Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

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dimeo
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Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by dimeo » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:19 pm

I was struck this afternoon with such a strong feeling, I felt the need post about it on dharmawheel it was so puzzling. The thoughtful insight people respond with here is so helpful.....

The 'feeling' was so strong but also hard to explain. Like a 'deja vu' sensation but also very different. But it's like my experience of life is increasingly like a strange dream? "surreal" And if I try to describe it is almost a kind of distasteful / repulsive / repugnant / obnoxious ("nausea" comes to mind although that word is too strong. )

I usually think of myself as a person who is on average rather happy or satisfied with life. I'm typically rather logical and usually "things as they are" is ok.

It seems like so much of what goes on around me is almost meaningless nonsense? It seems so obvious how people I interact with throughout the day are so self oriented, and pursuing their own personal agenda. Its subtle and hard to describe but I feel 'aware' there's more going on behind the scenes, like a veil was suddenly pulled away.
I think I see clearer now lately that so much of my day at work seems to involve leadership and policy which is rather contradictory. It's like suddenly I really see through the BS. Much of the tasks I'm asked to do at work seem rather pointless ...


On a slightly related note has anyone studied Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre? Are there elements of Buddhist thought in it?


Any thoughts, insights, sutras or otherwise amazing comments from everyone?

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:37 pm

Diamond Sutra says it best:
Thus shall you think of this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightning in a summer cloud; A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
Maybe you are seeing things as they really are, or at least closer to how they really are.

Existentialism can be said to be related to Buddhism, because existentialists acknowledge the First Noble Truth, though of course not neccessarily the others, being nihilist form a Buddhist standpoint. The Myth of Sisyphus my Camus is one of my favorites.

I used to get this feeling constantly in my early 20's, I just brushed it off..now 15 year or so later I think it was actually on some level "correct"..I used it always get it when I worked as a caterer at weddings for some reason.
I usually think of myself as a person who is on average rather happy or satisfied with life. I'm typically rather logical and usually "things as they are" is ok.
For me there was a point a couple years ago when I got serious about Dharma where all the sudden people's (and mine, not like i'm any exception) messed-upness kind of came to the forefront, i'd always felt that what we do in mundane life is largely pointless, but Dharma practice really brought it out. For a time, it wavered on depression..the advice I got was loving kindness and similar meditation, and that helped..if it starts to feel bleak, that's why emptiness is a "dangerous" training and all that, you can fall into the extreme of nihilism without guidance is my understanding..so erm, hate to give this answer...but ask your teacher!
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Wayfarer
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:00 am

On a slightly related note has anyone studied Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre? Are there elements of Buddhist thought in it?
Not at all. Nausea is one of the supreme statements of 20th c existentialism and was the basis for the offer to him of the Nobel prize for literature (which he declined).

However that feeling of existential alienation or 'otherness' is, in my view, the very condition which Buddhism seeks to ameliorate. Whereas, in Sartre's view, no amelioration is conceivable, there is nothing which could be conceived as 'nirvana' or 'the ending of sorrow' in his understanding. It is more a matter of heroically accepting the reality of suffering and adjusting your expectations accordingly.

You might recall the slogan from Sartre's play 'No Exit', that 'hell is other people'.

Try squaring that with 'universal compassion'.
Last edited by Wayfarer on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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garudha
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by garudha » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:01 am

dimeo wrote:Much of the tasks I'm asked to do at work seem rather pointless ... ?
Get a new job.

dude
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by dude » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:17 am

The 'feeling' was so strong but also hard to explain. Like a 'deja vu' sensation but also very different. But it's like my experience of life is increasingly like a strange dream? "surreal" And if I try to describe it is almost a kind of distasteful / repulsive / repugnant / obnoxious ("nausea" comes to mind although that word is too strong. ) "


It sounds to me like your wisdom is opening up. Congratulations, and keep practicing.

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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by Lindama » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:55 am

dimeo wrote:I was struck this afternoon with such a strong feeling, I felt the need post about it on dharmawheel it was so puzzling. The thoughtful insight people respond with here is so helpful.....

The 'feeling' was so strong but also hard to explain. Like a 'deja vu' sensation but also very different. But it's like my experience of life is increasingly like a strange dream? "surreal" And if I try to describe it is almost a kind of distasteful / repulsive / repugnant / obnoxious ("nausea" comes to mind although that word is too strong. )

I usually think of myself as a person who is on average rather happy or satisfied with life. I'm typically rather logical and usually "things as they are" is ok.

It seems like so much of what goes on around me is almost meaningless nonsense? It seems so obvious how people I interact with throughout the day are so self oriented, and pursuing their own personal agenda. Its subtle and hard to describe but I feel 'aware' there's more going on behind the scenes, like a veil was suddenly pulled away.
I think I see clearer now lately that so much of my day at work seems to involve leadership and policy which is rather contradictory. It's like suddenly I really see through the BS. Much of the tasks I'm asked to do at work seem rather pointless ...


On a slightly related note has anyone studied Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre? Are there elements of Buddhist thought in it?


Any thoughts, insights, sutras or otherwise amazing comments from everyone?
dimeo,
Look closely, perhaps you are simply catching yourself between realities.... between old and new realities. It may at first seem distasteful to the point of nausea.... it need not be so if you relax and realize that your world may simply be shifting. It is very important not to apply judgement to your old reality from your current perspective. Rather, just know that you have moved into something new.

Those old guys Sartre and Camus were brothers from the same root.... Sartre seems to have stopped in despair... But I have had this quote below from Camus on my wall for 30+ years. It just depends what your deeper vow is. Years later, Ernest Becker wrote the Denial of Death... I read it three times in the midst of deep depression.... I came away knowing that he didn't go far enough to where the transformation happens. My fav dive into existential despair first came with Waiting for Godot in the 60's. The world is fast moving on! We can do better than Godot and Mickey Mouse!

It often happens that we are more afraid of living than dying.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
~ Albert Camus
:namaste:
linda
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

dude
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by dude » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:03 am

excellent, Linda
:namaste:

Vajraprajnakhadga
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Re: Ever felt like life is a strange dream?

Post by Vajraprajnakhadga » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:09 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: For me there was a point a couple years ago when I got serious about Dharma where all the sudden people's (and mine, not like i'm any exception) messed-upness kind of came to the forefront, i'd always felt that what we do in mundane life is largely pointless, but Dharma practice really brought it out. For a time, it wavered on depression..the advice I got was loving kindness and similar meditation, and that helped..if it starts to feel bleak, that's why emptiness is a "dangerous" training and all that, you can fall into the extreme of nihilism without guidance is my understanding..so erm, hate to give this answer...but ask your teacher!
Very well put. In essence, too much focus on emptiness (ultimate bodhicitta) without the cultivation of relative bodhicitta (bodhisattva intention to benefit all beings) can lead to some serious problems as one begins to perceive emptiness as nothingness (leading to nihilism). Simultaneous cultivation of both is essential.

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