How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Using the Buddha’s teachings to preserve and enhance our well-being, as we engage with the world
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SethRich
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How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by SethRich » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:40 pm

Greetings,

There is so much suffering in the world.

How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering, whilst remaining engaged with the world?

Metta,
:candle:

binocular
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by binocular » Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:43 am

SethRich wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:40 pm
How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering, whilst remaining engaged with the world?
By ceasing to virtue-signal.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:19 am

SethRich wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:40 pm
Greetings,

There is so much suffering in the world.

How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering, whilst remaining engaged with the world?

Metta,
:candle:
There is so much joy in the world.
How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's joy, whilst remaining engaged with the world?

:meditate:
Kim

Wizard in the Forest
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:41 am

Development of Upekkha.

Here's how to practice it. Begin with knowing about the particular thing that is causing you to feel painful compassion.

Ask yourself;

Is this disturbance caused by other people?

If so, remember you cannot change other people, they have to want to change themselves. Offer solace and comfort from what you can, but you cannot control them. You can change how you treat them, how you react to them, your opinions and judgments of them, and your relationship with them. Everything else is a matter of how much influence you have over their willingness to change.

Is it a disturbance not caused by other people? (e.g. natural disasters, events in the past, today's weather)

Then do what you can for today. You can't control the world around you, or change the past so give to others what you can and expect the world to accept what it can for today, but the rest will be out of your control. You cannot change the past, but you can reappraise, apologize, forgive, let go, take responsibility for yourself, learn, purge introjected regulations, change the present and the future, and move forward. Accurate appraisal of what you are able to do to change a situation allows you not to fall into the trap of overestimating yourself and falling into a trap of "nothing can be done" self-victimhood or apathy. Realistic assessment shows what you can control. There is a middle way here.

Is it a disturbance you cause yourself ?

If so, then these are things you can change, things you can control, and things you can bring meaningful effort into making better in reality.

Remember these for any situation and apply them with daily meditation.

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VividAwareness
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by VividAwareness » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:06 pm

SethRich wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:40 pm
Greetings,

There is so much suffering in the world.

How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering, whilst remaining engaged with the world?

Metta,
:candle:
Can you describe what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

When paying attention to the experience of being 'overwhelmed', where in the totality of your personal existence does it first appear?

When paying attention to 'overwhelmed', what is your first reaction?

If 'overwhelmed' could speak to you in English, what would it say?

What would be the personal consequence/s of just letting 'overwhelmed' be 'overwhelmed'. Of just paying attention to it?
“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way people think.”

- Gregory Bateson, anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, semiotician, and cyberneticist

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: How to avoid becoming frustrated that things are not as we feel they should be?

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:51 pm

And sometimes . . . .


(This was on an occasion when HHDL was teaching on bodhicitta and told the story of the old dying monk who prayed the prayer in my signature.)

DS
"As far as social economic theory is concerned, I am Marxist. " ~ HHDL

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KathyLauren
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by KathyLauren » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm

There is a parable that can be found in various forms on the Web...

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”


Om mani padme hum
Kathy

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VividAwareness
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by VividAwareness » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:27 am

KathyLauren wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm
There is a parable that can be found in various forms on the Web...

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”


Om mani padme hum
Kathy
Very nice ... and it tells us something about "Engaged" Dharma and "Social Action" Dharma too. We don't have to turn these into a big production ... we do what we can as circumstances present, knowing that we'll never save all the starfish or fix all the problems in the world ... and that isn't the point of the "engaged" and "social action" bits. They are both practices (exercises) which implies medicine ... this medicinal ritual practice of deep felt effective engagement (like the child's wholehearted engagement) is meant to crack open our heart so that the ritual practice of "not turning away" becomes our default vision, with far extending beneficial effects.
“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way people think.”

- Gregory Bateson, anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, semiotician, and cyberneticist

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egon
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by egon » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:24 am

VividAwareness wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:27 am
KathyLauren wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm
There is a parable that can be found in various forms on the Web...

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”


Om mani padme hum
Kathy
Very nice ... and it tells us something about "Engaged" Dharma and "Social Action" Dharma too. We don't have to turn these into a big production ... we do what we can as circumstances present, knowing that we'll never save all the starfish or fix all the problems in the world ... and that isn't the point of the "engaged" and "social action" bits. They are both practices (exercises) which implies medicine ... this medicinal ritual practice of deep felt effective engagement (like the child's wholehearted engagement) is meant to crack open our heart so that the ritual practice of "not turning away" becomes our default vision, with far extending beneficial effects.
Standing ovation over here
_________________________________
"Be excellent to each other" -Bill & Ted

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:53 am

Courtesy of FB.

