I like to jokingly refer to myself as the accidental Buddhist. And, I frequently think I’m doing a shitty job of being one.
Let’s start with the accidental Buddhist part. Years ago, when discussing my beliefs with someone, they pointed out that a lot of my general philosophy meshed with Buddhism.
After some research, I realized that I kind of WAS a Buddhist. I didn’t mean to be. I certainly didn’t seek out that title or path of life. It just WAS.
For instance, I feel that we go through life to learn lessons and to help other people. I struggled for years trying to figure out what my lessons were. I finally had to make peace with the fact that maybe I wasn’t meant to know until they were actually completed. Or, maybe I wasn’t ever meant to know at all. And, there was a phase where I felt that learning to be ok with not knowing was one of my lessons. See the irony in that?
It took a long time to realize that I couldn’t help everyone in some huge significant way. I’ve often said that I can’t save the world. But, I did learn that sometimes helping people happened in the smallest and strangest ways. If I see someone out in public who has really polite and well-behaved kids, I make sure to tell the adult with them how wonderful they are. If I see a parent struggling at the store with a child who is crying (let’s face it, there is ALWAYS a kid crying at Wal-Mart) I try my best to show them a sympathetic look. I want them to know that I get it. Kids have meltdowns. That doesn’t make them a horrible parent. And, I know that they are struggling with the judgmental or nasty looks other people are giving them.
And, I also realized along the way that sometimes helping people actually comes in the form of NOT helping them. Sometimes we have to let them learn their own lessons or deal with their own consequences.
Because of my desire to help others, I also deeply believe in Karma. You get what you send out into the world. That doesn’t mean that every time you smile at someone you’re going to find a $20 bill on the ground later. It doesn’t mean that if something crappy happens to you it’s because you didn’t smile at the elderly lady at the grocery store. It’s more of a general concept. Be positive and most people will reflect that positivity. Be negative and you will end up surrounded by like-minded people. And, the reverse is true. For instance, surround yourself by positive people . . . and you will become a positive person.
Another important part of Buddhism is to be ok with people who do not share your beliefs. That doesn’t mean you should be ok with hanging out with a child killer. It means, if nobody is hurting anyone, let it go. If you have a friend who believes that her horoscope is spot on and checks it every day don’t judge her for it. When she wants to talk about it be supportive. You get it. It may not be your belief. But, she isn’t hurting anyone and she feels passionate about it.
It’s easy to say these things. It’s even easier to think that you follow these things. But, they can be hard to practice.
I often say I’m a shitty Buddhist. But, you know what? The basic parts of Buddhism deal with learning to be better. I believe this to be true with most religions. It’s just that Buddhism seems to allow for the learning process more than a lot of them.
Maybe I’m not so shitty at it after all. Maybe I’m rocking it because I’m always learning and striving?
Peace, Love & Whatever Brings You Inner Peace
Hoosier Barn Chick