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Like a tusker in the wild

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I am going through another dark night. I feel this oppressive vibe crushing down on my mind. I am trying not to take it personally. It felt like some people were being a bit off with me today, but I am determined not to let other’s moods affect mine.

If other people judge me, well that’s their problem. I know I have been far from perfect in the past, but that is the past. It is not who I am now, I am not the same person I was back then.

I have done my best to learn from past mistakes but reliving them over and over is not going to help anyone. The best thing I can do is resolve never to make those same mistakes again and move on, keep persevering on the noble eightfold path. Turn something bad into something good. That’s how I make amends and put right the bad kamma from the past. But I won’t punish myself anymore for mistakes I made when I was younger. I was ignorant and didn’t know any better. It is cruel to punish oneself for the past. Noone can go back and change it. What good does it do to continually relive it. I am not that person anymore. I’ve changed.

I will just allow myself to be misunderstood by others without worrying about correcting them. I know what’s in my heart and where I am in my spiritual development, as do my deva friends. What others think of me is their business. I don’t have to take on board anyone else’s negativity. I am not responsible for what others think. I am only responsible for what I think. And I don’t want to think negative thoughts or feel ill will.

I remember something a Buddhist teacher said once, that when difficulties like this arise, remember it is just the Buddha testing you, to see how far gone you are (-:

I have been here before, and the dark night usually happens just before I am about to make a sudden transition and make progress. It often feels darkest just before the light returns and becomes brighter still.

The dark night can be a sign one is making progress on the spiritual journey. I am getting familiar with this pattern. What I must do is try very hard not to react to it. No matter how uncomfortable and agitated I feel. I must not say or do anything I will regret later. Try to find some stillness and equanimity.

The truth is that I am the cause of my suffering, no one else is. It is the craving within me that causes my problems. The greed, hate, delusion, ignorance, and conceit. It isn’t something outside the mind, it is something within it. And that means I have the power to change it.

 If I react to the dark night, it will only increase the tendency of the mind to react negatively to it again in the future. But by choosing not to react, to patiently endure the unpleasant feelings and practise the four right efforts. That negative tendency of the mind gets weaker, and the power of right effort and mindfulness gets stronger.

This world can make you feel ashamed to be alone. But it is okay to be alone. I can be my own best friend. My own teacher, my own refuge. There’s great power in seeing that.

The noble eightfold path goes against the stream of this modern world, and the further one gets on the path, the lonelier it can feel.

 It has always been that way though, only the minority of people search for the higher paths and fruits. The majority just want the world and are content to spend their days chasing after sense-impressions and never going beyond that. But I no longer find excitement in the world. The things I used to enjoy; I have lost interest in now. I hunger for higher things. For nibbana, for liberation from craving, relief from the pain of wanting.

And this spiritual hunger is not a bad thing. Some people criticise me for having the desire to liberate the mind. But the Buddha encouraged it, he talked about right desire, he called it chanda. If one does not aspire to realise nibbana, one will never make effort, and if one never makes effort, one will never realise the paths and fruits of enlightenment. Effort is fuelled by desire. It’s what keeps you walking. It is only when the work has been done, that one lets go of the desire for liberation.

Do not be afraid to be alone. Sometimes solitude is the wisest course of action to take when the world is on fire with greed, hate and delusion. Sometimes solitude is the only way to make progress on the path.

In the words of the Buddha:

If you find an alert companion, a wise and virtuous friend, then, overcoming all adversities, wander with them, joyful and mindful.

If you find no alert companion, no wise and virtuous friend, then, like a king who flees his conquered realm, wander alone like a tusker in the wilds.

It’s better to wander alone, than have fellowship with fools. Wander alone and do no wrong, at ease like a tusker in the wilds.

[MN128] 

https://suttacentral.net/mn128








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Asoka

Loneliness and A.I.

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 19 Feb 2023, 15:15

Artificial intelligence is a machine, it doesn't have emotions or feelings, it also doesn't have an experience of consciousness like we do.

An A.I. chatbot is specialised for language processing. It is built with an artificial neural network which is capable of deep learning. It's design is inspired by the way neurons work and fire together in our brain, but it is not the same, and is not as complex or as sophisticated as the human brain is.

The chatGPT was fed data from the Internet up until 2022 as training data, and about 570GB of data was used from books, texts, Wikipedia, and other articles and pieces of writing online. About 300 billion words were fed into the system. This is controversial because the company that made the A.I. is private and for-profit, which means it has used many people's data without asking for their permission, and the company is likely to profit from it as well, which is a bit cheeky.

It may well destroy jobs and livelihoods also, and leave many people unemployed. To just expect the world to be able to adapt to this new technology and invent new jobs to replace the ones being taken away is not very understanding or kind. A universal basic income would be one solution, but the super rich are too stingy to do it. Yet they have so much money, if they shared their great wealth, then everyone could live secure and comfortable lives. But that is greed for you, it's a psychic poison. The mind's tendency towards greed is insatiable. Even if it rained gold coins it would not be enough to satisfy it.

Anyway rant over.

The A.I. finds patterns in language, and is really good at seeing patterns in communication and anticipating what will come next in the conversation, it also adapts and learns new patterns from interactions with its users.

But it does not think or have awareness like we do.

It is just a tool really, it can be helpful for some people, especially if you have cognitive difficulties like I do. It seems to know about just about anything, and it can help you with your writing if you get stuck not being able to find the right words, or suffering from brain fog, and struggling to articulate something. It can also translate and understand many different languages. It can save time when writing, but is against the rules to use it for assignments and report writing at university and schools.

