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Hunting down the cause of ME/CFS & other challenging disorders - Lipkin in London
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Buddhism & CFS

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by starryeyes, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Lucie

    Lucie

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    Thanks, Teejkay, for the suggestions on Thich Nhat Hahn books. I read some in his work many years ago. I can't read much now, but for the purpose of learning more about Buddhism, this has been a good thing.

    I found my old copy of Huston Smith's _Religions of Man_ and began reading on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, per Koan's suggestion (thanks, Koan). Because my eyes give out, I can only read a little - so, I take the little I've read and hold it in my mind and try to let it sink in - carry it with me until I'm able to read again.

    I've had so many thoughts about what I've read on this thread and in Smith's book and I've very much wanted to share them. But the ideas drift in and out and not always when my fingers and brain are working enough to type them out.

    A sticky-note for myself here: I want to share with you all some thoughts on Francis of Assisi and Buddhism - St. Francis as Boddhisatva. Later.

    I continue to love this thread and check back often to see if anyone has posted.

    Lucie
     
  2. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hey Tree--

    It's great to see you here again! I'm in awe of your post... can you tell? :p:):) so much of it so well said. I felt like reposting/quoting the whole thing!

    I have dabbled in Buddhism since I was a teenager, but was never committed to any one spiritual path. I experienced that "FUNDAMENTALISM" in so many spiritual groups, that I finally gave up on them all and retreated back to my Jungian roots as "dreamer" and my transcendentalist leanings as a nature witness. I have found that my dreams mirror me back more honestly than most other outside sources, and that nature helps me find that equanimity that I need to cope with the assorted insanities of being chronically ill. There is a stillness in nature that holds out that word "REFRAIN" for me, which has also been one of my big challenges and lessons, for reasons VERY similar to yours.

    Learning "to RELAX with the teachings... and not use them to flog myself and others" ---I absolutely love that! SO TRUE! :cool::cool::p:)

    And... learning to be okey dokey with the fact that we ALL have an ego, and that ego is/was/will be one of our great teachers in this life. With my background in psychology, I always cringe when people wholeheartedly condemn the ego and give it so much shit. :eek: If you've ever known anyone who's had a psychotic break and ended up in the psych-ward, you'll thank your lucky stars that you have some semblance of an ego! At least enough to keep you from becoming totally delusional!

    I'm so glad, Tree, to hear about your process with all this. Thanks again for sharing it! And please come back and say more!
     
  3. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hello Tree,

    Your post is so beautiful and so full of truth and wisdom.

    Yes, yes and yes again!

    Everyone,

    There is a wonderful flow of understanding and wisdom in this thread, don't you think? There is a kind of steady beat, a unifying pulse, of heart and openness and generosity of experience and of compassion.

    I know I'm not making a whole lot of brain sense but I hope I am making some kind of heart sense.

    thank you for being
     
  4. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Lucie

    I would just love to hear more about St. Francis as Boddhisatva! I am very much looking forward to that!

    No hurry, though! I'm not going anywhere.

    :D
     
  5. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    welcome back tree (if I remember correctly), do love your name

    I completely enjoyed your more than 2 cents (didn't keyboards used to have a cent symbol?). A lovely way to start my day.

    One of the reminders that resonated with me is about relaxing in things as they are.

    You can see how much I loved your post, I've copied over 1/2 of it! Love that you use the term 'flog'. I call it self-flagellating. When I realized that if I 'caught' myself caught in some egoic judgement of myself for being some way that was not how I wanted to be - eg angry, upset by something, judgmental, full of pride...... then I created a 2nd level egoic drama and would beat myself up for it. The ah ha came when I realized this was the same ego play, just in a new disguise!

    Think I mentioned in another post that one of the tools that helped me no longer self-flaggelate was the idea of emotions being like clouds in the clear blue sky of being. They come, in whatever form, and they go. I developed my own little mantra derived from the Rocky Horror song "don't dream it, just be it' and changed it to 'don't be it, just see it'. I also use the tai chi move of cloud hands - even when I'm lying down, a wave of my hands is great at reminding me of the transience of thought/emotion/all things.

