I love Buddhism. Over the years, it has helped me massively to deal with the ups and downs of life. I wish I had taken it more seriously when I was young, as I faced numerous life challenges.
Everything was so incredibly vital and important to me then, and I consequently took everything far too seriously. I overreacted a lot.
I don’t want to preach to anyone, and of course, you’re not compelled to become interested in Buddhism yourself, if you don’t want to. I just wanted to share my love for this special Eastern practice, as it might also help some others out there.
Buddhism teaches that there are many forms of suffering in life, such as ageing, sickness and death. There is a lot of pain involved in life, in many ways: everyone gets sick and dies, we can lose things or they can decay, and relationships can be lost etc etc. Nothing is permanent. There are many forms of potential suffering.
However, if we train our minds well, then we can be happy, no matter what happens to us. It’s called inner happiness.
The key is not to become attached to things, you see. You can love stuff and people, but don’t be attached to them. Then you won’t be sad when something happens to them. You’ll remain happy no matter what!
If I had known how not to be attached, I would not have been destroyed by my marital breakdown and other things. Buddhist practices can help to train our minds. It’s like a psychological training system! Wonderful for those of us with mental illness!
But How Can we Train our Minds?
Well, one of the main tools that Buddhism uses is of course meditation. If you are interested in trying it out, it’s recommended to start off with maybe five minutes a day. You can do it whilst sitting on the floor, standing, or even while walking around. There are lots of ways to do it!
Try to clear the mind of any thought, and relax. You’ll probably find your mind racing all the time, with lots of differing thoughts. This is known as the monkey mind. Don’t fight it and think you’re just not suited to meditation. It’s completely normal and happens to everyone. It gets easier after a few weeks of dedicated practice, I promise!
Try to work up to 20 minutes twice a day, and then perhaps even more eventually. Don’t fight your thoughts. Just try to let them go. For some who struggle too much, meditation practice can be rather stressful. To avoid this, please try to just let go and relax fully. One technique is to try to focus on a single thought. This can help to focus the mind. Let your thoughts go and relax.
If you can maintain a regular practice, it can have great benefits for your psychology. It can help you be calmer, more focused, more disciplined and just generally to have a better frame of mind.
Another method that Buddhism teaches is to practice non-attachment. Love things and people, but don’t become attached to them.
A pathway promoted by Buddhism which, when adhered to correctly, can help us to attain happiness, is known as the Eightfold Path (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism). The main idea is to live, think and act in a healthy manner, then this promotes the conditions for happiness.
Practice shouldn’t just be restricted to formal meditation. We can practice all throughout the day, whatever we are doing. Just try to concentrate fully, and keep your thoughts on whatever you are doing. This is known as being mindful.
I believe that following the ideas promoted in Buddhism can significantly help people to be happier. Not being attached to things is the key, and be mindful in everything you do.
Good luck if you do decide to give it a try!
I also have a blog at ibeatmysocialanxiety.com. Please stop by if you can, and subscribe to get information about social anxiety and mental illness in general. Thanks! John