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Suffering and spirituality

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Nielk, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Dreambirdie,

    You say "Wow", I say Yikes! ;) Perhaps if my synapses come online in the near future, I'll comment a bit more on this "loving kindness" thing.

    Wayne
     
  2. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    What does Gov. Palin have to do with this? I hate the way she and so many are treated.:(
     
  3. Lou

    Lou Senior Member

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    In answer to Sallysblooms, "Got a few days?" Having said that (probably shouldn't have, but no real desire to edit it either since she's been unearthed) discussing Sarah Palin is not likely to be a very spiritual venture.
     
  4. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Just didn't fit with all of the other threads about understanding, love, etc. Took a turn, ha. I and others may not want to read about her in a bad way. Her name seems to always gets pulled out of a hat. Odd.
     
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Sally,

    I don't think either Dreambirdie or myself were denigrating Sarah Palin. Palin was an example was used by the author of the book Dreambirdie was quoting from. Substitute Obama, or Rush Limbaugh, or Bill Clinton, or George Bush, or any other controversial figure. It's the principal that anybody should feel spiritually "compelled" or "obligated" to direct loving kindness toward others they are not in harmony with that I disagree with. But I don't have the energy to go into it now (and I may not ever). I'm sorry if my above comment distrurbed you.

    Best, Wayne
     
  6. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Sally--You need to refer back to the post in which she was originally mentioned (#120) to understand this in the context in which it was referred to.

    Given that, I ultimately agree with your question WHAT DOES Sarah Palin have to do with THIS? with Buddhism? with spirituality? with meditation?


    I personally would not choose to do a loving kindness meditation about/for/on behalf of/or because of/ Sarah Palin. (Not sure which preposition was the exactly the right pick, so I chose all of the above.) And I question this kind of spiritual practice in general, along with many others.

    I've already expressed how I feel about the practice of contriving one's feelings according to the dictates of religious concepts, and why I am averse to that. Just because something is written in a book about spirituality or even in a supposedly "holy book" does not guarantee that will always be true or right or helpful for you right now. It might be. It might not be. Who knows? Only you do. If I believe anything, which I sometimes do, then it is: Trust Yourself and BE YOUR OWN LIGHT.

    I think discernment, clarity, and conscious choice are all necessary to live a sane and conscious life. Compassion without discernment is a formula for disaster.
     
  7. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hey Wayne, thanks, you got it.
     
  8. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Here's one example from Christianity:

    "When Jesus encountered a man who was born blind the disciples asked Him, " Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:2b-3 KJV) Interpretation by the preacher: "Jesus was telling them that the blindness was not the result of sin, that sometimes disease is an opportunity for God to perform miracles."

    I once had a chat (in my chiropractor's waiting room) with a Chinese woman who grew up in a traditional Buddhist family and told me "it was just like being Catholic." The same kind of shame about illness and pushing past it, dressed up in Buddhist terms.

    I am sure there I could find more examples, but honestly I am just not into it right now.

    Love the cancer quote, btw. Thanks for that.
     
  9. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    DB- I'm not sure I fully understand any objections to the "How To Be Sick Title" title, but it sounds like you have a history of disappointment with spiritual traditions. It seems perfectly innocuous and refreshingly straight forward, but OK.

    As for the rules and lists- a further understanding of Buddhism (again- I'm not a Buddhist) shows that the "rules" are really Precepts- not in the sense of Dogmatic hell or high water- but simple guidelines for a more harmonious life- Not killing, stealing, etc. No judgment is attached- these are not Commandments by any stretch- but helpful pointers for inner peace- really the bedrock of any spiritual path.

    You seem to like Joseph Campbell- His Mantra was "Follow Your Bliss" - I imagine one could see that as telling someone how to live their life- but that interpretation would be somewhat skewed.

    The "lists" refer to the phenomena of Buddhist Psychology- how the mind works- which neuroscience is confirming every single day- Again- no one is ordered to believe any of it- but that's the system of thought.