:coffee:

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Ayu
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Ayu » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:48 am

Micheal Moore for President. He's so intelligent. It's true - I can't stand Trump's face since one year and I follow his stagings only superficially. It's too much for my nervous system.
I bet Trump knows that he's driving a lot of people crazy and this must be part of his plan from the beginning.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:35 am

An excellent list of techniques -
We are living in what the old Chinese curse would call ‘interesting times’. Climate change, species extinction, terrorism, the refugee crisis, drought, flood, famine, populist movements, radical changes to the established world order – make your own list. For Buddhists, hiding our heads in the sand and ignoring it all isn’t really an option. Our basic stance is surely that we are practising the Dharma to help ourselves and benefit the world.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that it’s wonderful that we care, that we are concerned about problems like the refugee crisis, warfare, climate change, and so on. We do have good hearts, and we want to respond to these situations. However, sadly we can sometimes end up feeling paralysed by them, and unable to respond effectively.

Why is this? It seems to me that much of our society suffers from a kind of deadly duo of low self-esteem in relation to ourselves, and horrified anxiety in relation to what is happening in the world. That’s a very unfortunate combination. It easily leads us to feel powerless, for what could someone like me ever do about all this? The everyday manifestation of this is often a feeling of being overwhelmed.

This tendency to overwhelm seems so common these days, even among Buddhist practitioners, that I’d like to offer you some suggestions for dealing with it. So here is a list of 20 points ...
They are all good. :reading: http://www.vessantara.net/home/talks-an ... -overwhelm

:namaste:
Kim

denise
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by denise » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:45 pm

hello all...i just read the article about 20 points...it was very good...thanks Kim!

Kamran
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kamran » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:16 pm

I started using Thich Nhat Hanh’s Gathas during the day.

These are little poems or phrases you repeat to yourself when you wake up, eat, wash, etc.

Here are a couple examples, its fun to create your own, too:

Waking Up Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at beings with eyes of compassion.

Impermanence The day is ending and our life is one day shorter. Let us look carefully at what we have done. Let us practice diligently, putting our whole heart into the path of meditation. Let us live deeply each moment and in freedom, so the time doesn’t slip away meaninglessly.

DeadCircuits
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by DeadCircuits » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:04 pm

I think the fact that we can have access to more information about the sheer depths of suffering in the world could potentially cause us to feel overwhelmed. Before the internet we could obviously read distressing stuff in newspapers, but that was relatively contained. Now you could have an app, or some kind of feed giving you constant bad news updates. Even if you aren't specifically accessing your devices for news updates, you might still see them and end up getting sucked in when checking your emails and such.

Of course it is good to be aware of what is going on in the world, especially if you want to be engaged in doing something to alleviate the suffering out there, but I think it can easily be overwhelming if you don't limit it or counteract against it. I decided to delete the news app off my phone, because it was becoming something that I just checked countless times a day, and I felt overwhelmed by it all. Now if I want news, at least I have to open a browser and search for news updates rather than just getting them far more often than I really needed to. I feel like my level of feeling overwhelmed by all the bad stuff, and the anxiety it can cause (mostly from the political news) was diminished completely.

Another thing that helped me greatly was to make a conscious effort to look for good news too. News often tends to be negative in it's nature, so it's worth reflecting on where we have made progress, and the good things that people are doing out there so that your view isn't skewed towards the world seeming like a dark place full of suffering. If we look at trends over time, things have actually got better in a lot of ways for a large portion of the world's population. Yes there is a lot of pain in the world, but there is also a lot of people doing amazing things to help and uplift others. It's worth looking at both sides of the spectrum.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:11 pm

All true, and your response is sensible, but I particularly wanted to comment on this bit:
DeadCircuits wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:04 pm
Another thing that helped me greatly was to make a conscious effort to look for good news too. News often tends to be negative in it's nature, so it's worth reflecting on where we have made progress, and the good things that people are doing out there so that your view isn't skewed towards the world seeming like a dark place full of suffering. If we look at trends over time, things have actually got better in a lot of ways for a large portion of the world's population. Yes there is a lot of pain in the world, but there is also a lot of people doing amazing things to help and uplift others. It's worth looking at both sides of the spectrum.
News often tends to be negative because danger grabs our attention more strongly than safety, and the news organisations (who are selling a product, of course) know this. "If it bleeds, it leads" is an old journalistic motto. There are good evolutionary reasons why danger and death attract our attention so strongly (those who didn't pay attention to sabre-tooth tigers didn't live long enough to become our ancestors :tongue: ) but now we can, as you say, find far more negative stories than we could possibly need. (In the same way, "eat all the food you can find" was good evolutionary sense but now we can find find far more food than is good for our health.)

Yes, things are better than we think. There's a book about it, and I mentioned it here - viewtopic.php?f=11&t=184&start=60#p3086 - a couple of days ago.

:namaste:
Kim

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to avoid being overwhelmed by the world's suffering?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:27 am

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