I haven't attended a meeting in months and last attended half of a one day assembly because I couldn't take another half. But truth be told, I have been more intrigued by Buddhism since I was a teenager. I still am. In fact, I am finally getting around to reading the Dhammapada by Gautama Buddha himself. And I'm reading some Thich Nhat Hanh for good measure, specifically his book Creating True Peace.
(Note: At this point, the forum software herped and my smartphone browser derped and the OP was posted before I finished writing it. This paragraph and what follows is an edit.)
My problem is that I am coming out of the JW religion, a cult that strips you of individualism or allows only a facade of such. I have expressed here how angry I am at all of this, even how tired I am of JW behavior. I even complained about a specific JW in a recent thread.
So at best, I see asceticism as a fanciful and impractical ideal that I really don't think I could achieve. I do not even want to. I have seen what happens when you allow bad things to happen to you, and I have to strike this balance between defense and peace. With a little anger, I feel that I have some dignity. I have pride, which is something I was taught all my life to avoid. I feel that I have a reason to be angry about certain things. But I also understand that I can't stay angry, and so all those things are passing anyway. Where does that leave the dignity and the pride? So I find myself on a bit of a journey here, no matter what ism is applied to it.
From the Dhammapada:
1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
39. If a man’s thoughts are not dissipated, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good or evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.