When people look at me I am sure that ‘Buddhist’ is not the first thing that springs to mind. I am though. Okay, so I can’t and I don’t call myself a fully fledged, strict, pure Buddhist, but I am trying. My parents are not particularly religious but when I was young, like a lot of children, I went to Sunday School. Now I can’t say that my belief in God or Jesus went any further than the children’s Bible I was given for Christmas, or the colouring in of Job, Moses, Noah, Peter ect (depending on the story of the week) But as a child I was content, and that was enough. As I grew, however, and did more in-depth Science, the beliefs that were instilled in me (albeit with the aid of the colouring books) where contradicted by what I learnt. I simply couldn’t believe anymore.
Also through the time I did go to church I came to realise that just because you labelled yourself as a ‘Christian’ that didn’t necessarily mean that you were a nice, or good person. On the contrary, there were a number who were extremely judgemental, hypocritical, discriminatory and down right nasty people there, who convinced themselves that just because they had an excellent attendance record, and took part in charity event that had secured a place in paradise.
While I considered myself as atheist for a long time I still was curious. I was always fascinated with Buddhism. How calm, peaceful a way of life it seemed. As I read more something just fell into place. it all made perfect sense to me. But there was one huge issue; I was not exactly the perfect candidate. I have a temper, I hurt people, I drink, I like to spend money on pretty things that I don’t really need. But I decided to give it a go.
At first I was met with amusement when I told people my intentions, Even though none of them said it out load I knew that they where all thinking that this was just some phase I was going through that wouldn’t last long, and honestly I felt the same. There was no way I would keep it up, I didn’t feel any different, I wasn’t any nicer, and I was a rubbish vegetarian. But I don’t give up on things easily and I wasn’t about to start.
Somewhere along the line it clicked, and I noticed a difference, not a huge one mind you, nothing worth writing home about, But for the first time in a long time I finally felt calm, I didn’t spend my nights lying awake worrying about endless things. It felt wonderful. Now I am not perfect, and the worried did return, but this time I could deal with them before I started losing sleep.
During all of this I always thought to myself is it faith I am after, or something else? Now I believe that I was not searching for something to believe in to give me all the answers. But I was searching for something to fix me. To help me cope with all my issues, without resulting in sleepless nights or a breakdown. I still have more to learn, I am not a perfect example, but I am trying and that is what counts.