Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Almost immediately after writing my last manuscript I started thinking about what to write next. I had a few ideas about what it would be about and what I wanted to say. The thing that startled me the most was the confidence I felt. Since I my eighth birthday when my parents marriage started to fall apart I have not had confidence in myself. Whether this is from my parents divorce, my father’s treatment of me or if there is more to it I am not sure.
Around my twentieth year I started looking for something. Trying to discover who I was and why I am here. My quest took me to things I never imagined. I looked into Wicca, Islam, Satanism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The latter of these drawing me in. When I discovered the teachings of the Buddha and every school of thought in Buddhism I knew nothing about who Buddha was, what it was about or whether I wanted to follow a religion or religious philosophy at all.
My childhood consisted of the LDS (Mormon) religion for the most part, that had to do with living in Utah. I remember going to church with my parents, it is one of my youngest memories. I remember the first time my father took us to an Assembly of God church and we saw a women speak in tongues. It is something my sisters laughed at, I was too young to understand what was going on and as every child I did what my parents did.
After their divorce I remember going to church very rarely only when I knew my mom or dad were feeling guilty about something. It was around this time I started to get asked what religion I was I told them I didn’t know. Everyone laughed at that answer, even though it was the truth. Growing up non-Mormon in Utah sucks. Not so much for the teasing, I got teased for worse things than religion in school. It was more the things I could not do because of not following the Mormon faith.
In my twentieth year, probably before that I started to look at religion, because I believe that everyone needs a faith/spirituality/belief/or Non-belief. I also studied every text of religions I could find, I have not read them in a long time and have no reason to do so anymore. I was at a bookstore in those times reading the religion sections and found myself looking at Eastern Religions more often than anything else.
I read “Awakening the Buddha Within” by Lama Surya Das and felt after reading that, the path was laid in front of me. There was an experience the first time I meditated that I have tried to equal since. A moment where I felt everything slip away and I saw only me sitting on the floor meditating. It was my moment of clarity, and I was only twenty-one. The only way I can describe it to someone is the way a Christian describes being saved by god or Jesus Christ.
My beliefs and Buddhism came to me when I needed them most. I was trying to find why I was here, who I was and even the thought of “if” I deserved life here at all came to me. The last twelve years since starting the path I have stepped off sometime for reasons I don’t understand and possibly never will. I am now on the path and have begun meditating again and I have discovered when I meditate my mind is more focused on my writing and everything feels better when I write it.
I am more calm than I was when Buddhism found me. I have the confidence I lost when my parents divorced, something I never believed I would get back. I have grown past my childhood and things that happened to me then. They are still there they always will be. I can change the way they make me feel about who I am. Becoming who I am now took a lot of steps. But each step is a new one on my path and I will gladly continue taking them.