Author Topic: Hello from a new man in Shreveport, Louisiana!  (Read 924 times)

Offline Zen

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Hello from a new man in Shreveport, Louisiana!
« on: June 26, 2016, 11:42:23 pm »
Hello everybody! I just ended my second day trying zen meditation. My first time was yesterday with a group, and, lacking another "spiritual" outlet in my life, decided to stick with the practice a while. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, but have since become an Agnostic Atheist Secular Humanist with a deep interest in science. That said, everything I've seen on death and dying from respectable sources say that when the brain dies, the mind dies. These science journals also say nothing lasts forever. Anything I make on Earth as a remembrance will disintegrate as will the Earth itself and the solar system itself and the universe itself. This may not even be the first universe, as quantum mechanics allow for new universes to spring forth from nothingness, and though the likelyhood is virtually zero of it happening any given moment, it will happen infinite times if given infinite time. That said, the idea of impermanence is something I accept, but it is also something that has always made me a bit uneasy. I've even observed impermanence in my own life, as people, ideas, and possibilities I was very attached to and loved dearly have passed into nothing, never to return again. I also tend to be depressed because I have to endure constant dissatisfaction with reality and aches and pains. The Abrahamic religions are full of woo, dogmatism, and fundamentalism. The Abrahamic religions are very all-or-nothing and proselytizing in their approach  and require worship of a celestial dictator called God who is asserted to be good. In reality, this "God" was a person or group of people who wanted power and to keep order in their society. While I do not view the Abrahamic traditions as evil, I view them as outdated, dangerous, and naive. Theravada and Zen Buddhism, along with Unitarian Universalism, are humbler traditions which allow you to accept what works and toss the rest. These traditions also lack a lot of the woo that plague most religious disciplines. I like how even the Buddha and H.H the Dalai Lama admit to be mere humans and encourage their followers to actively test and challenge what they say. Politically, I am on the left, but not the radical left. I'm to the left of Bernie Sanders, but to the right of Jill Stein. I support a free market within reasonable limits. I believe that, outside of basic necessities like education, healthcare, law enforcement, welfare, environmental protection and other basic civil services, leaving the rest of society in the hands of the free market is usually the most humane thing to do. I will settle for Hillary Clinton this cycle, because though she is pretty far to the right of me and is potentially guilty of mishandling important data and is pretty poor on environmental issues, Trump would bring unspeakable suffering to millions of people and would be totally unacceptable as president. On social issues, I support homosexual rights, drug legalization, constitutional rights, at least a little more gun control, separation of church and state, transgender rights, and environmentally friendly policies, and nuclear energy. Overall, that makes me center-left. I am going to be a middle school history and science teacher. I live in Shreveport, Louisiana, and there is not a strong Buddhist presence here. The few traces of Buddhism I found consist of two small groups of lay followers who don't have more than 4 people in either of their groups. I did my second meditation ever tonight. I just did 10 minutes of the 20 minutes I intended to do Zen meditation tonight. I procrastinated all day because sitting still and clearing my mind is...boring...but still something I promised myself to do at least once a day for 20 minutes. Anyway, while I was sitting on my mat in my bathroom facing the wall and after a while, the thoughts in my mind slowed down a lot. I expected that. Eventually, I was almost a blank slate minus a stray thought here or there. All of the sudden, I started seeing dark patches on the wall that swelled up and I was blind. I stopped counting my breaths and panicked, and the blindness went away after about a quarter of a second. I am not sure if this is normal or not, but at any rate, I am very excited to be here and look forward to getting support from the community here.


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