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Lonely, Broke and Submissive


If you consider that most meditation teachings have been propagated by monks, and therefore are flavored with the monastic approach to spirituality, then it makes sense that denial is put forth as the Path itself.

Wait a minute, you might think: monks are perfect, gentle, wonderful beings who we should fall down and worship.

Call it what you like, monks take vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. This helps them to adapt to life in a monastery. The monk path takes somewhat literally the sentiment expressed by Jesus in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Buddha looked at his wife sleeping, and was disgusted with her, so he abandoned her and his newborn son, and fled to the forest to became a wandering monk.

A major trend in meditation historically is cultivating the sense of disgust with the world, with material things, with bodies, with love and sex. Why? The story goes that soon after his first son was born, Buddha looked at his wives sleeping, and felt disgust, so he snuck out in the middle of the night and abandoned them.

If you study with a teacher who is a monk, swami, lama or roshi, you may wind up lonely, broke and submissive, because the techniques you are practicing are designed to gradually undermine your individuality and break your connection with life as you know it. The meditation teachings of the world are permeated by monk-think, which is to deny sexuality, deny the body, deny the rebellious independent spirit, deny creativity, deny personal relationships, deny bonds or attachments, deny love unless it is "divine" love, and deny money and material things. This is a profound path, by the way, and it works sometimes to create luminous personalities. But if your destiny is not to be a monk, then it's like taking medication for an illness you do not have – the medication itself will make you sick.

It is not unusual for married couples break up because one of them becomes involved with Buddhism, and then gradually over time internalizes the anti-life teachings. Here in the real world, as opposed to the fantasy life of monks, people don't actually have enough time to have sex. Quiet time together is precious for couples, whether they have children in the house or not. It does not take much to disrupt the peaceful intimacy and bonding that helps to maintain the alliance of a marriage. When one person or both start to become distracted by toxic teachings, they can quickly start to dissolve the bond of their marriage along with their attachments. And this is intended by the techniques – they are designed to poison you against your daily life so that you become a drifter, detached, dissociated, and ready to embark on what Buddha called "Going forth into homelessness."

A lot of therapists and meditators are going to have to research this for years to come. My impressions based on my own monastic phases and the clients I have worked with over the past 35 years is not enough. Many people will have to work this over for a decade and come up with a realistic assessment of the positive and negative effects of householder populations being exposed to hatred meditations.

Another big issue about Buddhism in general is that so many of the teachings are so totally irrelevant to living, that in general they lead people to take their eye off the ball of adapting to the world. After all, if you don't exist, and the best thing to do is realize you don't exist, and the world does not exist, then why defend your country? I would think that Buddhist countries have trouble defending their borders, because they do not respect boundaries in general.

Therefore when you are reading meditation literature, or listening to people talk about it, be aware that some of the ideas and practiced being discussed are like food, and some are medicinal and toxic, and only to be taken in appropriate measures.