Sunday, November 23, 2014
My Buddhist Calling
A lot of my experience the past year has been in words more than actions. I write, sometimes at a furious pace, and when I stop writing at day's end, I'm in bed reading. Though a thousand other events and activities may befall or amuse me, it is in these words where I exist most often.
I'm reading three books right now, and though one of them is a real uphill slog, another is like a gorgeous, shining sun above my bed. Living Buddha, Living Christ is this star, and it's a beautiful collection of reflections unlike anything I've ever read before. Though I fancied myself an expert on all things Jesus over the course of my first 40 years, I'm beginning to learn more now about Buddhism, specifically how it's calling me to change.
Buddhism teaches us to not just walk, but walk mindfully, to be conscious of each step and movement. It reminds us to not just eat, but to eat mindfully, to appreciate each bite and taste as it moves through our mouths. And it calls us to be fully present in every conversation, activity, and thought, to become at one with the universe and its one song (uni verse).
As I continue to read this beautiful book by Thich Nhat Hanh, I can't help but see how it's part of a collection of conscious callings in my life leading me toward Buddhism. I don't happen to subscribe to some Buddhist teachings, as my core beliefs are and I believe probably will always be decidedly Christian, but there is a magnificent honesty in Buddhism I know I need. It's an honesty of consciousness, truth, and presence. It's a vocation to slowing ourselves down and really thinking through each moment, rather than flying off the handle when stress comes at us.
My Buddhist calling has been subtle, certainly nothing immediate, much like Buddhism itself, I guess. I see the sparkling lights of Christmas beginning to appear around the neighborhood now already, but in my mind, I see other lights too. I see lights that can help me grow as a soul, on this earth and beyond, and they reside in the teachings and writings of the Buddha and his disciples. Christianity will forever be at my core, and I will always have a profound appreciation for other religious beliefs and thoughts as well, but right now? Buddhism is definitely calling me. Not calling me away, just calling me forward, differently. And I'm going to listen more carefully to that calling in the days ahead.
The words I read and write surround me all the time. They are me, and I am them. I think on them as I read or write them down, but they live in the air around me whether or not I reach for them to add to my writing. Words are the catalog of thought, and thought is the catalog of understanding itself.