I saw a great blog post recently, and the author said that when he is asked why he is Buddhist, he ends with “what we do matters”. Because those “Four words that encapsulate for me the whole of Buddhist psychology, philosophy and spiritualism as I have come to realize it. “
This really sums up my practice for me also.
What we do matters
What we say
What we think
The person that we are in this world
I’ve seen a few posts lately on why (and how) people came to be Buddhists.
For me, it was not a sudden decision that I made. It was born of divine luck.
About 5 years ago a close friend at the time was feeling very stressed and wanted to attend meditation classes at a local temple. She asked me if I would go with her.
I had done meditation in the past, as part of a yoga class that I took. I remember the first time that I meditated (in the class). It changed my world. Literally. I felt a peace and centredness that I had never before experienced. As a highly anxious and ‘nervy’ person it was not a state that was common to me.
So I excitedly agreed to join my friend in the meditation class. As part of the class, we also had a “Introduction to Buddhism” class that followed.
Prior to then I knew nothing about it. Literally nothing. I had no understanding, no thoughts and no misconceptions.
The class itself, and the way it was presented, was mildly interesting.
However it sparked something deep within me. I knew that this was my path.
I always had a very strong desire to be a good person. To be kind to other people. A respect for all forms of life. And Buddhism was the perfect fit for me. The more I read – and I read A LOT – the more I knew that it was the path for me.
It was not accepted in my family though.
We had a very “non-religious” upbringing. We actually didn’t have a religion as such.
I remember telling my parents – eventually. My father’s reaction “It’s a cult!”. My mother’s “It’s a fad, she’ll snap out of it”.
And of course it was neither.
So I kept my faith and practice to myself. I quietly read, and learned, and deepened my practice.
That was 5 years ago.
Then 12 months ago my world fell apart. My husband left. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. I lost my house. I had a serious car accident (head on collision into a tree), and I wrote off my car.
Amongst other things.
I wouldn’t change any of this for the world though – it’s made me the person I am today.
I experienced true pain and suffering, and now I know empathy and love.
For me it was also a time of great realisation – and the greatest one was that when everything fell apart, all that was left was my son and I.
There was literally no one I could turn to.
And I realised that was because most of my relationships and friendships – even my connection to my family – was superficial.
I didn’t put the time or effort into these relationships that I should have, and that they deserved.
I have turned that around.
But more importantly I realised – I want to be there for other people.
I want to help them and ease their pain. To be there for them when they are suffering and need help. To be the port in the storm, providing calm and shelter.
So with these intentions in mind, I continue my practice.
I proudly follow the 5 precepts:
“Do not kill.”
“Do not steal.”
“Do not engage in improper sexual conduct.”
“Do not make false statements.”
“Do not drink alcohol.”
I also follow the Eightfold Path:
Although this is not to say that I don’t make mistakes. But I try to learn from them.
And so I walk along the path….
Humbled and grateful for the opportunity to do so.