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Buddhism & CFS

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

  1. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

    Messages:
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    44
    Santa Rosa, CA
    boundaries and "no self"

    I think this is great. It would have helped me so much to understand this many years ago. That being said and asking as a non-Buddhist who often finds that her hard-earned wisdom often sounds very Buddhist-like how do you have "boundaries" if you have "no self"?

    I am also asking as someone who was raised with Christian fundamentalist beliefs that got interpreted to mean that having a "self" at all was not "spiritual." That translated as "I can't have any boundaries but I need to respect yours." So this "non-self" self was open to invasion AND was not to fight back or defend her non-self.

    When I read Buddhist writings, I start to go numb. I begin to feel erased. I cannot get to the "no self" place by reading about it. It overlays too much with my distorted early teachings.

    To survive, to actually stay alive on this planet, I had to work really hard to develop a "self." What do "I" want, what do "I" need, how does that feel to "me"? I had to learn to say "stop," "go away," "that's mine," "you can't take that from me."

    It was after I reclaimed my right to exist as a self that I found the freedom to experience those surprising expansive moments of being one with everything, of that "no self" place. This seems to confirm, in a very indirect way, that my efforts to become a self were necessary.

    I loved, love, Carol Lee Flinders book At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. She writes a little about this in relation to women and following a meditative path.

    But my sincere question remains, How do you have "boundaries" if you have "no self"?
     
  2. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes:
    44
    Santa Rosa, CA
    boundaries and "no self"

    I think this is great. It would have helped me so much to understand this many years ago. That being said and asking as a non-Buddhist who often finds that her hard-earned wisdom often sounds very Buddhist-like how do you have "boundaries" if you have "no self"?

    I am also asking as someone who was raised with Christian fundamentalist beliefs that got interpreted to mean that having a "self" at all was not "spiritual." That translated as "I can't have any boundaries but I need to respect yours." So this "non-self" self was open to invasion AND was not to fight back or defend her non-self.

    When I read Buddhist writings, I start to go numb. I begin to feel erased. I cannot get to the "no self" place by reading about it. It overlays too much with my distorted early teachings.

    To survive, to actually stay alive on this planet, I had to work really hard to develop a "self." What do "I" want, what do "I" need, how does that feel to "me"? I had to learn to say "stop," "go away," "that's mine," "you can't take that from me."

    It was after I reclaimed my right to exist as a self that I found the freedom to experience those surprising expansive moments of being one with everything, of that "no self" place. This seems to confirm, in a very indirect way, that my efforts to become a self were necessary.

    I loved, love, Carol Lee Flinders book At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. She writes a little about this in relation to women and following a meditative path.

    But my sincere question remains, How do you have "boundaries" if you have "no self"?
     
  3. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

    Messages:
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    55
    Hi Gracenote,

    It always strikes me as so very sad that the beautiful teachings of Jesus have been altered and used the way they have. Of course, the teachings of all the great teachers, including Buddha, have been used for political and social ends and corrupted.

    But, that said, I think a very useful question is always, "What would Jesus do?" And, I don't mean some characature of Jesus who is either tipping over tables or turning the other cheek but the man (I will leave his divinity open, if you don't mind) who could stand for what he knew was just and right. Jesus must have had what we consider "good boundaries" in order to not be swamped by followers, overwhelmed by desciples or defeated much earlier than he was by those who wished him harm. He took care of himself in order to do what he needed to do.

    I think we need a definition of "self" so that we all know of what we speak. I think it's useful to think, on one level, of "self" as ego. But then, we need a useful definition of ego. If we think of ego as a rattling conglomeration of all the things we have been told we are, many of which are not helpful, and the myriad things we feared we might be in our constant stream of thought, seasoned with all the dreams of what we oughta be, shoulda been, coulda been... it is not necessarily something we want to protect but, rather, a wobbly fragile construct we feel we must protect in order to keep it in the air no matter how much grief it causes us.

    So, on one level, the self we sometimes protect with a boundary is often just the story we have been told and are telling throughout our lives and we are sometimes putting a fence around ourselves AND all the lions and tigers and bears. When we begin to let go of that ego, that painful, puffed up story, and just BE, with everything a sentient being is entitled to - peace, love, as much happiness as comes along, as little suffering and universal compassion which we can generate for everyone and must omit none, not one, not even ourselves, not even ourselves... the boundaries are implicit.

    I will not hurt any sentient being, not even the one I am. I will not bring harm to a sentient being, not even the one I am. I will not allow harm to another sentient being, not even the one I am.

    And, yes, there is all manner of interesting intellectual leaping about we can do with "I am" but not before we really practice: no harm, not even me, not even me.

    I hope that makes a teeny tiny bit of sense! Strangely, I seem to go off on these tangents on days when I really should spare everyone the contents of my noggin.

    Again, I thank you for your indulgence.

