21 July 2013

The Dilemma of the Quiet Ones

Many stay in the background at Satsang, or stay even further behind just reading this blog.  They may never have a real teacher an perhaps never a deep love relationship, for such are too frightening and challenging.  What to do> Love them, accept them.

Sometimes they find it easier to establish closer relationships with other members of the sangha, and that is their entry to returning to love.


Hello Ed,

My tendency is to sit in the back row, like I do in satsangs with you, not saying anything or risking engagement. With your help, I have located the sense of happiness, which is sometimes blissful. However, I usually cannot maintain it in the presence of others, at least not for long. I experience that happiness "internally", but not expressively. There is no love in that bliss, except perhaps in a generalized, non-personal way. So even these experiences of happiness become justifications for not engaging others. That happiness seems to decrease to the degree I engage. My paranoid reaction to this is that I believe people "take" or "block" that happiness to the degree that I engage them at all. Solution: stay in the back row.

Likewise, I don't know how to engage you authentically or how to ask authentic questions, if there are such things. I've written to you previously, mostly about "the void behind", which was my preoccupation. I knew even then that I asked those questions wanting not merely a verbal response, but some validation from you or some indication that my question revealed I was special or advanced. Now, I don't feel much compelled to ask questions, as any verbal answer is only just that. But that too provides me the necessary internal justification to stay quiet and remote in the back row, seemingly safe and unseen.

What I'm describing is obviously different than your directive to "shut the fuck up". This is characterological, full of the narcissistic tendencies you wrote about recently. Even though I can see this, I'm left in a bind– I cannot seem to engage you authentically, and sitting in the back serves primarily as a defense against such engagement. I move slightly toward you and then immediately pull back at any perceived slight and take up my customary position. I vacillate between envy of the circle of regulars around you, but then I feel relieved not to have to deal with the relational shit you describe in your recent post. Of course, I do this not only in relation to you, but to all others. (Also, since my computer camera and microphone don't work, I have a fine excuse to remain in the shadows. The many sound and connection problems at  online satsangs also provide good cover.)

I struggle even to stay in the room, much less to enter the fray of relating and inevitable injury. I feel stuck, or maybe I'm unwilling to feel any more vulnerable. I'm at the point where it seems the only viable spiritual path is to sit in the company of a realizer, but I feel that something more is required on my part. I don't want to love because I feel that I only lose love in trying to connect, that energy is only taken from me, and that the happiness I experience must be denied and sacrificed to feed ravenous others. Since this happiness is too precious for me to allow those losses, I remain where I am, feeling my hidden occasional happinesses, my internalized blisses, my private experiences of spaciousness, expansion, and release. But none of these are realization.


  1. Hello Ed,

    Thank you for receiving my email. I'm afraid I don't understand your general comments with regard to what I wrote. My email was a response to your July 18 post titled "Narcissistic Injuries and Running". Your essay asked us to consider narcissistic wounds and reactivity, especially in relationship with you and the online group. My writing was an attempt to personally address just that, to examine of some of my narcissistic tendencies in this regard. I hoped to express vulnerabilities that others might share in whole or in part, but it seems I failed to convey that purpose clearly.

    I also don't understand the characterization that I may be someone who has had ". . . never a deep love relationship, for such are too frightening and challenging." I am deeply in love with my wife and spiritual partner of 15 years, and neither she nor I were frightened by my email revealing old wounds. She was not surprised that I would share those details with you in response to your earlier post.

    That I "may never have a real teacher" might be true if I'm unable to make that connection with you. You wrote that you are "very different from many teachers. I am highly engaged on a personal level with many students", and I was trying to step into that. Perhaps trying to connect with you without providing broader context for what I wrote was not the best way to do it. I'll try to be clearer in future emails. - Marc

  2. Very well written and described, not to mention honest. I can relate to many of the feelings mentioned by the writer and they are said better than I can. I know how it feels to want to be alone in order to experience happiness inside. The tension and superficiality of many social situations often disturbs that stillness. I however have found that love increases the happiness I feel inside and can be ramped up by sharing love with another, someone trusted. You are then both giving and receiving at the same time that love energy/happiness and it grows. Then you can learn to maintain that even in a crowded room. You can play whatever games others want to play while shining their love back at them, because you are in that place where you are both love, whether they realize it or not! It's wonderful. What is there to lose!?

  3. The Above Quotes, " That happiness seems to decrease to the degree I engage. My paranoid reaction to this is that I believe people "take" or "block" that happiness to the degree that I engage them at all. to enter the fray of relating and inevitable injury" . Thank you Anonymous for all your Powerful words as they carried me back in time, a painful time. Even in college, after military service, I could not respond to the teacher in front of the other students and just sat quiet but absolutely wishing I could engage in the discussion. Upon leaving the classes, I felt a deep loss every time I avoided joining in the discussion. Eventually hiding behind alcohol the confidence came out. Of course that eventually led to going into treatment for alcohol abuse and seeing a counselor. Anonymous, that was my awakening and it occurred in a very safe place with many people feeling exactly like you and I felt. Oh I hid in Spirituality for many years first but that never helped. Some of my alcoholic friends dove into Religion and Spirituality also but just switched one addiction for another. A big blockbuster in counseling was all that buried shit that I never knew was there, Family crap, School crap, Religion crap, Military crap, crap over more crap. Finally for 3.5 years of group and individual counseling and AA and Native American Sweat Lodges and Re-birthing the shell slowly came apart-I was free of most all the Concepts, control and pain drilled into me as a young child all the way into adulthood. Lots and lots of anger buried that came out in a very safe setting. OH yea, a week before I entered counseling had to take a test regarding events and family in my life, you know I rated them all as Excellent. Anonymous you are powerful, it is there in you now! Only a small percentage of people ever enter counseling. I found good counselors that pulled my guts and heart strings till I could sing again. Edji will wait for you. I noticed that I can fully participate with Edji's words on a very deep level now that the blockages inside have been dissolved. My heart is right with yours and it looks like the Morning Sun is just starting to rise.
    Bless you, Steve E.

  4. I've been here for quite awhile. Haven't let myself be cooked, I guess I'm hoping a good long simmering & marinating will do the trick! I haven't run into the flame, but I haven't run away from it either. Is it more effective to pop the ego balloon in a big bang, or let the air out with a slow leak? I've been a monk many times in the far past--but I guess not a very effective one because look, here I am back again as a householder. But there's plenty of cooking going on in that kitchen! Thank you Ed for providing illumination into that circumstance.