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His teachings imply that all human relationships are wonderful opportunities to practice loving-kindness, generosity, and mutual support.A long-term committed one was all the more an opportunity to go deeper in one’s understanding and cultivation of these qualities.(She wrote a fantastic essay for this month's Marie Claire about how she converted after being a life-long atheist.)One of the key things Buddhists try to keep in mind: When someone does something that makes you feel bad, it's rarely the case that his goal was to hurt you. Isn't it funny, though, that people can give advice they themselves can't really put into action but which nevertheless helps those who listen to it? Anyway, I got Brad on the horn, and here's how our conversation went: HOW TO DEAL IF SOMEONE BLOWS YOU OFF AT A PARTY ...Rather, he was trying to make himself feel good, or happy--or, at least, to minimize his own pain or discomfort as much as possible. ME: I went to this dinner the other week where the host flat-out ignored me—he didn't even bother to get my name, or re-fill my drink glass—because he was so busy drooling over my admittedly gorgeous friend!I go to parties here in Los Angeles and they run away screaming! ME: I'm not taking pleasure in your misfortune, but I must say, it's good to be reminded that even men go through interactions like that. There was no point in continuing the interaction if she didn't want to be a part of it.And I told myself, "Hey, it's no big deal; she was looking for something she'll never be able to find in me."In your situation, Maura, the dinner host's mind was not on the present.
Wanting to be in love is natural to the human experience. It almost seems counterintuitive to try to reach contentment and equanimity in our life while also cultivating this roller coaster of emotions.Each week in this column we look at what it might be like if Siddhartha was on his spiritual journey today. Every other week I'll take on a new question and give some advice based on what I think Sid, a fictional Siddartha, would do.Like us, Sid is not yet a buddha, he's just someone struggling to maintain an open heart on a spiritual path while facing numerous distractions along the way. So let's take on the first question, from Justin: With so many people out there looking to meet other singles, it's no surprise that online dating has become a big trend.A friend said I should check out Brad Warner, author of HARDCORE ZEN. And after I contacted him to ask if he had any insight into how to apply Buddhist ideas to dating, he wrote back to say: I'm dating myself right now—and, oh, it's miserable! Or how to brush it off if I'm at a party and some dude clearly isn't interested in me, despite the fact I think he's cute? I was introduced to one woman who clearly lost interest in me as soon as she heard I'd written some books about Zen.The only time I ever meet cute women who are interested in dating me is when I'm giving a lecture. She literally began looking over my shoulder to see who else was around. Apparently there are a lot more single women in NYC, and a lot more single men in LA, which probably helps to explain why we're having these kinds of experiences. But anyway, here's how I handled that woman: I finished my sentence, said good-bye, and I walked away.