Intense Withdrawal, Intense Engagement

I heard the phrase from Sangharakshita. It fits well with what I feel now.

I’ve come out of intense withdrawal – a six month solitary retreat. Now I feel ready for intense engagement.

It’s a strange way to operate. Unsettling. The contrast is massive. Habits formed before retreat had to be let go of during my solitary. Habits formed on solitary have to be let go of in this new phase of engagement.

In January I move to a new place close to central London. It’s still a trial, but if things go well I hope to stay at least a year. I have ideas for new projects and experiments. A goals setting session in January with friends who did one before. A mindfulness offering via the Airbnb that I’ll manage for the place I’ll stay. Maybe even a monthly circle if there’s that possibility.

Intense engagement will come via writing. There are BIG topics I want to explore. Climate change and communism. BitCoin and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Meat eating. Myopia. Algorithms of misinformation. Demographics warfare. Meme warfare.

A friend who just started a sabbatical joked that we were tagging in/out. She starts her intense withdrawal (after many years of intense engagement) and I start my intense engagement.

As it;s been before, the angle is service. I’m not interested in engagement just to be busy. If the underlying intention isn’t to be of service to something greater than myself, I don’t feel motivated.

I came across a different phrase though that might resonate better: enlightened self-interest.

The word service can make it seem the focus is only to others. And “self-interest” on it’s own can make it seem focused on oneself alone. But it’s both. Working for oneself and working on others is the same. We’re connected, whether we like it or not.

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