I don’t know about monastic life, so I’d like to get some feedback about something totally outside my wheelhouse.
I have a casual friend, a woman, who is 42 years old. I don’t know her super well, but I’ve had a few deeper conversations with her. I know that she has some depression and some eating issues, lives with her dad and doesn’t have a job. Basically, she is living the human condition: life is unsatisfactory, the lifelong strategies still aren’t working and she doesn’t know to sit still, close her eyes and see for herself what is happening! Her therapist encouraged her to meditate and when I explained briefly about some super basic dhamma concepts, she seems open to it but doesn’t have any experience or perspective. I don’t have experience as a teacher, so perhaps I’m not helping her to comprehend. Being kind of a solitary practitioner, I don’t say much to people about my practice unless they ask. Yet, I have a lot of compassion for people and know the dhamma to be the way out, particularly when I can relate with a person’s dukkha. But I don’t have experience guiding people in ways like this.
I thought of the concept that she’s in a perfect logistic opportunity to go to a monastery and get the dust out of her eyes. Yet, I don’t have any inkling of what monastery life is like, whether she is mentally fit for such a thing or if a person like that is someone a monastery would be equipped to handle.
I’m happily married and, for the sake of myself, my wife and my marriage, I can’t and won’t get too close to her or enmeshed with her; that’s a role for others. But I don’t want just to turn away from a person deep in dukkha.
I’m not sure if I should bring it up to her, as it feels like it could be too big of a leap for a her. But on the other hand, there are compassionate, loving people reading this who know much, much more than I do about things like this.
Do you have any thoughts or advice about this situation? Any personal experience or alternatives to help a person like her discover the dhamma?