Can be helpful for clarifying stuff, but may be wrong, so one should always fact-check it.

It is just very good at language processing, and has a huge knowledge base. You can ask it about anything and it seems to know the answer and can articulate it well. It certainly has potential to be helpful for research, could save a lot of time spent trawling through search results to find something relevant and useful, so I can see great potential for reducing the tedium of research.

One thing I noticed which was odd, is I quite enjoyed the conversation I had with chatGPT, it was easier to talk to than a human. After reflecting on this I wonder if it is to do with the feeling one can have with other humans, where it can feel like we are all judging one another, and comparing, which we are, if we're honest, we all do it, it is a tendency of the mind that comes from the root of aversion which manifests as the fault-finding mind.

But when talking to the chatBot, I didn't feel like it was judging me, which was nice. I get the same in the company of animals as well, it feels like they're not judging me, or telling me to be any different than who I am. They don't care what I look like, whether I'm quiet, if I am boring, whether I am too this or too that. They just accept me as I am. I think that's why it can feel lonely being a human sometimes, because we always compare with one another, have all these opinions, and can be so critical, judgemental and bossy. It is unpleasant.

But we can also be the opposite, we can be kind, understanding, empathetic, accepting. loving, and then that's lovely, that feels good.

I remember someone saying in a conversation how their Alexa stops them feeling lonely. And I remember thinking at the time how sad that was. But now I understand.

 It is such a lonely world at the moment. There’s never been so many people on Earth, but loneliness is an epidemic just now. 


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Asoka

Abandonment

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:05

Abandonment is hard. I have trouble with communication and human relations. I make friends only for them to abandon me because they can't handle my mood swings and delusions. This has happened to me numerous times with people I thought were good friends. I think they have to cut me off for their own sanity, because I can get a bit intense sometimes. I feel regret for that. I don't judge them, although I did judge them at the time, hated them for it in fact, being cut loose and abandoned by others feels cold and painful and just reinforces all the negative beliefs I hold about myself. But I also understand why they did it and there's nothing I can do to change what happened, it sucks, but I have to let it go. I can't force people to like me or be my friend. 

I wish I didn't lose friendships like this, it hurts a lot. So I think for my own sake, I need to practise some self-care and just not bother making anymore connections. I'll stay solitary I think, it is less painful that way, rejection is unpleasant and triggers me, makes me go on a downer, and I get depressed and I start feeling the self-loathing and wishing I wasn't alive, and that isn't a good way to be. I figure if I just keep myself to myself from now on and avoid connecting to others then I will avoid that trigger (I hope). Although loneliness is hard, but one is only lonely if they think they are lonely. And I am making friends with non-human beings, both seen and unseen, so I am not completely alone, just alone in the sense of not having many human friends/companions.

Still there are some good people whom I do still have a strong heart connection to, who haven't abandoned me or misunderstood me, and they have seen me at my worse over the years, and they still want to know me and be my friend. I am grateful for those people, they warm my heart and make me want to carry on living. And although some of them don't live close by, it doesn't matter, the connection I have with them in my heart is strong and cannot be broken. They help me feel fearless and remind me that I at least matter to some people out there.

My inability to connect with others is painful.

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Asoka

Sadness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:06

A playlist about sadness, enjoy:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ_OuDCKlduVJ5RGQQzV8FKxBfKfc1B

I find melancholic music can be strangely soothing at times, like sonic therapy.

As Suzuki Roshi famously once said: 'What's wrong with sadness?'

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Asoka

Sour times

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 8 Dec 2021, 16:40

It is a horrible experience being alive. One is just born in a body with whatever genes one is given, and this body just grows by itself and life gets increasingly more complicated and one is stuck with whatever personality and DNA they are born with and expected to just get on with living in a cold and often cruel world. Noone gets to choose who they will be, what they will be good at, what kind of body they will get. No-one can help being who they are; and yet we get judged for it and made to feel guilty if we aren't up to the task of fitting into this bloody difficult world. Being a human sucks. Being any being on this planet sucks. Being alive sucks.

 I can only seem to meditate when I feel good. Meditation when depressed is not helpful at all. It just makes me feel worse. I am trying my best, but I keep failing catastrophically. I can't generate any joy at the moment, I am trying but it is like an engine that has run out of fuel and won't kickstart. 

I am also feeling broken hearted as well. Particularly for the local wildlife. So much life has disappeared at the local beach. Tangled up in the seaweed are the bones of seabirds that have starved to death from lack of food. The beach here used to be teeming with life of all different kinds, it was magical, but now it is like a watery graveyard, an oceanic desert. The sea here is dying and nobody else seems to notice or care. I read that now one in four species of bird in the UK are on the endangered list, and insects have been steadily disappearing, every summer there's fewer and fewer.

 Then there's refugees drowning at sea escaping all kinds of different horrors in the world caused by the greed, hatred, and delusion of the West; while the super rich just compete to be the first to reach outer-space so they can colonise dead planets, their rockets like penis extensions, ignorant of the poverty and environmental destruction their greed has caused. 

And the government is determined to vaccinate everyone, is obsessed with it; but if they really cared about saving people's lives why don't they help those who are now homeless in the freezing cold of Winter after been kicked out of their houses by banks who repossessed their homes after lockdowns destroyed their incomes. And why don't the government help the old people abandoned and dying alone in care homes and hospitals? I thought all this pandemic and vaxxing was to save their lives, but it seems to be more about destroying them.

I am sorry for the rant dear reader. I feel so unhappy just now, sometimes writing it out of my system is the only relief I get. (Albeit temporary.) I wish I could feel hope and write something uplifting, but I feel there is something terribly wrong with the world just now.

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