Around 6 months ago, i started going to Buddhism and meditation classes at my local neighborhood house. I had always thought of meditation as ‘new age stuff’, that only the likes of Sting and Bono would be involved in, but began to awaken to the fact that my abilities to relate to and deal with the stresses in my life, just weren’t cutting it anymore. My previous methodologies, (much to my wife’s chagrin), were to not talk about a problem (go into my cave, as Dr John Gray would call it) or ignore it and hope it went away.
These methods can work reasonably well when you’re single, living by yourself and only have one person to worry about. But when you have a family, the stubborn ‘i am an island’ approach, tends not to be so well received.
The more i attempted to control external factors in my life – job, relationships, finances etc., the less in control i became, and the less i wanted to talk about it. Vicious circle…
So, during a sojourn to the local library, i noticed an advert for Buddhism classes, and thought that it was worth a shot. After all, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got…
So, fast forward 6 months >>>>
° The couple of hours i spend each week listening to dharma teachings, meditating in a group setting and discussing issues with like minded folk are really valuable to me. I thoroughly look forward to learning something new, a different way of looking at life and better ways of dealing with the everyday stresses we all experience
° Incorporating a sitting meditation into your day, even just 30 minutes in silence, on your own, can be really difficult if you’ve a family. I have downloaded some simple guided meditations onto my phone and listen to them if I’m out for a walk, at the shops etc. This is known as walking meditation and is recommended as a way of incorporating some peace into an otherwise busy schedule.
° Some of the Buddhist literature can be quite heavy. If like me you’re more attuned to reading James Patterson, rather than Sanskrit texts, you could do much worse than reading this, and adopting just one of the suggestions each week, making a determined effort to focus on that in order to improve your, and others, lives
Whilst i am a long way from reaching the stage of enlightenment, i have really fallen for the calmness and kindness that Buddhism exudes, although showing love for all living beings can be testing when the slugs are eating your bok choi.
If you’re interested in finding out more for yourself, there are local drop in classes around Melbourne, have a look here for information. They also run in other major towns and cities, so have a look in the interwebs for more info.
Have a super weekend!