Author Topic: Meditation and the effects on social life  (Read 287 times)

Offline derekf208

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Meditation and the effects on social life
« on: July 09, 2017, 07:42:02 pm »
       I’m having a difficult time socializing since I’ve become a meditator.  Because of the insight I’ve gained from meditation, I’m overall happier, but I’m not much fun to talk to. Visiting with family members and old friends even is getting harder.  I can barely keep a conversation going at all.  I just don’t want to indulge in a lot of the topics.  It’s also important to note that it’s not just the insight from meditation, as I’ve always been a bit introverted.  Meditation, however, has helped make me a better listener.  I understand people and their circumstances on a deeper level now, I’m more empathetic, but I just don’t like to engage people too much with my opinions or worldly affairs anymore.
       
       It’s the feelings of awkwardness that are what troubles me, and I know that it’s strange for them too.  I also get a little scared that I’m becoming too distant, and possibly depriving myself from their love, and my love towards them.  Perhaps I need a new support system?  To put it simply: I’m caught in between two worlds, and could use some guidance from others who may have some thoughtful introspection for me to digest.  Thank you so much for reading.

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 08:03:22 pm »
There is this:
       ... the insight I’ve gained from meditation, I’m overall happier, ... I’m more empathetic, ...

And then there is that:
       
       It’s the feelings of awkwardness that are what troubles me, ... I also get a little scared that I’m becoming too distant, and possibly depriving myself from their love, and my love towards them. 

There is a contradiction between this and that

   
To put it simply: I’m caught in between two worlds, and could use some guidance from others who may have some thoughtful introspection for me to digest.  Thank you so much for reading.
I guess that 'this' is simply not true. There is no the insight, you are not happier and you are not more empathetic. Stop fooling yourself. If you refuse to face your situation as it is then there never will be insight that changes something.

Sorry if I sound harsh but I am just not willing to take people's words at face value if there is self-contradiction.

There is a difference between meditation as a basis for insight and meditation as escapism. For some people meditation can be of help and for other people it cannot. And it is impossible to assess in an internet forum which individual belongs to what kind of people because to assess their overall life situation is impossible in an internet forum. It happens far to often that what people tell and what really is are incompatible spheres.

If you are seeking love from others then there is a lack and it is that lack which is the issue. Now there are at least two incompatible views on love seeking. One is that love seeking is the nature of humans and one should live it out and be successful and the other is that love seeking is manifestation of a lack and that this lack is evidence for something 'out of balance' within the psychic life of the individual. I hold the latter view and therefore I think that if meditation can entail helpful insight then it removes that lack which is the cause for love seeking and fosters self-confidence and autonomy.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 08:29:19 pm by ground »

Offline derekf208

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 08:54:59 pm »
That's fine, your point is valid.  I don't think it's fair to completely disregard my post and consider me disillusioned though. I know the person I was before my first meditation course, and the difference between who I was then and now are noticable not just to myself, but amongst others around me.  Plus, I acknowledged that meditation isn't all of the problem, as I stated that I have always been an introverted person.  But like you said, it's difficult to assess someone's full story on an internet message board, I understood this, and tried to keep the post short and not 10 paragraphs long.  I suppose I should have proof read a little better.

Your last paragraph is spot on(not that the others weren't either).  I do feel more confident in myself, and feel less need to seek out love from others.  However, this is a process, and I'm obviously not out of the woods yet.  That's why I'm here posting on this forum.  I think I still have some attachments worth examining and perhaps some deep fears to confront as well.   
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 09:00:04 pm by derekf208 »

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 09:27:22 pm »
... However, this is a process, and I'm obviously not out of the woods yet.  ... I think I still have some attachments worth examining and perhaps some deep fears to confront as well.   
These may be helpful insights. Also - from my perspective - it is not about to get rid of all attachments, but it is just to recognize them as what they really are when they arise and that should do the job.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 12:35:59 am by ground »

Offline sjaakie

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2017, 02:08:24 pm »
You don't say how long you have been meditating or what type of meditation you prefer, but here are a few ideas.

Well, I think different people experience meditation differently and there is not a "right" way  or a "wrong" way.

Ground's last comment is, indeed, spot-on.

You are introverted? So what? This is just how you are at the moment. That may change.
You want love? Who doesn't? You may want to try Loving Kindness meditation (Also called Metta, I think). It is a good way to start to love yourself.

If you are a bit introverted then this may be due to a slight lack of confidence around others. Perhaps even talking about things that actually don't interest you - and a louder person maybe railroading you into a conversation. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you are getting a little more "yourself" in a group. Maybe you want to decide in which conversations to take part. Might be a sign of confidence building up a bit - be who you feel comfortable with.

It could also be that you are just *really* listening now instead of "going through the motions". Maybe. That is not a bad thing.

Maybe your interests are changing.

Like ground said: try to just observe what is going on and don't judge it to be right or wrong. The feelings will just come and go - they will tell you what is happening.