    :eek:

    ETA I hasten to add, I blow it, as the saying goes, as much as I get it right. And, when I do get it right it is usually because I have just blown it and can then see how to get it right. For me, the path is always lit by my mistakes. New and better mistakes - that's my motto.
     
  4. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes:
    55
    Hi Gracenote,

    It always strikes me as so very sad that the beautiful teachings of Jesus have been altered and used the way they have. Of course, the teachings of all the great teachers, including Buddha, have been used for political and social ends and corrupted.

    But, that said, I think a very useful question is always, "What would Jesus do?" And, I don't mean some characature of Jesus who is either tipping over tables or turning the other cheek but the man (I will leave his divinity open, if you don't mind) who could stand for what he knew was just and right. Jesus must have had what we consider "good boundaries" in order to not be swamped by followers, overwhelmed by desciples or defeated much earlier than he was by those who wished him harm. He took care of himself in order to do what he needed to do.

    I think we need a definition of "self" so that we all know of what we speak. I think it's useful to think, on one level, of "self" as ego. But then, we need a useful definition of ego. If we think of ego as a rattling conglomeration of all the things we have been told we are, many of which are not helpful, and the myriad things we feared we might be in our constant stream of thought, seasoned with all the dreams of what we oughta be, shoulda been, coulda been... it is not necessarily something we want to protect but, rather, a wobbly fragile construct we feel we must protect in order to keep it in the air no matter how much grief it causes us.

    So, on one level, the self we sometimes protect with a boundary is often just the story we have been told and are telling throughout our lives and we are sometimes putting a fence around ourselves AND all the lions and tigers and bears. When we begin to let go of that ego, that painful, puffed up story, and just BE, with everything a sentient being is entitled to - peace, love, as much happiness as comes along, as little suffering and universal compassion which we can generate for everyone and must omit none, not one, not even ourselves, not even ourselves... the boundaries are implicit.

    I will not hurt any sentient being, not even the one I am. I will not bring harm to a sentient being, not even the one I am. I will not allow harm to another sentient being, not even the one I am.

    And, yes, there is all manner of interesting intellectual leaping about we can do with "I am" but not before we really practice: no harm, not even me, not even me.

    I hope that makes a teeny tiny bit of sense! Strangely, I seem to go off on these tangents on days when I really should spare everyone the contents of my noggin.

    Again, I thank you for your indulgence.

    :eek:

    ETA I hasten to add, I blow it, as the saying goes, as much as I get it right. And, when I do get it right it is usually because I have just blown it and can then see how to get it right. For me, the path is always lit by my mistakes. New and better mistakes - that's my motto.
     
  5. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

    Messages:
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    55
    Gracenote,

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have nothing to tell you that you don't know. I really value the opportunity to share our experiences, though. I have a lot to learn.

    Namaste
     
  6. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes:
    55
    Gracenote,

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have nothing to tell you that you don't know. I really value the opportunity to share our experiences, though. I have a lot to learn.

    Namaste
     
  7. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes:
    44
    Santa Rosa, CA
    to be told what I know

    Koan,

    I, very often, need to be told even that which I know, but don't yet know that I know. I may live what seems a lifetime not knowing that I know. Isn't that true with you? So I need to not just be reminded, but to have someone tell me.

    You are very good at telling me, and telling us. Even when you say you are rambling, your posts are highly informative and helpful. Enlightening, even.
    Please, don't "spare" us. And continue telling us the story of the Buddha, even if just as little musings from time to time.

    I, too, really value this opportunity to share our experiences. I have much to learn from you.

    Gracenote
     
  8. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes:
    44
    Santa Rosa, CA
    to be told what I know

    Koan,

    I, very often, need to be told even that which I know, but don't yet know that I know. I may live what seems a lifetime not knowing that I know. Isn't that true with you? So I need to not just be reminded, but to have someone tell me.

    You are very good at telling me, and telling us. Even when you say you are rambling, your posts are highly informative and helpful. Enlightening, even.
    Please, don't "spare" us. And continue telling us the story of the Buddha, even if just as little musings from time to time.

    I, too, really value this opportunity to share our experiences. I have much to learn from you.

    Gracenote
     
  9. George

    George Guest

    To recieve the dharma

    Go to audiodharma.net. I listen every day. Gil Fronsdale is my favorite. He is a good teacher when you can not get to a teacher.
     
  10. George

    George Guest

    To recieve the dharma

    Go to audiodharma.net. I listen every day. Gil Fronsdale is my favorite. He is a good teacher when you can not get to a teacher.
     
  11. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

    Messages:
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    Likes:
    5
    mountains of north carolina
    Some favorite dharma books: Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart and Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen and Nothing Special. Changed my life.

    This thread is making me happy.
     
  12. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

    Messages:
    900
    Likes:
    5
    mountains of north carolina
    Some favorite dharma books: Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart and Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen and Nothing Special. Changed my life.

    This thread is making me happy.
     
  13. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes:
    3
    Ohio
    Great thread...

