I am starting to see that considering myself a serious Buddhist is almost an oxymoron.
First of all, if we understand the teachings and the practice, then we can see this life in a childlike way. With an innocence and openness to observe each day with joy and a sense of awe.
I think that perhaps many of us misunderstand the practice of Buddhism. Thinking it is a very serious and deep practice that removes us in a way from the difficulties of life. But I have come to see the Buddha more as a great teacher or Doctor. He left us all teachings for a happy and healthy life. And if we take these teachings and turn them into an arduous task, then I think we may have completely missed the point. All the sutta’s and Pali words in the World are not going to make any of us enjoy this life.
Not trying to sound like a broken record here, but I feel more and more that so much of this begins with gratitude. Starting my day in meditation, and being grateful that I can sit on the cushion. That my life affords me this wonderful opportunity. Thankful that I have this body, this home, this life.
And while this does not male all my troubles wash away, it does offer a very clear perspective on things. And from there I can follow the teachings of Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering/dissatisfaction), and Anatta (no-self). Seeing that all things are truly impermanent, I know that nothing will be the same in the next moment. So why would I spend the energy required to perpetuate suffering of things that I cannot control? Then understanding the reality of this life being unsatisfactory allows me the peace of accepting the price we each pay for this physical body and this existence. And once we truly understand that reality, we can actually find the joy in that also.
And as for the no-self part of the equation, I admit that is a somewhat more difficult teaching to grasp. But a very important one, if we can understand it. “This is not mine, I am not this; this is not my self.”
I think that it is only with time, patience, and practice that any of us gain some understanding of this. But please know that as you do, you will find it extremely beneficial to your own inner peace.
I think that my point here today, is to enjoy this life with all of its ups and downs. Sing in the shower, dance in the rain, and cry if you want to. It’s all truly OK.
Don’t take yourself, your circumstances, or this life, too seriously. It’s only this moment, so breathe it all in joyfully.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.