Some Questions to Contemplate

Some questions to contemplate…
The devastating shock of my father’s unexpected death led me to TBLD and the R organization. What led you to R?
I stayed in longer than I should have, ignoring my feelings and common sense. If that sounds familiar to you, why did you stay as long as you did?
If you are shocked and unsure of how to proceed, what would it feel like not to jump immediately back into the teachings or looking for a new teacher—a new and better way to do things? What might it feel like to just sit with the feelings that are arising for a bit? To be “adrift” without someone at the top telling you what to do?
When someone comes forward to tell their story of abuse, what would it feel like to just listen rather than giving a dharma lesson or talk about “seeing both sides” (loving SR but hating the actions) or stressing “harmony” or recommending new teachers or explaining how you personally didn’t witness any abuse? (I know from my own experience that any of the aforementioned responses had the effect of shutting me down. I felt utterly unheard and alone.) The “Three Wisdom Tools” are listening and hearing / contemplation and reflection / meditation and action.  Is it possible to simply listen and really HEAR what the person is saying?
To those who have been hurt by SR and the R sangha, it is my hope that you find a place (this group or elsewhere) where you can LET IT FLY: the laughter, the tears, the confusion, the anger…all of the mess that makes you (and all of us) so beautifully human. You have suffered, and you don’t have to be neat and proper as you work your way through it.
Written by James Morgan.  This post was first published in the What Now? Facebook Group.  On request, James kindly gave his permission to share it here.
If you have any thoughts to share, let us know in the comments. Please use initials rather than full names when referring to teachers and organizations.

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4 Replies to “Some Questions to Contemplate”

  1. Good one James. I have been guilty of not just listening. I tend to always want to ease people’s pain, so I jump ahead too fast, and in my attempt to offer support I have likely only given a bloody great brick wall. I have neglected to realize that just listening fully is enough. Thanks for the reminder.
    I’m thinking now that it would be helpful for me to go into the forest and yell all my frustration at a tree while visualizing it as a certain person who has damaged even those who didn’t experience the abuse personally, but whose trust he badly betrayed.
    Really, even whilst viewing the whole situation with compassion for all involved one has to admit that the whole thing stinks so much so that, for many, it’s tainted even the good he’s done. What a terrible shame.

  2. I’m certainly guilty of trying to harmonize. I am very sensitive and anger can effect me on a body level. This is a good reminder not to try to suppress another person’s emotions, but also to find ways to take care of myself so I don’t take it on in an unhealthy way. Thank you, James.

  3. Thank you James, good questions! For me TBLD was an entirely accidental purchase, and I chanced upon a public lecture. R provided classes that dealt with the teachings, rather than just sitting. So I stayed, even though I was very sceptical about all that weird Tibetan stuff. But I figured, as long as it doesn’t bother me, I won’t bother it. I stayed because gradually I began to understand deeper and deeper, and in doing so I was helped enormously to work with quite a lot of darkness. Over the years, my refuge has become very steady. And slowly devotion developed, by experiencing the truth of them in me.
    So in a sense I did ‘jump to the teachings’, but for me sitting with all that comes up is exactly what these teachings would tell me to do. I myself did not get a message from someone on the top telling me what to do, but that could just be me. I’m not really cued in… And I tried to listen. I have my own history of pain and I know from personal experience very well how horrible it is to just have your own experience invalidated and blamed on your own failure by the very people you turn to for help.
    In regards to ‘loving SR but hating the actions’, it’s not so much an intellectual response, but just the truth that I experience. “Love” is almost to small a word to describe the depth of the spiritual connection and the immense gratitude for the immensely precious teachings he gave me. That is the truth I found when I turned inward, that there was just no way I could do away with that, even if all this was indeed true which I would be very much not okay with. I still don’t know how to hold these two together, but I have no choice but to somehow them all be. Let it fly, as you said.
    If I ever come off as not wanting to hear, please just let me know. I am a person of many words, they come out because I sit with them a lot. It’s just my way of working things through emotionally. And I cannot stand to see someone’s pain, so sometimes I respond too quick wanting to fix things. I’m one of those darned reaching out, smoothing out, let’s see and listen and find common ground people. Anger and rage terrifies me, I am really very, very fearful inside. But I know the messiness of it all is exactly what life is about. And these are times to be courageous and not withdraw or look away.

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