For the last fifteen years I’ve been Buddhist. I never thought about what that means to others until recently.
Most Westerners, which include Americans, look at Buddhism through what they’ve been told by the media. They think we shave our heads, wear robes and stare at the wall and pray to Buddha.
I never think about what people think of my beliefs, but I do find it interesting what they think Buddhism is.
Their thoughts are twisted through the lens of Hollywood and the media.
Being raised in an Christian society has it’s good things, but for me, most of my life I didn’t have a belief that I could claim as my own.
I attended Christian church while I read books on Buddhism. It felt good to sing and think about God, but the further I read the more I learned about myself.
Reading books on Buddhism helped me find my practical path to spirituality. The path that lead to how I want to live, not how someone, whether it’s a church, congregation or relatives believe I should live.
I remember being told, “If your life isn’t going right, it’s because it’s not God’s plan.”
These are the things I’ve gone through, your life is yours, which makes it different than mine.
What about my plan? I want to be published, take care of my wife and kids and lead a life I can be proud of. But God doesn’t want for me what I want? That’s what those words say to me.
If I work hard in my life, lead a life that is compassionate and don’t create suffering I can do what I want with my life. The way I was told as a kid is, “God controls your life, and you have to follow his plan.”
That’s when I knew I had to find my own plan. I’ve been asked, “Why Buddhism?” I respond with, “Why Christianity?”
The answer is usually, “that’s what I was raised with and it’s what I’ve always been around.”
I was raised with the same, but found I wanted something more. A path that feels more like me.
A practical path that leads where I want it to, not where a deity deems my life should be headed. If we give up the control of our lives, it’s not our lives anymore…is it?