What is your path?
I’ve been trying to muster up a post for a couple of weeks. The problem is that I’ve been working on emptying my mind and letting go of my need to comment and opine so constantly. That doesn’t work so well when you have a blog and a radio show, so I’m beginning to learn how to rope off areas where I am more circumspect in my running commentary and still able to have a perspective that is entertaining or informative and not holier-than-thou.
I already addressed my plan to cut back on the Facebook time, which has been successful. I check in sporadically and will post this on my FB account.
I am deepening my meditation practice and have been studying the hows and whys of a type of Buddhist meditation, which is bit different from meditation designed for stress relief. I’m a big proponent of the latter, by the way and found it very helpful for me in terms of cutting some of the chatter in my brain.
But, I want to go a little deeper into the spirituality, ritual and philosophy of Buddhism and that requires pushing the re-set button on many of my ingrained reactions to life. I’m starting to see that I can be committed to Buddhist concepts and still be an effective communicator. I can be happy and funny and entertaining, while trying to stay on course. Spirituality doesn’t HAVE to mean no sense of humor, although often the newly spiritual seem to think so.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Buddhism here in the U.S. and I shared them until I began to study a bit. Having said that, I am by no means an expert. The Buddha became enlightened 2500 years ago and teaches us that as humans, we all suffer. We suffer from our egos, our cravings, our lack of compassion for ourselves and others and most importantly we suffer because we deny the impermanence of all things. Bottom line: when we try to control the uncontrollable (our lives), we suffer. What’s gonna happen, is gonna happen and so we might as well learn to deal with it; to develop some flexibility and yes, a sense of humor about the randomness of our lives on earth.
That is where meditation comes in. We use meditation to train our minds to let go of the stuff that we can’t control. We sit and we learn to focus on our breath and when the mind takes off on a tangent of worry, anger, fear, planning, analyzing, etc. we bring it back to the breath. Over time, we can begin to calm the runaway train of our minds. We learn that everything is fleeting in life; good times come and go, bad times come and go and we carry on. For me, the realness of knowing that we all suffer the same difficulties and in the end, the same fate is not only comforting, but a source of energy and joy. We’re all connected in our humanity and in our suffering, as humans.
I know a lot of my friends think I’m on some airy-fairy trip and that I will soon be chanting in my robes at the airport, so here is my message to you: that’s not my plan and why should you care if it was? I’ve often wondered why in a country that was allegedly founded on “freedom of religion”, we are so closed-minded about anything that isn’t Christianity?
The old me would have gone on a rant about that, but the new me will not; I will go sit on my cushion in my little basement sanctuary and focus on my breath. We all choose our own path, which by the way, we can reverse at any given moment. Are you on the right one?