    Brahman Viharas- Yes, I agree, there is a certain degree of contrivance in them- feeling good feelings and/or reciting well wishing phrases and then sending them to others- Those are in a way the Buddhist version of prayers. The point in all of them is to open your heart which has the effect over time of lessening fear and resistance to people- whether or not the other people actually benefit from such practices is not promised or the point. And yes, this practice has great benefits.

    Is there much to reasonably argue with in that? I personally don't see how. No one is being ordered to do anything- Very Key Point.

    Blessings- Are the things mentioned actually blessings? I guess that's subject to interpretation. She says Yes- You say No.

    I personally do not see my illness as a Blessing- But I definitely see it as an opportunity.

    What I do not feel comfortable doing is arguing that someone who has gained one single insight through their illness who otherwise would not have gained that insight or level of peace has NOT received a Blessing if they so believe.

    I also am not so willing to conclude that my illness could not BECOME a Blessing if reframed how I am relating to it.
     
  10. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    Really? I know there are many charlatans causing lots of harm in the world. But real compassion rare? We have very different experiences.

    Yes. Angry, Sad- whatever. Acceptance is key. As far as "whatever gets you through..." if survival is your only goal then fair enough. But is it possible there's more than that?

    Thanks everyone for your honesty.

    Mine too!

    Only the person who tries it knows. Everyone else is guessing.

    This view is limited and somewhat offensive to Catholicism and Buddhism.
     
  11. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Yes I do. Yes it was. And yes I definitely will.

    [video=youtube;1xplGaNWSoU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xplGaNWSoU[/video]
     
  12. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    Thanks- that was awesome!

    "It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life."

    Leave it to Joseph to sum up the entire thread in one succinct sentence.
     
  13. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    I also think there is a strong cultural piece. American culture is very individualistic and pro-active. The good ole' "can-do" attitude. Which is truly something special and has contributed to all the benefits we receive living here in the US. But the shadow side of this pervades not only the new age movement but other areas of American life as well: the idea that if you cannot fix the problem, preferably by yourself, there is something wrong with you. So if you have a chronic illness, well, you must not be trying hard enough. And then to put a spiritual spin on the judgment...


    In response to the recent dialogue about Buddhism:

    It seems to me that it is important to remember the cultural component here also. It is my (limited!) understanding that the American version of Buddhism is different than that in Asia and India. We Americans like to take ideas out of their original context and then combine them with our unique perspective, often individualizing teachings. But I imagine that being Buddhist could be a very different experience with hundreds and thousands of years of cultural overlay.
     
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Be Careful with Accusations Please

    I just want to say, since it appears I'm part of the "some", that I consider the above to be a reckless accusation. Both Dreambirdie and I went out of our way to explain what "principle" we were referring to and why we took such exception to it. I tried to explain that I would be equally aghast at this principle no matter who was used as an example. Sarah Palin was the author's own personal example.

    If another example had been used by the author, say perhaps Baraka Obama, who is also immensely disliked and not treated well by many people, I would have felt the same way. Should anybody feel obliged to "contrive" their true feelings about somebody because of some kind of spiritual "obligation". Absolutely not. This principle is what we're talking about on this thread about spirituality.

    Would Sallyblooms have objected to using Barak Obama as an example instead of Sarah Palin? I don't know, but it seems to me (and I'm not making an accusation here) that this issue of the way Sarah Palin has been treated has probably disturbed her in the past, and she chose to inject it into this thread because of this. I will leave this to Sallyblooms to clarify if she so chooses.

    I think it behooves anyone considering making any kind accusation to be very, very careful before doing so. And if you choose to make one, make absolutely sure it fits what you're addressing. Using terminology such as "cheap shot" strikes me as being very irresponsible and "in your face". Since it appears I was one of the "some" being referred to, I feel I have a right to say that I do not appreciate it one bit.

