I would imagine the following may be a bit odd to be asking here outright and dare I say it, a little egoic to do so, but I was referred to this place to ask questions, and I have some questions. But first, some background on myself, what I know, and the finally the problem.
Firstly, my experience with Buddhism is a bit all over the place. Mostly it's the domain of Zen Buddhism, and primarily it's from Alan Watts. This man was really my first gateway to dropping the illusion of ego, of separation from what is, and a better understanding that one goes with existence as it is. I largely come from a Wattsian perspective, but other influences that stand out are the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sam Harris, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Moojiji, Sadhguru, Ram Dass, and Terrence McKenna, to name a few. The general themes on ego are especially topics I have absorbed, and have tried to take myself as something simply being, with as little subjective imposition as possible: to simply be instead of constantly caught up in games of past, of future, of being something of status or image, seeing through the various illusions of it all. All things are change in a society that infers constants. Regarding the experience of ego death, all I've done is meditation, such as vipassana, but mostly my views on the reality of no ego and embracing the "eternal now" as Alan put it mostly come from intellect: there's no thinker of thoughts, feeler of feelings. No constant caricature, for that ghost is mostly gone.
Now, all of this is great because one really gets a point of view more in line with the world in an objective sense, more in line with what is instead of what's inferred upon, judged upon, and the like. One may ask "gosh, you have a vast amount of resources and you get the basic jist of the illusion of ego, so what's the problem?" The problem actually comes from a perspective of ego, actually; What do I do with my life upon the realization of no self? I've mostly realized what I've wanted to do with my life always came from the point of ego: to make money, to have status, to be a person of substance, and I want none of that anymore. I got into hospice care and nursing with my realization of going with the world, so I'd rather help those alive to be comfortable in what their state is in, but I now realize I am doing this from the view of forcing. To force myself to do this because of what I know, even if that's from the domain of the self illusion, that I am somewhat "holier than thou" with information and act in such a manner. In a sense, I would be using my ego against other egos, and that quite literally is egocentric doing.
It's dawned on me I realize I have no interest in any of this line of work of itself any longer, and that actually kills it all for me. I'm doing it for ends, for goals, but reality has no ends or goals. I feel caught between subjective impositions of society and what we say we must do, against objective understanding of what world and what just is. Why should I continue to do this? For money? Who cares when my heart really isn't in it? I feel constantly pushed around in a social context, that I am literally a skin-encapsulated ego that must do X and live like Y, but I see nothing of substance there. I literally feel my life is one where I am pushed around by others, and all of the reasons I am being pushed don't stand to any level of pressure, to be compatible with life in its most basic, naturalistic sense. I hold the view all I can do is offer my time for others, for that's the currency of all life, but I feel however sincere I care for others and their sorrows, it's not time I feel fully utilized for I feel I am pigeonholing it into the things I do as a vocation, as a back layer, instead of being the forefront, for it is a forefront to my life. I grasp the pain of others and understand that most of their pain comes from their point of reference mostly, and all I can do about that is reason in my head how their ego creates it. How do I help them see that? I know it, but it's like I have some information, but I lack a language to speak it in for others to get it. It feels as if I'm trying to hammer a square peg into a circle hole; something goes into the hole, clearly, but it's not what I have on offer. I'm looking to put the square peg into a square hole, and here comes the problem.
I feel a different course is in order. It's been in the back of my mind as I have been on this journey, but I feel with my understanding and taste of this is to perhaps delve deeper into Buddhism, Zen or otherwise, in a much more profound manner. Not as intellectually listening to hours of lectures on Youtube, to inquire in just my room, but to cultivate a life and a realm of being where this is the whole game of the show, perhaps not for just myself, but for others. Having more tools and especially other living people beside me to show me the way can help me have more ammunition to aid others, to potentially teach and help people be more at ease with the world that way. I know the central themes are that nothing is supposed to be done, that nothing has to be done, to improve oneself, but there's just something in my experience of ego death that makes the way I live like an odd filter, that I know far more of life than how I live it.
My bind is I feel stuck: there's no places near me that appear to teach these concepts and how to apply them, there's no weekend retreats or ways I can ever imagining learning this stuff and finding a way to truly live it, to teach it and be with it not as a level of intellectual awareness in the back of the mind, but as the forefront and core to the goings on, for it matches the facts of life we can observe. I live in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and the only thing here that is anything remotely spiritual is a church. I don't adhere to Christian canon, for it argues that a self/soul/ego must exist, and that's something that isn't true. I feel like all I know is thanks to the internet but am in such a specific social context that there's no place to really apply this as a way of life; it literally just stays in the back of the mind and not the forefront. Perhaps I'd be able to offer myself more by living and having a life where the tenants of no self, of one always being in a now-state would be helpful to teach and cultivate in others instead of having it merely in the back of my mind with what I do. I can avoid the pain of attachment to health, to status, to such ideas as constants, but what good am I trying to help others understand that too? I have the understanding of it for myself, but I truly lack the depth of it to teach this, to help people out.
I want to apologize for rambling, and I have very clearly written a novel, and I bet a lot of this looks like a job application of "how can I live a career as a Buddhist" or something, but the truth is what I feel about my relation to everything else is just so profound that I constantly feel I am in a Truman Show-like experience when I am around others. I cannot adhere to their views and ideas for I see them as affronts, and ultimately I cannot live a way that in my heart of hearts seems more truly to reality. I feel trapped and being forced to live as an ego, and I for one find it puzzling to be in that state, for the ego is an illusion! I guess I'm mostly asking for resources, for something, anything, to help make these types of understanding of the world something more applicable to living in it instead of high-level contemplation in my room at home. What good does no self and realizing the unity with everything else that there is only to have it beaten out of you and being forced to assimilate to a society and way of living that treats that reality as not practical? Ultimately, how can I make the experience and understanding of no self as a fabric to living a full life with that understanding as the heart of it, not something that is often treated as an extra, an aside, to daily living?