I’ve just had a wonderful morning of meditation and a bit of Buddhist reading. I have set the goal for the week to be about intense Dharma studies, and frankly a cram session due to my lack of daily practice. As it is no secret, I have been indulging in negative actions, distracting me from my purpose and really the natural joys I feel, and opting for the designer and fleeting ones; today I begin anew and take refuge back in the Three Jewels ( the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha) and into myself.
To Begin anew is to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, our past actions and speech and to create a fresh start with the purpose and intention to follow the Dharma and essence of Buddhism. It can be thought of in the same way as that song by Donnie McClurkin “We Fall Down” in which one can be on his grind, trying hard to walk in his spiritual nature and fall off due to many different reasons. The key is not stay down, not to stay away and get back on the business of your salvation, whatever your faith.
I’m not one to give a history or Dharma lesson as I am not a monk and would still after over ten years of on again, off again study and Buddhist practice I would still call myself a novice. It doesn’t help my memory is absolutely horrible so I actually write down and reread much of what I feel I already know to refresh myself, as I will this week; but I felt clarifying what Beginning anew meant was needed to fully grasp what it is I’m trying to do.
So I will begin anew, reaffirming my commitment to Buddhism and my understanding of the Dharma. I plan to also look in my area for Buddhist groups so I can also find a Sangha ( Buddhist community) that is nurturing the spirit I have in myself. I tend to read wonderful books by Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which is book Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers changed my life; and books by his Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was working at Barnes and Noble at the time I found Buddhism, and this was a wonderful way to understand with little pressure what Buddhism was and what I now see is it’s importance to me. At that time I was already following a somewhat Buddhist life but didn’t have the terms and principles to rely on until reading ‘Going Home’. From there I was hooked, feeling as though I had found what was missing from my previous Baptist following in Buddhism.
The thing about any spiritual practice is the difficulty of it. I always find that a funny concept because I know my Buddha Nature is strong in me but yet following and practicing, something that I love, that already oozes out in me is difficult. The reality is, being spiritual is at odds with what we have created for our society. We consume foods that throw off our body chemistry, watch movies and television that can desensitize us from violence and humanity, and we allow technology to further isolate us from the contact that can nurture that missing humanity and trust ( and I am writing a blog cursing technology ). But the truth is I feel as though the advances we have shouldn’t take away from the wonderfulness of the past and that way of life. I am one for balance and first off, no one is taking away my television and movies; second I love my phone, so I am tasked with keeping everything in order and balancing my actions and perceptions.
This life is what you make it. I personally don’t see all technology as the big bad others do. My blog and social media is a phenomenal way to connect with others and share ideas. Many people have access to instructional tools and visuals they would never see if not for technology. Television, while potentially harmful can be informative with documentaries, and really the movies and shows we love often times paint a real picture of the world we live it. We can’t fear these things but we should try to understand them and allow them to work for us.
I kind of got off track from the real purpose and meaning of this post, but if I have learned anything from meditation is that the when the mind wanders, just gentle bring it back to the breath and don’t beat yourself up about it. I actually like when I go off on a tangent because I always find a way to connect them back to the source thought; and for this tangent I am saying while distractions are out there, while I got distracted by my search for easy and artificial ways at joy, I’m back doing what really brings me joy.
Buddhism is my core. Buddhism is scary to me because I found it late and did not commit before worldly and unwholesome seeds took a deep root. Every time I feel I am successful at driving those seeds back into my deep consciousness and watering wholesome seeds I know I freak out and rush back to the comfort of self destruction. Today I Begin Anew. Today I become myself.