A very common development with practitioners is a desire to withdraw from society. At various points in time, a practitioner will need to enter an intensive period of practice that precludes holding a job, raising a family, or otherwise participating in society. Events of this kind are necessary and largely avoidable. They often last a few days to maybe a year, or so, but rapidly become counter productive beyond a certain threshold of time. Ideally, they center on the development of a specific skill or the acquisition of a particular experience. After that is where the trouble starts…
On the one hand, it appears to be very difficult to incarnate here. An extensive waiting line of sorts seems to exist and getting a seat in the nicer places looks to take even longer. The timeline between my last incarnation and this one was about 90 years. Not a blink of the eye in geologic time. An entire world of difference in human affairs, especially in the West. Two world wars, the rise of the modern world and elected government becoming something other than an untested anomaly all occurred. Pretty big stuff regarding the day to day standards of living among mankind. So treating the world as something to be avoided makes a man come off as a punter at best and a wastrel at worse. If you took someone else’s seat and proceeded to throw it away by hiding in a cave for half your life, I’m pretty sure you are going to pay for that in the long run.
The big names in Hermetics were all men of renown: Pythagoras, Newton, Paracelsus, Bruno and even Einstein was probably a Kabbalist of sorts. Not exactly the kind to hide from human affairs. Which is why they were all “the man” whose names are taught in schools, have books written about them and will be remember over the ages. It’s also why that dreadlocked trust fund hippy at the New Age retreat is a buttfucking loser who can’t even be bothered to procreate and is continually whimpering about a fallen world.
The world of today is far different from the time of the Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama was born five, or six, hundred years before the time of Christ into a world where most of the megafauna had been hunted out, agriculture as we know it today didn’t exist and often failed to feed its populations, law enforcement was a concept that only came around another two thousand years later, the landscape was entirely populated by principalities that enslaved their entire public and were continually warring with each other. Modern medicine was unheard of. If you weren’t part of the 75% of the population that died before four years of age, you were lucky to make it to sixty. And if you did, you probably had some kind of severe illness or injury that lasted decades.
In short, the world before yesterday was horrible beyond measure. It sucked. It sucked hard.
Even in this circumstance Buddhism had to come up with the Bodhisattva vow, because checking out forever was such a bad idea. See: Bodhisattva vow – Wikipedia.
But that is not the world of today either, where governments in the West, and increasingly other places outside of east Asia, are steadily more and more responsive to their host populations. Life now is pretty good in the more developed places and is becoming so much so in the second world that people are increasingly no longer immigrating from those places. The changes in Egypt alone in the last twenty years are nothing short of remarkable.
Diseases that routinely murdered off the majority of young children are not even remembered in most places and even things like cholera are quickly becoming so rare as to attract attention when they actually happen. Air pollution that seventy years ago sometime killed thousands at a time in places like London, no longer exists at all. So much so that the regulatory agencies have to keep redefining their standards to account for any air pollution at all in the First World.
The world is better than it has ever been for the vast majority of humanity and continues to improve with glaring exceptions like Venezuela.
The path of service is completely misunderstood and severely abused by those advocating a withdrawl from society writ large. You incarnate here to do things. Not to dodge your taxes, “be a part of the world but not live in it” or to spend your days complaining about how everything is going to hell and will never get better. A time has never existed where a single man could positively impact so many people with a high likelihood of reaching old age in comfort. And it has never been easier or had less interference from the “ruling classes.”
A single adopted child born of a seventeen year old mother rising to fame and fortune as one of the richest men in the history of the world, i.e. Jeff Bezos, would never have happened without having had to murder his way through untold thousands even five hundred years ago. The worst that can be said about him is that he dumped his wife for an over-age pseudo-celebrity and that he likes to censor people who publish on his e-reader. The guy has nothing on the Robber Barons of the 19th century.
More than one teacher has mentioned that life here is best viewed as a leadership laboratory. Play it like a video game. View it as the greatest film ever made and ask yourself every day, “would I watch this movie?”