I am a bit extrovert myself but I have become more introspect since meditating and I watch what I say 'cos I could wade in without thinking and hurt people, unintentionally.

I would say: just persevere with it. I find that, if you are honest with yourself, you'll see if you are fooling yourself eventually.

I prefer to learn things alone - it takes longer though. If you live in a city there may be a group you could join. Maybe go on a(nother) retreat to get some different experiences - being quiet may even be helpful in that case!

Oh, and I hope you get some more replies, 'cos this is also a support, hopefully. Good to get some differing views from members. A few "maybe"s in there but it is quite hard, as you say, to get things exactly right on a forum.

Sjaakie

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2017, 05:48:00 pm »
That's fine, your point is valid.  I don't think it's fair to completely disregard my post and consider me disillusioned though.

If you consider the source, you won't take it too personally.  Ground holds just about all of us in some degree of contempt, and can be a real buzz-kill.  I think he means well - he just has some layers if eccentricity on top of it.

If you're feeling greater isolation due to your practice, that is not good.  I'd suggest getting some in-person practice advice from a qualified meditation teacher and perhaps some counseling as well.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 08:18:43 pm »

...I’m caught in between two worlds...


There are lots of limitations while discussing in a forum, so I may not be able to know your full story. But from what you wrote, I can get an idea of your situation.

It seems that you have had certain level of realizations about futility of emotions, casual talks, personal opinions, and so on... Which might be parts of bigger realizations you might have had...

What's seen cannot be unseen. Once you are awake, it's not easy to forget the realizations and get back to the sleep of ignorance. And despite having all these issues, you are still pursuing meditation, that shows that you value your realizations and believe in your practice.

This phase will last for while. Eventually, if you are persistent in your practice, you will be on 'that' side, but if you give up, you may slowly forget the realizations and fall back to 'this' side.

Offline derekf208

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 09:12:42 pm »

...I’m caught in between two worlds...




It seems that you have had certain level of realizations about futility of emotions, casual talks, personal opinions, and so on... Which might be parts of bigger realizations you might have had...



        This...is...it.  It's like the Matrix when you can swallow the red pill. Insight meditation can be liberating, but to a degree because you have to go back into the world and be relatable to people again. Maybe some of you don't relate to awakening in this manner, but I do.   I don't like getting "caught up" in a lot of the themes of certain social situations anymore.  At first, I would go ahead and just buy back in to it, just to fit in, but it doesn't feel right at all.  Those old habits and defilements, I have no interest in falling back into.  It isn't the person I want to be anymore. 
        But because I am still a part of this society, and am still currently tied down to samsara, for many reasons(and yes, some of it is attachment), I therefore have to play certain roles.  I'm a son, a brother, a cousin, a friend.  I care about those people, for they have always been supportive and loving, and even when they're not(my mom hates that I'm buddhist) I understand why.  Because I understand their condition.  Some of them would be upset if I didn't come around anymore because I struggle with the unpleasant feelings of being quiet around them all the time now.  I can tell that it's weird for them.  I have to be compassionate to them, and myself at the same time.  To be friendly, but also genuine.  That's where I'm at, and I am thankful for everyones comments, I will be coming back to them for a while.

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 10:14:49 pm »

...I’m caught in between two worlds...




It seems that you have had certain level of realizations about futility of emotions, casual talks, personal opinions, and so on... Which might be parts of bigger realizations you might have had...



        This...is...it.  It's like the Matrix when you can swallow the red pill. Insight meditation can be liberating, but to a degree because you have to go back into the world and be relatable to people again. Maybe some of you don't relate to awakening in this manner, but I do.   I don't like getting "caught up" in a lot of the themes of certain social situations anymore.  At first, I would go ahead and just buy back in to it, just to fit in, but it doesn't feel right at all.  Those old habits and defilements, I have no interest in falling back into.  It isn't the person I want to be anymore. 
        But because I am still a part of this society, and am still currently tied down to samsara, for many reasons(and yes, some of it is attachment), I therefore have to play certain roles.  I'm a son, a brother, a cousin, a friend.  I care about those people, for they have always been supportive and loving, and even when they're not(my mom hates that I'm buddhist) I understand why.  Because I understand their condition.  Some of them would be upset if I didn't come around anymore because I struggle with the unpleasant feelings of being quiet around them all the time now.  I can tell that it's weird for them.  I have to be compassionate to them, and myself at the same time.  To be friendly, but also genuine.  That's where I'm at, and I am thankful for everyones comments, I will be coming back to them for a while.
Try to be authentic and to not seeing yourself 'with the eyes of others'.
What is stressful for you is the basic conflict that arises from self and other, 'I' and 'they'. you have to accept that 'the world' which stands for 'all the others', i.e. the whole collective of individuals around you, may appear ignorant as long as insight is shallow. But this appearance of this whole, 'the world', this collective, does not negate that there may be wise individuals as part of the ignorant collective who nevertheless are not buddhists. So even if insight is shallow you have to appropriately discern and distinguish. However there is no way to conform to the whole of the collective other than being ignorant oneself as long as insight is shallow and as long as there is this innate sentiment of self and other, 'I' and 'they'.
The only way to cut through this basic conflict is to dissolve this innate sentiment of self, i.e. to deepen insight. Only then all things will level out and you will be able to act and behave freely and spontaneously. Think about it. Maybe this outlook will already remove much of the burden.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 10:18:15 pm by ground »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 10:31:22 pm »
       Meditation, however, has helped make me a better listener.  I understand people and their circumstances on a deeper level now, I’m more empathetic, but I just don’t like to engage people too much with my opinions or worldly affairs anymore.
       