    I probably wouldn't make such an effort to discuss the topic of making careless accusations except for the fact that we as a community have been the recipient of many such attacks. Think Simon Wesseley and Peter White, and many others in our own circles of friends, family and health care practitioners. Is it "spiritual" to direct "loving kindness" toward them and let them get away with it, or is it more spiritual to assertively call them on their stuff that affects us so detrimentally?

    Wayne
     
    madietodd likes this.
  15. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    Was it "spiritual" for Nelson Mandela to direct Lovingkindness towards his Apartheid captors- and free himself emotionally in prison?

    Was it "spiritual" for the Dalai Lama to wish Lovingkindness towards the Chinese after having his home and culture decimated?

    Was it "spiritual" for Jesus to pray for the Roman Centurions who were torturing him?

    Lovingkindness- and Buddhism in general- absolutely calls for being Assertive as part of skillful action. Lovingkindness does not mean being a doormat.
     
  16. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    It looks like this thread got off-track with the unintentional insertion of politics. One type of suffering is getting lost in dramas, because our reactive selves have taken over. At that point, we're just defending our positions, and we hurt people while believing we're teaching, or helping in some way.

    Could we take this as just another opportunity to see how we all deal with suffering in our lives? Sometimes we lash out, sometimes we roll over and play dead, sometimes we withdraw, sometimes we seek meaning. Could we now take the highest ground we each aspire to, and move back into the original discussion?

    Madie
     
  17. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    Agreed. Back to the original point:

    Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.

    - Joseph Campbell
     
  18. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins PJ Princess

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    Wow, peeps, what a thread!! Admittedly I have only skimmed through, but can't quite stop from getting the giggles at the visual of Gandhi and Palin having a spiritually philosophical debate, on a fluffy cloud somewhere, in front of goldern lecturns. :victory:

    And to go just that one step further in the random hilarity that is my mind, picture Ms Palin as portrayed by Tina Fey and substitute 'I can see Alaska from my house' with " 'I can see Heaven from my house' :angel:

    Not trying to belittle anyone's belief systems. At all. Whatever gets you through, I say. As long as we're not telling each other that we're wrong/stupid/ignorant/getting all obnoxious up each other's faces and custodially trying to convert the masses...then it's all wonderful.

    There's a fabulous thought from an equally fabulous movie called 'Dogma'. It maintains that Goddess/God/higher power/whatever doesn't mind WHAT you believe in. What matters is THAT you believe.

    Getting back to OT - I don't think chronic ill health has made me more spritiual.

    I do know that I am able to empathise more widely with diverse life situations. I also know when someone is playing on my sympathies, and therefore not worthy of too much of my attention.
     
  19. alice1

    alice1 Senior Member

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    Different opinions,perspectives,beliefs lead to conflict of some sort. Another human trait albeit not our best.
    Acceptence and forgiveness are others that I know we all need here.
    So keep posting what works for you.
     
  20. Lou

    Lou Senior Member

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    Yep, the thread took a sour turn, and sadly, I was part of the reason, maybe the entire reason. My opinion is the thread, overall, has been helpful, enlightning, many other good things for those who've read and/or participated; that's certainly the case for me.

    I'll disengage after this post, surely do not wish to get into a back and forth that would only take the thread further from its higher ground. However, since the SOME who took a cheap political shot has been fairly narrowed down to me, that for at least one here the motive of my post was to wiggle in a cheap political shot, then perhaps it's permissable to give my own take, about my own motive.

    First off, Recovery Soon may be on target, in rereading the post it does smell of what he decribes, that I was getting in my cheap political shot. Could be, but it's not my nature. Curiously, I thought I was having a particularly bad day, like a lot of us here, that I went to a thread which previously had gotten my mind off some troubling thing, and stumbled right into a hot subject. I reacted against my better judgement, but it was toward a national figure, not a personal jab against anyone here. I can remember what was going on for me when I came to the thread, and I'm pretty sure getting into a political squabble was the last thing I wanted. But, I did, and for that I should apologize. I do.
     

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