Why I am a “Buddhist”

I’m not a very good one at all…a Buddhist that is. I often forget to keep my mouth shut, and I don’t eat vegan (or vegetarian), nor do I go with my sangha as much as I should…but I still call myself a Buddhist because I meditate and I follow Buddha’s word to the best of my ability.

I’ve never been into religion. I tried being a good little Christian, and I found myself questioning God constantly, even when I was a child. I’ve read both the Bible and the Koran and though I relate to it and I find it inspiring, I just feel like I was reading a fiction. I’m sorry to who that offends.

However, I do feel Jesus existed, and that he was a prophet. Do I think he was the Lord’s son? In my eyes, no he wasn’t. He said some words of wisdom, and lived his life. Is it bad people follow him with other beliefs? Not even close! Jesus is a great person to follow, I just found I wasn’t able too.

However, Buddha doesn’t act like a God. He, like Jesus, sprouted a bunch of wisdom, lived his life, then died. His wisdom just rings true to me. He was a prophet, much like Jesus (at least in my eyes). Though I’m not likely to pray directly to him as some may do towards Jesus, I do wonder about his ideas and use those to wander through my life. And what Buddha says about truth just clicks with me. It just makes sense.

That, my dear friends, is why I call myself a Buddhist. I’ll probably talk about some of his quotes at a later date. Though I will never be a monk, I still consider myself a Buddhist.

What I Do When Times are Tough

Right now, I’d say times are tough. I’m unemployed, I have bills creaking up, and rent…it’s not just a financial issue though, it’s also a matter of pride. There’s nothing worse than sitting at home, applying for jobs you once thought you would never apply for again, waiting for a phone call which never happens….being over/under qualified for your dream position.

Oh, no. It does get worse. Getting a call for an interview which you can’t take because you’re not certified in teaching even though a week ago, you thought you were still going to get certified is the worse. The feeling of emptiness that you get in your stomach.

Moving on, I’m sure there is worse. I know there is worse to feel. Whatever you’re feeling though, I know it will pass. This too shall pass…

1. Know that it’s temporary, just like happiness is temporary. You’re not always going to be unemployed, you’ll find love one day, you will forgive him, whatever it may be. It will pass. You’ll be okay in the end…and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end. Just stay strong.

2. Know that there is someone out there worse-off than you. And use this knowledge to help you, whether that be to help that person, or just to have the ability to gloat someone is having a worse day/week/month/year/decade than you.

3. Make sure you do what you need to do. When I’m really depressed, I need a day to just lie in bed. I don’t move, I don’t talk, I will cry, and I just think then I have to listen to music for a bit….or one song on repeat. And it’s usually depressing. If I don’t do that, then I’m not able to get the strength for number four.

4. Make three plans. One can be rubbish. One is for if things get even worse. and the last one is for what you really want to do/see happen.

5. Use the defense mechanism of humor, whatever humor that may be. I have a dry and twisted sense of humor, which goes without tact. It upsets a lot of people, but it makes me happy. And right then, my happiness is key. Obviously, you have to make sure you aren’t hurting others. Even if you have to go somewhere and talk to yourself to make yourself laugh make sure you do this.

6. While laughing, know it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel insane. Just don’t act on impulse because it can hurt the situation more. When you’re low, you have to really work to make sure you are thinking clearly. If you’re not, you need to find a way to do so. See 4.

7. Accept that reality is harsh and sometimes things are going to happen which hurt. People are going to die, breakup, you’re going to fail at times. Don’t cover your eyes from what is happening around you, as much as it hurts. Try to find the positive of it. It’s not easy, it’s not going to be fun, but sometimes there’s a positive. Know that there is always a positive of it being temporary. You may always be hurt, however it will be a managable hurt.

8. Find the positive and focus on it. Keep yourself positive. Make sure you have hope. There is always hope. It may not be what you think is the best, but you just got to hope for the best.

9. Exercise. Even if that exercise is going for a walk, doing crunchs, or dancing…keep yourself moving. Cleaning counts as well.

10. Know that you are valued. At the very least, I value you. And I love you, though I haven’t met you, I do. And I’m not the only one. This is a good time to look into religion. I usually go to Buddha, but whatever speaks to you. I’ve done the Christian route, the Islamic route…religion is perfect for this situation, whatever one it may be. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to learn about Buddha. I often ask myself…What Would Buddha Do?

Most importantly, just stay strong. I stay strong as a form of revenge against all those pitiable souls. A teacher once told my parents to lock me away in an institution and forget about me. Almost 18 years later, I friended her on Facebook. She accepted it on the same day of which I posted I had completed my Master’s program. Imagine her surprise that I did something with my life and I was now more educated than she was (I haven’t posted anything in terms of my certification).

Life’s not easy. Just stay strong.