       It’s the feelings of awkwardness that are what troubles me, and I know that it’s strange for them too.  I also get a little scared that I’m becoming too distant, and possibly depriving myself from their love, and my love towards them. 


This is normal. You need to learn to let go of the paranoia and be firm in your practise. The answer is more detachment rather than less.

Also, only attend important social functions so people get to know you are not interested in trivial affairs.

Learn about the dhamma more, so you can understand peoples lives better, such as my post here:

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/introduction-time/hello-from-london!-i-have-beginner-questions/

Most people's lives are lost. By learning the dhamma & being a good listener, eventually you will talk to others about matters important to them; and they will learn to appreciate you.





« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 10:33:59 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 10:42:37 pm »
...
Most people's lives are lost.
This reminds me of Samana Johann.  :lmfao:

Offline Rahul

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2017, 01:37:59 am »
@Derekf208, I have been through this. At a certain point, my wife had told me that if this is my practice then I should find a separate place to live and practice by myself. While you enjoy the silence and the mindfulness (such as during dinner), it puts the other members of the family in very awkward situation.

Withdrawal from society can be a solution. Another one is being a part of the society, and sharing your insights with the people in need: at the right time, in a right manner, to a right level of depth only. Just observe around you, and you will see lots of people in suffering - mostly self-inflicted. And most of it can be overcome. Several friends and relatives of mine respect me for the reason that I helped them overcome their grief in one way or another. My conversations often take philosophical turn, and people do enjoy them. However, I choose the time and topic carefully so as to not to make people feel bored by the philosophy.

As time goes by, you will also encounter several people like you, who are interested in practicing Buddhism, and will become your companions on this quest.

As for 'playing roles', if you think again that shouldn't be a problem at all. What you are is a result of the support this society, this family, friends, relatives, the government... have provided to you. You wouldn't be you if you were left alone in a forest to grow up by yourself, won't you? So even if it all sounds illusion, you can't break free suddenly. You still need to eat, drink, sleep... I hope you get my drift. Why did Buddha choose to return back and teach to all those living in illusion?

Play all the roles, to the best. The key is not to get attached, and not letting the ego 'I'm doing or I have to do this' on you. You'll eventually find out that there's a way to live the life as usual and yet continue the practice to the fullest.

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2017, 02:43:52 am »
...Withdrawal from society can be a solution. ...
As time goes by, you will also encounter several people like you, who are interested in practicing Buddhism, and will become your companions on this quest.
...
If you withdraw from society then you should also withdraw from ordinary buddhists. Beware of ordinary buddhists when you have not yet deepened your insight since ordinary buddhists do not know anything validly but merely believe this or that. If this teacher say this, then they 'know', i.e. believe, this, and if that teacher says that, then they 'know', i.e. believe, that. Associating with ordinary budhists will inevitably draw you onto the erroneous route of mere belief wavering between believing this and believing that and constantly being accompanied by doubt. Only validly knowing for oneself entails imperturbable certainty. Once you have that imperturbable certainty you are independent of people's opinions and chatter and the kind of peer pressure prevalent among ordinary buddhists that follow a certain so called 'teacher' or tradition.

However withdraw from society actually isn't possible in present time since everything you need to survive is regulated by this society. So it would be a stupid endeavor to try to withdraw from society. Just keep a sound distance from others without fleeing them.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 03:54:14 am by ground »

Offline Pixie

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2017, 09:33:16 am »
Hello derekf208,

 Doing some regular Loving Kindness (Metta) practice might be worth trying.  It could help you to not only increase your compassion and develop better communication with others, but also be of benefit for your own mental states in general as well.

This is a 5 minute video with Metta instructions from Ajahn Jayasaro:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3_lqd4Sgfc

and here's a talk from Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK:

"How does Metta practice benefit the world"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJks9B4PaIw


With best wishes,


Pixie   _/|\_
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 01:35:37 pm by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline ground

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Re: Meditation and the effects on social life
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2017, 12:33:12 pm »
Now there is the situation that you receive different advices. But that is always like that: you enter a forum, post a question and then you receive advices based on the different beliefs of those who give advice. See? There is no way other than to come to validly know for yourself and to drop all beliefs.

 


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