We all have a story about how we took our spiritual path seriously, whether it’s traditional Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu, Wicca or whatever. Sure, there are plenty of us walking around going through the motions and celebrating holidays of religions that were passed down to us by our parents and even society. I grew up in a household that never mentioned religion. We never went to church. I was around nine years old when I decided to go to church a few times, to see what went on inside. Seen through the eyes of a nine-year old girl, I can say, not much was happening. It was boring.
Off and on from my teenage years through my adult life, I dabbled in astrology and read spiritual writings from authors I can’t remember. I never took my spiritual life seriously…until I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. That day my life changed forever. It wasn’t that I thought I was going to die, I never believed that. Something deep inside me said, I would survive. I just knew there was something more than the day-to-day bullshit, I called my life.
While I was looking up other cancer survivors on the Internet, I ran across many who wrote about spirituality and suggested books to help other cancer patients get through their ordeal. Louise Hay seemed to be a favorite, so I found her books in the library and started reading. Hay is a cancer survivor and lives a rich spiritual life, dedicated to helping others. I wanted to be like her (and Oprah)spiritual life. Her books led me to other writers and eventually to Buddhist teachings.
I don’t call myself a Buddhist but I strive to be Buddha like, or at least not to be an asshole. I don’t like labels, especially religious ones; there’s too many problems that come from saying, “I believe this or I believe that.” There are too many people who like to argue that your belief is wrong and theirs is right. If you ask me, we’re all right. Even atheists. We all believe in something that resonates with us. There might be some who say, I can’t follow Buddhism AND some other spiritual belief. That’s their opinion.
I read that the Dali Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh both say Buddhism doesn’t care if one follows another religion as well. Buddhism is not jealous of other religious beliefs. Thich Nhat Hanh said Buddha and Jesus said the same thing… “don’t be an asshole”. OK, they didn’t say that but they did say to get along with each other.
I was watching Davidji give an interview on You Tube about stress management the other day and he mentioned how he found his spiritual life. He was working in “mergers and acquisitions” in New York for many years and then…911 happened. His life changed drastically after that and he quit his lucrative job… I suggest watching his interview to find out more. It’s really good and he’s a funny guy!
After watching the video, I got to thinking how many others have a similar story, maybe not as drastic as Davidji’s and mine but something that happened in their lives that made them “examine” their life choices? According to Abraham Maslow, only 3% of the population ever look at their life critically and wonder why they made the choices they did, or as he puts it, “become self-actualized”.
I am far from being self-actualized. I still have too many knee jerk reactions to situations. I still put my foot in my mouth and I allow my buttons to get pushed. I am working on it though and Buddhist teachings, along with other spiritual practices help me. I’m definitely much better than before cancer.
I know you, dear reader have a story to tell and feel free to share it by leaving a comment. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, not only about spiritual things but their lives in general. We are all on our personal journeys but we also share space on a huge rock spinning thousands of miles an hour through space. Now that’s some mind-blowing shit!