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i feel so unenlightened.?

i hear about kundalini and chakras and i just dismiss it because it seems so far fetched to me. its hard for me to meditate without passing out. and i read that in the wheel that means i am more like an animal. not encouraging at all.
the whole buddhist thing seems so foreign to me. they’re speaking a whole different language. literally! and figuratively! i went to a ceremony in mandarin. and it didn’t even make a difference. i would of been just as confused in english.
how can i be more enlightened. i stick out like a sore thumb. i have an anxiety disorder too so its hard for me to be very calm for more than an hour without getting a sudden jolt of annoyance for no reason.
i don’t want to be a Bodhisattva or anything. just more enlightened and to have a greater comprehension.
another problem is i live in the US. and here buddhism is sort of a product to be sold in new age stores.
can you relate to this?

3 COMMENTS

  1. From my experience of 20 years in Buddhist centers, I can tell you that your situation is very common. Many people struggle with meditation, ceremony, and other aspects of Buddhism. (And, frankly, they should. Buddhism has been in the U.S. for less than 100 years and continues to feel very foreign to most of us.)
    Most people at most Buddhist centers are just like you in another way – they just want to live with less suffering and confusion in their life.
    The “Big E” – enlightenment – sounds like a nice fairy tale, but most of us would simply like to relate more easily with our partner or boss or parent. We’d like not to lash out at strangers. We want to relax our jaws when we go to sleep at night.
    In my experience, American Buddhism can help with all these things. Many Western Buddhists are genuinely sincere in their practice and commitment to help others. They have created thousands of Buddhist centers in this country where anyone can practice as part of a community of like-minded people.
    For this reason, I encourage you not to give up on finding a Buddhist community that can support you. A good teacher and warm-hearted community can help you settle into meditation practice (and your challenges have NOTHING to do with being an animal). In my experience as a teacher, very few people can sustain Buddhist practice without the support of a community. Practice does challenge us – it brings us face-to-face with ourselves, and most of us avoid that at all costs, most of the time.
    I have a great respect for many of the Buddhist traditions that are represented in the U.S. That said, some may provide a better match for you than others, given your temperament. You might consider centers in these traditions:
    – Insight meditation centers. These offer a no-nonsense, non-woo-woo form of meditation practice.
    – Mindfulness communities (established by Thich Nhat Hanh). These tend to be warm-hearted groups that take a gentle approach to practice.
    – Zen centers. This is my tradition, but I mention it with some hesitation. Some Zen centers are very regimented and hard-core. Others are much more welcoming. You might especially be interested in centers within the Korean Zen tradition, which tend to be kind of grandmotherly.
    Links to listings for these traditions are below.
    Best wishes on your path!

  2. First, you do not have to be a Buddhist to be enlightened. That is one way in a person’s spiritual path but not the only way. There is actually no one way to enlightenment.
    You can buy books on spiritual topics or find a New Age bookstore and ask about classes. You have to take this one day at a time and not try and do everything at once. You are an eternal being and there is no time limit on growing spiritually. This is a continuing process.
    If you have a difficult time meditating, start with 5 or 10 minutes and slowly work your way up after time.
    Best wishes

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