it’s wednesday! time for this week’s check in on my progress on the book i am reading about seeking god. as i read the chapter on seeking god through buddhism in eric weiner’s book “man seeking god”, i realized that i know nothing about buddhism. or i don’t know what it was that the author of the book really got out of his buddhist journey. the chapter felt like it was all over the place, i couldn’t find a common thread running through the chapter, tying buddhism together. i don’t know if that’s the author’s “fault” or that it’s how it goes with buddhism. still, enjoyed the chapter.
but there is one thing that stayed with me the most as i read about buddhism… the focus on experience. this is something that i came across last year… the challenge to experience, to do, to be active – and to not just read, think, write, or ponder. it’s one thing to read a book about something, but something entirely different to actually experience what you are reading about. i let that philosophy lead me for a while, i believe. i chose to act and do and experience, instead of just reading or thinking or writing. i chose to live life to the fullest – to soak up every bit of loveliness that i could. but, then, the fall came… and i started to hibernate.
you know, i could easily sit and read + write + meditate + hibernate every day, so i need this reminder that this buddhist chapter gave me. i need that push to get up off the meditation cushion + out the door. though, i believe when one is meditating + digging deeply into one’s mind + soul, then action + compassion in everyday life come as a natural action from meditation. if we really engage our mind + our soul when we are engaged in deep breathing + mindfulness, then there is no way that we are not living that out in daily life as well. it’s no good to be a buddhist (or a person) on the cushion. what’s important is how we live “off-cushion”. in other words, we best be practicing what we preach.
now, if you are thinking that you cannot be a buddhist simply because you can’t/don’t want to/haven’t spent that much time “on the cushion”, then have no fear. the beauty about buddhism, it seems to me, is that it is an individual journey. and it is open to anyone who seeks to journey towards that blissful state of nirvana – and by that, i mean the unknown journey of self-transformation, enlightenment, peace, and calm. all that we need to do is to commit to showing up, meditating (whether we are good at that or not), and visualizing the life that we seek. we fake it until we make it.
and, there’s something to be said for that, i believe. it is believing in a power that we have within us. tapping into that power, focusing + concentrating on it, and believing + seeing the life that we want to live. if we can do that, then shit will happen. just ask my wife – who didn’t meditate like a buddha, but did focus and concentrate and center herself, drawing on her power from within and acting on it. yeah, my wife knows all about living out an experience and not just reading about it. she’s amazing.
and, now we are back to experience. what is it that i want to experience in my life? what do you? and, do we want to experience it by reading about others’ experiences, or do we want to kick some ass, work hard, push through, stay focused, and create the life that we want to live?
of course, we can strip away all of the buddhist focus from this, but i still believe that meditation, being on the cushion, only serves to help us achieve that life that we dream of. only by being on the cushion through meditation, prayer, chanting, etc., do we connect to the divine within and catch a glimpse in the silence of our souls of that thin space… the space where there is a pause between thoughts, where everything is connected, where we find meaning + beauty, where we experience the entire universe and all of the possibilities that lie within us.
and, having felt that pause, that thin space, we rise from the cushion and go out + into our lives to fully live… awakened, aware, and mindful.