    But even that isn't quite how things work for me. I do get angry, hurt, jealous, sure I'm right......... But I try to have that little bit of space where I can see that I am being these things rather than being them unconsciously. That little bit of space lets me choose. (she thinks to herself) "Okay - I'll enjoy this, but I won't be attached to the enjoyment". or "Oh, I'm feeling defensive, ah the old father pattern, let's let that go" And when I find that I've been unconsciously in a state for a while, instead of getting angry at, disappointed with myself, I shrug and use Gangaji's powerful weapon 'so what'. That's just human nature. "Hello old friends" And sometimes I can bring curiosity to it, seeing why a particular state arose, without getting trapped in the story of it all or wanting to change it at all.
    ...
    I do find that over time some of my stupidity does goes away after I've caught it and made a decision to not play it out enough times. But guess I feel that I'm so full of stupidity, I don't care if any of it goes away. I practice maintaining that tiny space of self-awareness so that I can sometimes choose not to be stupid when stupidity arises.

    I'm trying to pay attention to this too. I love to ask myself if I'm being kind. Kind to others. Kind to myself.

    islands of equanimity - nice! I am learning to rest in the play of it all - ego, non-ego,

    ah - yes - yes. Just like non-attachment does not mean non-caring, non-involvement. That was a stumbling block for over a decade for me!

    ah tree - thank you for a wonderful morning.

    islandfinn:)

    ETA Will I ever get used to the timing on forums? 4 posts while I'm writing mine. Oh well - sorry I missed you. What you'all said!
     
  6. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Oh this is wonderful and when I'm more awake I'm coming back here to read the new posts again. I am so grateful to have met all of you. It's been a lonely road as practically nobody in my life has been into Buddhism. This thread makes me very happy. :)

    I'm still filing my endless Bookmarks and I just came across one that I have to share here. It's got nice 3 minute sample videos. I just viewed one and I feel way less stressed. Ahhhhhhhhhh... Enjoy:

    http://www.meditainment.com/meditation-downloads/
     
  7. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Hi Tree, and Everyone, I haven't visited this thread in a while, only because I have been too occupied, but I am so glad it is here and hope we always keep this one going!

    Just commenting on the recent posts, I think of story of the Buddha's life and how he worked so hard doing severe practices in order to achieve wisdom, but how it wasn't until he finally gave up, surrendering his effort of will, and accepted food and drink, that liberation and enlightenment came through. The tree under which he was sitting was thenceforth called the Bodhi Tree. Then, while continuing to sit under the same tree, he laid out his whole outline of teachings. He taught a way of freedom from suffering through the release of the root of suffering, the ego perspective, which became known as Buddhism.

    When conscious contact with trees got underway in my life, I heard the words silently spoken inside, "It is no accident that the Buddha achieved enlightenment under a tree!" Later on I read the same words from Dorothy Maclean of Findhorn, in The Call of the Trees, and other writings from her communication with the devas of trees.

    I should add that the Buddha's mother was also said to have given birth to him while standing and holding on only to a branch of a tree.

    While trees tend to be only background symbolism for us, we might know them as powerful, conscious beings who can help us spiritually, energetically, and physically--for healing purposes of any kind.

    I started a thread called The Helpful Powers of Trees which I hope will draw attention to these possibilities.

    If this were a thread about Christianity, I would be speaking of the cross as a tree symbol too, and the trees in the Garden of Eden--I could say some interesting things about them too!

    A Big Tree Hug,

    Cecelia
     
  8. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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  9. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    I love trees and I was gonna post a pic of one and then I saw Koan's post. Wow! I love pictures of temples and that one is incredible. If you can see the whole picture it looks like Buddha's hand is holding onto the temple.
     
  10. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Response to Koan's temple picture

    Oh my god, that is the mother of all trees! I love this picture!

    You know how we are taught to think of buildings (temple, mosque, synagogue, church) as the sacred places but it may turn out to be the tree outside which brings the spiritual energy.

    Mircea Eliade, one of the greatest authorities in Comparative Religion, wrote that the tree is the most universal symbol of the divine, cross-culturally and throughout history. He then went on to say that the second most common symbol of a sacred place was the tree and the rock together. And the third most common configuration which defines a sacred place is the tree, the rock and water....

    Cecelia
     
  11. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    What an extraordinary picture (and place). Thanks so much for posting it. I'd like to get a print of it and be able to have it on the wall!
     
  12. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    I would like to have this picture too!

    About mentioning Mircea Eliade: Sorry for getting into lecture mode sometimes. I studied Comparative Religion, Religious Anthropology, Jungian Psychology--and with all those years of reading books, I sometimes sound like one.

