SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does "dropping out like the Buddha" mean to you? Can you share a personal experience of a time you dropped out of extremes to find your peace? What helps you cultivate balance?
I've been reading "The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, " by Cynthia Bourgeault. From this book's perspective Mary was crucial to Jesus' development, insight, blossoming. This perspective resonates with me in a deep way, as yet another truth forgotten (concealed?) by those who write our histories. Thank you so much for pointing out the crucial role of the 'milk maiden' in the Buddha's journey. Neither Mary nor Buddha's unnamed 'nurse,' are given proper credit.
I think we have to be clear that "dropping out" in these terms is actually applying strong effort to move in an alternate direction, a direction that would infer an alternative approach to the one we are habitually take.
We can "drop out" anytime we are approached with adverse conditions (even as mental thoughts and feelings approach) and see out habitual fears, anxiety, stress, and anger arise. We can "drop out" by stopping instead of reacting and coming back to our breath, a neutral and therefor calming element. We have to become very aware in order to do this and be clear how the current conditions are affecting out body and mind. From this clarity, this understanding, this discernment, and this awareness we then have an option because we are aware and not caught. We can now disengage in whatever way we can in order to come back to our immediate needs and begin the process of balancing ourselves.
Far from "dropping out" however, this is actively engaging and looking adversity and suffering right in the "eye". Standing up, not backing down, being strong and not turning your back in fear or habitual reactivity.
The most dangerous man is the one with no self doubt. WIth a little bit of material prosperity in one hand, and enough of a feel of dharma in the other, such a man declares that which he doesn't understand to be either irrelevant, non-existent, or colored wholly with the shade of his own wrong view. The result is to re-injure the world in the ways one is broken because of the inability to confront the blind spot that self-doubt points toward. How to wake up such a man before his actions drive past the point of oblivion? This kind of man is a metaphor for a slightly awakened western civilization as well, possessing prosperity and a little bit of understanding of the subtle, while unconsciously destroying everying it does not understand.
Hi - wonderful sharing, thank you. "Dropping out" could remind us to not immediately/mindlessly react to what we perceive as real, that could be a person we think we know, an emotion we are experiencing, a static view. An impulse we feel very strongly about and want to act on can be unwise action. "Dropping back" I think is more the middle path - to 'drop out' seems to imply completley - to withdraw all the way when we know that this is delusional - interconnectiveness/interbeing includes us and we are needed and need to be connected but connected to wisdom. Droppingout like the Buddha means going deeper - afterall he shared and so is present with us today, 2500plus years later.
The only Way to save the world is from the inside out. Start by saving your self (for most of us that in itself is a life's time of work), then work your Way outwards toward your family, then your friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers...
Matthew 6:24 tells me that I cannot serve two Masters. From this, Isaiah hits the homerun for peace and balance. (Isaiah 40 says it all!) To make straight my personal highway to God (Who is Peace) I try to keep Him the center of my attention. Going from extremely Catholic to extremely Christian ... cultivated the peace I have in the balance of the two.
When my husband and I were were in the dating phase of our relationship. My focus was on him. When my husband and I married 34 years ago, my focus was on him. As a lover of God, my focus is on Him. Any distractions are meant to be cut away. In God, the pressure is taken off of me "to perform", In Him I can go anywhere and do anything as HE leads me. I have GREAT balance when I keep my focus on HIM.
Middle path provides a transcendental perspective and vision. Either or is a dualistic perspective causing split, divisiveness, imbalance, separateness and disharmony. These are the ingredients of pain, suffering and destruction. Religious, political and ideological wars have been wedged through out history by holding on to the bipolar extremist and rigid positions.The perspective which mindfully relates to opposite perspectives opens an avenue of inclusiveness and connectedness.
I have a few friends who hold the extremist view"our way is the only right way" for every one's salvation. Sadly, such a view excludes others like me who have a different spiritual orientation. It is my position that Truth is one which is realized and expressed in different ways by different people. Dalai Lama calls it "secular spirituality". According to Dalai Lama anyone can follow their chosen spiritual path without judging and putting down other's spiritual path ways. This is the middle way, a way to create universal harmony.
May we relate to others who are different from us with mindfulness, open -mindedness and open- heartedness!
Martin Luther King advocated nonviolence. Speaking truth doesn't mean violence or even anger. We can object and speak truth nonviolently. The Buddha didn't face the reality of suffering -- he faced the reality of pain. The point isn't to end suffering; the point is to end suffering that is ineffective and creates unnecessary pain. He learned, possibly precipitated by the milkmaid, how to suffer pain efficiently, in a way that is in harmony with life rather than fighting life. We never know anything for sure. We definitely can do the best with what we have -- we can do right action. Dropping out is action, it's not doing nothing. Dropping out can mean accepting one's truth, not accepting the given story. I have dropped out of the company line and dropped into my line, and found my peace. Life is made of opposites or dialectics, such as life and death, individuality and belonging, right brain and left brain, role and personhood, and an important part of my truth is finding balance in the dialectics, not by rule but by discovery.[Hide Full Comment]
I needed this so very much today, thank you for the perfect reading and reflection. I currently live in Washington DC which given the current political administration is incredibly challenging. Nearly everyone I know is deep in their activism to the point of exhaustion, constantly claiming, "we cannot stop, we cannot rest, we must resist." I am observing them (and myself who chose to sit in compassion for all sides and honestly, that space can come with exhaustion too) I see how so many of the people I care about are sick and tired and need a break. My own Depression returned 2 weeks ago and is the deepest I've felt in quite a while. It was my mind and body reminding me to take a break, to "drop out like Buddha" and to self-care, reflect, sleep, go for walks, and sit in quiet. It was also a reminder to reach out to others for support rather than so often being the source of support. I am moving through one day, sometimes one hour at a time, seeking to be gentle with myself and seeking to return to center. Cultivating balance is a process and for those of us who are "recovering overachievers" or living in a society/culture where "crazy busy" is worn like a badge it can be an even bigger challenge because of judgment from others. What also helps me are habits like Awakin's readings and meditation, Daily Good which is how I start every day, taking time to simply be and breathe and when the darkness comes, to know the light returns and it is more than OK, it is Necessary to drop out like Buddha in order to be of service for anyone and to be healthy for myself. <3 Thank you again for exactly what I needed today. <3[Hide Full Comment]