I’ve always considered myself to be someone with a higher than average level of anxiety. I’ve tried pretty much every suggested solution to calm my anxiety including anti-anxiety medication (which never really worked), working on my anxiety with a psychologist (who rocks but I still struggle), increasing exercise, limiting caffeine and sugar – you name it, I probably tried it. Some remedies might help temporarily, but the anxiety has always started to creep back in.
And then something happened…
I discovered Buddhism and meditation.
OK, now don’t worry, I’m not going to go on some religious rant. But what I love the most about this website, is that each blogger talks honestly and openly about what’s going on in her life. And for me, right now, my new-found love of Buddhism is having a big impact on me.
I had been seeing signs up around my town for a Buddhist meditation center but always felt intimidated to go see what it was about. I emailed the center to get more information and they were so welcoming and explained to me exactly what happens in their meditation classes. I was really nervous the first time I went because I was a total newbie, but the people at the center (the Odiyana Center in Glastonbury) are so welcoming and loving (which makes sense because Buddhists are all about love and compassion!). I became hooked immediately and started gobbling up every piece of information about Buddhist teachings I could find (and am currently reading Modern Buddhism, a great read).
I’ve only been attending for about a month-and-a-half so I’m no expert, but what I do know is that for me, this is my path. I have felt more inner peace and more calmness in the past month than I have in my entire life. The Buddhist teachings I have read and listened to so far are incredibly beautiful. Buddhism teaches that we alone create our happiness and that controlling our minds is the key to inner peace. External conditions and material goods can never bring us lasting happiness, only we have the ability to do that. They also teach that we should do no harm to others, in our thoughts and in our actions and that we should love every single person, even those that get on our nerves, challenge us, criticise us and those that bring us harm.
I’ve found that as I am starting to feel more calm and peaceful that my interactions with my husband are more calm and peaceful as well. I also get less agitated by my toddler’s temper tantrums (which seem to be happening more and more!) and feel like I’m an even better parent.
I will say, I am a work-in-progress – I still have times that I feel anxiety and I still, unfortunately, allow my anger to get the best of me from time-to-time (sorry hubz…) But I’m so happy to be on this journey and I’m so happy that I already feel like a better person.
At our one-year anniversary party this past Saturday night I mentioned something about Buddhism to our bloggers Dena and Katie. Their immediate reaction was super supportive and they told me that Buddhism fits me perfectly, because I already exhibit a lot of Buddhist qualities. That meant more to me than I think they even know.
If you’re interested, I’ll keep you posted about my Buddhist journey moving forward. If you want to come with me to meditation class, I will gladly sit next to you so that you don’t have to go to your first class alone. At the Odiyana Center, people from any religion and even those that don’t believe in religion are welcome and can still greatly benefit from learning to meditate. And of course, if this is not your cup of tea, that’s completely OK too. We all find inspiration in different places and we all journey down different paths.