    One of the gifts this illness has brought my way is the transformation and evolution of my spirit.

    I was definitely in the "self" existance and rarely thought about "being." Being in the present moment and taking each moment as it comes is how I survive this illness with a certain amount of grace and peace.

    The boundary issue brought up in this thread is an issue I have had to deal with, too. I used to believe it was necessary for me to solve everyone's problems. I now know, it is not. Their problems are there for the purpose of their evolution and transformation. I see it differently now, I don't want to step in their way and block their chance for growing. It seems almost selfish of me to interfere.

    I have read a lot of Eckhart Tolle's books and it is refreshing to hear him speak about Buddha and Jesus. The messages are very similar. One of the goals I have is to seek TRUTH, and interestingly enough it is found in many different places, religions and people.

    Yes, Koan, I agree, Jesus's messages are sometimes lost in the translation.
    Thanks for all of your sharing on Buddha. I have a good friend who practices it, and I am always asking her questions, so I appreciate you sharing the stories.

    Thanks to all who have added to this thread. I have enjoyed reading all of it.
     
  14. KC22

    KC22 Senior Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes:
    3
    Ohio
    Great thread...

    One of the gifts this illness has brought my way is the transformation and evolution of my spirit.

    I was definitely in the "self" existance and rarely thought about "being." Being in the present moment and taking each moment as it comes is how I survive this illness with a certain amount of grace and peace.

    The boundary issue brought up in this thread is an issue I have had to deal with, too. I used to believe it was necessary for me to solve everyone's problems. I now know, it is not. Their problems are there for the purpose of their evolution and transformation. I see it differently now, I don't want to step in their way and block their chance for growing. It seems almost selfish of me to interfere.

    I have read a lot of Eckhart Tolle's books and it is refreshing to hear him speak about Buddha and Jesus. The messages are very similar. One of the goals I have is to seek TRUTH, and interestingly enough it is found in many different places, religions and people.

    Yes, Koan, I agree, Jesus's messages are sometimes lost in the translation.
    Thanks for all of your sharing on Buddha. I have a good friend who practices it, and I am always asking her questions, so I appreciate you sharing the stories.

    Thanks to all who have added to this thread. I have enjoyed reading all of it.
     
  15. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

    Messages:
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    Thanks so much for the link George - a new treasure!

    (it's actually.org though - audiodharma )


    islandfinn:)
     
  16. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

    Messages:
    1,540
    Likes:
    55
    Thanks so much for the link George - a new treasure!

    (it's actually.org though - audiodharma )


    islandfinn:)
     
  17. Lily

    Lily *Believe*

    Messages:
    665
    Likes:
    4
    treasures......

    I uncover new treasures here every day - I've decided I'm going to have to keep a notebook to note where some of the special treasures are, because there are so many, sometimes I forget - and I've only been around here less than 3 weeks!! And of course new treasures appear every day.....
     
  18. Lily

    Lily *Believe*

    Messages:
    665
    Likes:
    4
    treasures......

    I uncover new treasures here every day - I've decided I'm going to have to keep a notebook to note where some of the special treasures are, because there are so many, sometimes I forget - and I've only been around here less than 3 weeks!! And of course new treasures appear every day.....
     
  19. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

    Messages:
    1,540
    Likes:
    55
    viral buddhism

    A short post today as still on the burnout couch, but am loving this thread so much can't resist a wee bit of posting.

    I feel so fortunate that I had done the "spiritual work", for lack of a better word, that I had before I got sick. I think it's the only way I survived. I had thought that I wasn't that attached to my job, body, beauty, intelligence, mind, humour, status, salary, capabilities .......... hah - of course getting sick and stripped of all of them showed me just how much I had been attached and identified those things as "me". Part of my daily routine was facing some inability or loss and saying to myself - that is not "me". "I" am still here even if I can't do/have those things, positions, capabilities, roles.... anymore.

    Soon after I got sick, a friend told me that a friend of his had ME/CFS. Her description of it to him was "viral buddhism". Wish I had met her.

    Thanks all for this thread.

    islandfinn:)
     
  20. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

    Messages:
    1,540
    Likes:
    55
    viral buddhism

    A short post today as still on the burnout couch, but am loving this thread so much can't resist a wee bit of posting.

    I feel so fortunate that I had done the "spiritual work", for lack of a better word, that I had before I got sick. I think it's the only way I survived. I had thought that I wasn't that attached to my job, body, beauty, intelligence, mind, humour, status, salary, capabilities .......... hah - of course getting sick and stripped of all of them showed me just how much I had been attached and identified those things as "me". Part of my daily routine was facing some inability or loss and saying to myself - that is not "me". "I" am still here even if I can't do/have those things, positions, capabilities, roles.... anymore.

    Soon after I got sick, a friend told me that a friend of his had ME/CFS. Her description of it to him was "viral buddhism". Wish I had met her.

    Thanks all for this thread.

    islandfinn:)
     

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