it doesn't work and try again a few years afterward.
Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. - Sampasādanīya, Dīgha Nikāya 28
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ryanM
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by ryanM »

Ajahn Khemavaro wrote:May you all achieve complete boringness in your practice.
It's certainly out of context, but the video can be found here. From a worldly perspective, this practice can certainly be seen as boring. "So... you just look at your mind all day?"
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"
befriend
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Re: Fear of becoming a boring person

Post by befriend »

I used to be a boring Buddhist, I had nothing to say because all I did was meditate and isolate. my social skills were extremely awkward as I had no experience with talking because I didn't read about anything interesting or do anything interesting. if you want to have conversations with people you need to have more activities in your life than meditation. if people would ask me about my Saturday, id say I did walking meditation, it was awesome, I saw impermanence. that pretty much summed up my social skills. if you have social anxiety you need to study social skills, open ended questions, during a topic think who what where when why and how, this will lead to more conversation material. i am studying about things that interest me now like mystical aspects of other religions, physics, human rights, vegetarianism, American history, and i read fiction literature which is encouraged for doctors to increase there empathy. so theres a lot of stuff you can do to not be a boring Buddhist.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
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