Alone

I have spent a great deal of time alone over this prior weekend and, sitting here as I am right now, I am surprised at just how discontented I am with it. In the past, it hasn’t bothered me, and often was quite pleasant, so this has come to be quite a shock to me.

I’ve also become acquainted with a little insight on just how out-of-control my mind really can be. It has been difficult to devote time to meditation for some time now, but I see that I will need to put forth a lot more effort toward the practice lest I be overrun completely by the mind.

I’m not really sure what the root cause of my difficulties has been, and that is the odd thing. It seems implausible that one might devise a plan of action without knowing precisely what one is acting for… or against. Even when I have a period of few distractions (like this weekend), the energy has just been weak.

I think, in a way, I’m fearful that I will prefer being alone and, upon the family’s return, become irritable or resentful.

“A householder or householder’s son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathagata and reflects: ‘Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?’

What if, indeed.

In the meantime, I prepare for work and will be glad to return home to my wife and children, who by that time should be resting peacefully.

And then I won’t be alone.

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2 comments

  1. Your post reminded me of a story I once heard. I’m not a good storyteller and I can’t find the original to cut-and-paste so I will just give a brief summary. “A holy man who has spent years alone up a mountain finally becomes enlightened. He makes his way back down the mountain. His disciple rushes up to him excitedly, tugs at his sleeves and asks him lots of questions. The holy man calmly answers the disciple’s questions. The disciple continues to pester the holy man with questions. The holy man angrily snaps at the disciple. Then he turns around and wearily heads back up the mountain.”
    My point is that it is easy to be calm and centred when you’ve gone forth. There is nobody there who knows how to push your buttons like your family does. I also know the difficulties of trying to combine meditation and family life. I have learned to be grateful for the lessons in patience and so on. I’ve realised that family life offers a fast-track to knowing myself better. I just make sure that I go on retreat every now and then for a dharma top-up!

  2. Bro, May you be Well and Happy! with metta

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