I have great respect for anyone that can put all their faith into the hands of a religion and believe that their happiness will come from God. I was born into a Catholic family, not super strict, but we went to church weekly. When I went out onto my own, I tried to keep the same practices, but I struggled with it; I wasn’t finding happiness. I felt like I was waiting to be happy. I felt like no matter how much I immersed myself into the practice, I wasn’t sure what or when I was going to get anything back. Maybe it was wrong to feel that way, I don’t know. I just know that I felt uncomfortable with the idea that I wasn’t really controlling it.
Then I discovered Buddhism, and in a roundabout way. I began reading about it and listening to talks and documentaries and immediately I was hooked. It wasn’t about worshipping a deity or doing specific things so that you would work towards happiness. I was about right now. It was and actual practice with things that I could do and learn that would help me RIGHT NOW. I was blown away. And even if I was fully immersed in it, it did not demand I change my feelings about other religions or philosophies.
The idea that it was about a thought process, that to begin with we all suffered, but what really makes a difference is how we feel about it inside.
But what really sealed it for me was that one of the actual teachings was that I should explore the philosophy, learn from different teachers and decide for myself. That if I felt it would help me then I should use it and if it didn’t I should walk away. A choice! Wow. I was in complete control. Did I feel rotten today, for whatever reason? Yes, but it wasn’t what was going on around me that was the problem, it was how I decided to feel about it. I control my happiness. We all are put in difficult situations, but it IS up to us how we feel about it.
I can choose. We can all choose.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”