Friday, October 23, 2009

Meditating with the Buddha

Most of you know I have a thing for Buddhism. I'm a Protestant who works at a synagogue, but I love me some Buddhism. I wrote my master's thesis about the role of women in Buddhism, and I find the Eightfold Path the smartest way to center my life. This is not in conflict with my other religious beliefs, and I could bore you to tears with why I believe this to be the case. Be glad I'm not doing that today.

Buddhism makes a big deal of being in the moment. Meditation is not described as connecting to a Higher Power. It's not prayer. It's not waiting for divine intervention.

It's sitting. And breathing. That's it.

Except I find it impossible to do. Sit. Breathe. When thoughts enter your head, acknowledge them and then let them float by without judging them.

Buddhism is practice. It's not a religion; it's a practice. Can't meditate? That's okay. Just practice. Practice doesn't imply that you have it figured out; it just implies that you're attempting something. Success isn't really the issue.

My favorite Buddhist writes about being told by her teacher that he believed she had approximately 10,000 more lifetimes before she reached Enlightenment. There was no pressure; she had lots of time to figure things out. I have time.

All of life is practice.

Sit. Breathe.

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