Filed under: lifestyle, spirituality | Tags: buddha, buddhism, christianity, religion, yoga
In 2003 I bought the book, “The Complete Idiots Guide to Buddhism“. I’ve read it on and off over the years. There have been times when it sat untouched for months or even years without a single bend to the spine.
Like many of you, I grew up in the Christian church. I was even pretty involved – there was the youth choir that I taught on Sunday mornings, a Christian camp that my girlfriends and I attended every summer, and of course youth group & confirmation classes with my friends and cousins.
I liked the community & I liked being involved in the church’s social events. But you know how some things just don’t feel right, no matter how good they look from the outside? Well, Christianity didn’t feel right. I won’t bore you with the unnecessary details of why it didn’t work for me (but feel free to ask me privately if you’re curious). More importantly, I don’t want to offend anyone who is a believer. The point of the matter is that it just didn’t work for me, no matter which churches I attended or which groups I got involved with. Christianity never really resounded with my spirit in a way that touched me deeply.
During college I drifted away from the church. Not too unusual, I know plenty of my peers who were in the same boat. In my early college days I hiked & camped & ran trails to connect with my spirituality. In later years it was midnight walks to watch the stars, or just sitting on my front porch and feeling the interconnectedness of all the world around me. I found that I could grow closer to my spirituality in other ways. I felt very strongly connected to something… wasn’t sure what… but I felt confident in my spirituality and sense of right & wrong. At the time, there didn’t seem to be a need for religion in my life.
A friend introduced me to Buddhism several years ago, and I was so intrigued that I bought the book. Buddhism is strange, because it’s not really a belief but a practice. Buddhism does not have a deity & does not oppose the notion of a deity. Buddhism is a path or a way of life. And for that reason, it works well with other religions – Christianity, Judaism, amongst others. It is possible to be a Christian and practice Buddhism. Who knew?!
For me, my idiot’s guide is the doorway to the possibility of looking at the world with beginners eyes again. I still haven’t fully made the plunge. I haven’t joined a sangha or devoted my life to finding nirvana yet. But that’s not to say that I won’t. Right now, just dipping my toes in the pool of the idea is enough. I’ve started taking yoga classes, practicing my asanas and yogic breathing on a daily basis. Just those small steps have made a wonderful difference in my daily sip at life (in a way that is almost intoxicating!
If anyone else has studied a religion and found their spirit, or found yoga to be a doorway to something spiritually great, I’d love to hear from you! Your stories are all inspiring, no matter how you spend your Sunday or who you call your god. :)