    Cecelia
     
  13. starcycle

    starcycle Guest

    I practiced buddhism for years before I got sick. Then my personality, creativity, cognition, and basically entire life got so trashed by chemical injury/CFS that it didn't seem to even make sense to continue anymore. Now I often get severe panic attacks after meditating, so I don't even do it anymore. I think I had to burn out my attachment even to thinking buddhism was anything "special" apart from any other thing. It's all just dukkha, and what trungpa rinpoche has called "nostalgia for samsara."

    The way buddhism has been kind of "co-opted" by the new agers kind of turns my stomach a little, too. All this "light and love" b.s. really has not much to do with getting to the actual truth of cessation. Most of the time it just seems to be adding more onto rather than taking away - painting legs on a snake, as the saying is.

    So with CFS, the truth of suffering becomes even more palpable. "Life sucks, get used to it" (Noble Truth 1 and 2). The only way out is through death (which isn't even really a way out, just a continuation), or through cessation, which imo is not possible with CFS. Going through all the jhanas and the highest levels of meditation takes an incredible amount of energy, more than running a marathon probably, and those systems are down for the count. You'd probably fry your brain going through that, or your entire body as it was overloaded with kundalini energy. Interestingly there are theories of enlightenment that describe it as a kind of brain damage, a burning out of certain neural pathways making suffering literally impossible. but with CFS, who knows what that could do - possibly spread through "neurogenic kindling" and really mess a person up.

    So in my view there's really not much to do but ride out the karma until hopefully getting a new body/mind at some time to continue with more skillful means. Unfortunately being trashed by CFS and all the dysfunction that comes with it tends to create more karma, but it is what it is. "get over it, and get on with it" - truths #3 and 4. Just have to hope conditions are better "next time."


    p.s. I really love trees. just thought I'd add that to balance out the rant. :D
     
  14. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Hi Starcycle,

    I found your post really refreshing!

    "I think I had to burn out my attachment even to thinking buddhism was anything "special" apart from any other thing."

    :D

    "Unfortunately being trashed by CFS and all the dysfunction that comes with it tends to create more karma, but it is what it is. "get over it, and get on with it" - truths #3 and 4. Just have to hope conditions are better "next time."

    There is also the view that one is burning karma while dealing with CFS. Personally, I find this more helpful. All of our attempts to deal skilfully with CFS, or whatever - no life is free of dukka, that's the deal - take us a tiny bit closer to waking up.

    I've never been a fan of kundalini or any quick trips which, to me, seem like yogic amusement rides. Legs on a snake :D

    But, seriously, what do I know?

    Nothing.
     
  15. starcycle

    starcycle Guest

    heh heh, I had a funny feeling myself writing that, but I didn't know what other term to use so I let it go. :p

    I guess I don't feel like I am dealing with CFS skillfully at all. I have no qualms about saying that I absolutely hate it. I hate everything about it without reservation, and it has really turned me into a much "worse" person than I was before. So that's what I mean about creating more karma. Although I guess one would have to say that being isolated from most human activity and contact for 10 years *might* make for less eventual kamma than all the kinds of things that often happen when interacting with other people during the course of a usual normal life. It's really hard to say, but trying to look at ti objectively it does not seem positive.

    But like you said: what do I know? Nothing. I could be totally wrong. That wouldn't be out of the ordinary these days at all. :D
     
  16. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Nor would it be for me. :D

    But, there is always the possibility that you are actually doing better than you think you are.

    I sure hope I am :eek:

    Could be.
     
  17. starcycle

    starcycle Guest

    I'll bet you are. :)

    In reality, we're all doing the best we can. It just doesn't feel that way sometimes because we want to be "somewhere else." I think that's the hardest part of any of this: accepting, not resisting. Easier said than done.
     
  18. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Yeah, I hear ya.

    We are on our way somewhere else... but it ain't always a pretty trip.

    Thanks much for all of this!

    Koan
     
  19. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    Great post. I think many of us have had serious spiritual meltdowns, regardless of our particular beliefs. With CFS, there's no spare energy to be or feel anything other than what's real. It cuts right down to the meat of the thing.

    For whatever reason, your post brought up this question for me:

    Would Pollyanna be considered a Buddhist?


    Discuss..................:D


    PS I love trees too. The Banyan (sp?) trees on Maui. Yum. The myrtlewood on the Oregon coast. The Redwoods. Sequoias. My little pink flowering dogwood. Love them.
     
  20. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Whew, yeah. You hit that nail on the head. (And under "any of this," I'd include, you know, life!)

    ps Mmm, trees: magnolia, redbud, tulip poplar.
     

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