I Found Happiness as a Buddhist

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Photo by Leonard Laub on Unsplash

I never felt so at peace in my life.

I’m not religious. I grew up Roman Catholic and never really “found myself” at church. To be completely honest, I never really understood it.

Why couldn’t I believe in God on my own time? Why were there all these stories? Why did I need to eat bread and drink wine?

The ritualistic ideology behind the Catholic religion had pushed me away; so far, I found a new religion that I thought suited me way better.

Buddhism.

In light of the dark ages, and by that, I mean my depression, I needed something to believe in. I needed something to give me clarity, something to follow that made me feel better, just something.

I stumbled on the book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and consumed the entire book within two days. I was fascinated.

Imagine a book that’s half self-help and half-spiritual guidance. This book illustrated the means of finding inner peace in a world full of stress and destruction. I’m not going to summarize the book; I think everyone should read or listen to it to gain all the knowledge I took away from it.

But I will tell you all what I did after reading it. What inspired me to embark on a journey to mental clarity, joy, and fulfillment.

1. Forgiveness

Surprisingly this was the hardest one.

You can’t live a happy life when feeling hatred toward others. It doesn’t even have to be hatred; it can be any internal resentment toward another person that creates negative energy when you are around them.

I had memories engrained in my head from my childhood — things people did, words that were said, actions that were done. Letting go of the past, and forgiving others for what they did, lifted an intangible weight off my chest, one I didn’t even know I had.

I now let go of past anger and sadness and replace it with gratitude for the lessons I have learned and how they have made me stronger.

It’s all about perspective.

2. Mindfulness

Any Buddhist will tell you that being in the now is the most important part of enlightenment.

I had always struggled with being present. I dwelled about the past, worried about the future. I still do, and it’s something I work on daily.

Every day I sit and meditate. Only 5 minutes sometimes, or maybe 10. The days I meditate for 20 or more, are some of the most peaceful days of my life.

The act of sitting still with your mind, having no thoughts running through it, and just focusing on your breath, is something that I never thought would change me as much as it did.

I go through my days sometimes and think, “Wow, I need to meditate.”

Meditation helps my mind function clearer, my thoughts make more sense, and my emotions run less wild. I feel centered and calm and can think at a much higher level than I ever could before.

3. Journal

This is another one that I can’t help but feel the need to do throughout my day.

I always have an intense craving to write. Maybe that’s why I’m on Medium.

The art of journaling makes my mind less crowded and more clear. Think about it, or maybe don’t. We have so many thoughts running through our minds every day. Being able to get them out and sort them on paper gives reasoning and purpose to what our thoughts mean.

Journaling creates an outlet for ideas, thoughts, and emotions. Some of the most significant people in history have kept a journal, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Anne Frank.

I have almost finished my first journal and am looking forward to staring a new one.

4. Gratitude

It’s human nature to strive to be better and more successful. But what if you took a step back and looked at what you already have.

My journal consists of some entries where I just wrote down a page of everything I am grateful for: Family, clothes, food, my computer.

Expressing gratitude gives us a boost in our everyday life. It shows us how much we already have, how lucky we are to have it, and how much more we need to recognize it’s existence.

Those days I’m feeling down, I remind myself of everything amazing about my life. It gives me this incredible joy that life is a precious thing, and I am lucky enough to be living in it.

5. Nourish

Before I became interested in Buddhism, I was already eating a vegan diet. Many Buddhists don’t eat meat, which made me instantly feel a connection to the morals of the Buddhist religion.

You don’t need to be vegan or even vegetarian to align yourself with the values of Buddhism. There are some Buddhists who eat meat, but many do not due to this principle:

“Even one who is a dog has been one’s father, for the world of living beings is like a dancer. Therefore, one’s own flesh and the flesh of another are a single flesh, so Buddhas do not eat meat.”

Besides the meat-eating factor, many Buddhists eat whole foods. They eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. They eat to feel good and be in prime health conditions. It’s no secret that the healthier you eat, the better you feel.

Health is wealth.

6. Minimalism

Many Buddhists don’t live lavishly. They don’t need Gucci or Chanel to feel fulfilled. That’s not what life is about.

Minimalism doesn’t have to be you own one plate and have one piece of furniture. It can be that you don’t buy things to be happy.

You don’t need another sweater when you already have ten perfectly nice ones in your closet. Many of us buy things to make us feel fulfilled, but that joy only lasts so long. The idea that money doesn’t buy happiness is one that I came to see quickly in my life.

I realized I could have many things at a young age, but gift after gift, you get bored with them quickly. I learned to cherish moments and people more than I ever would a new car.

Minimizing your belongings also increases space in your mind. Owning less, you have less responsibility and more freedom. Getting rid of clothes is like getting rid of a burden, and I never fail to feel better after a good closet cleanout.

You don’t need much to be happy.

7. Worship

There is no God in Buddhism.

The Buddha was a man who did not proclaim himself as a God.

This intrigued me the most about this religion. You’re not asked to worship anyone; you are asked to embark on a spiritual journey to attain enlightenment, to work on yourself.

I was able to see life from a brand new perspective after practicing the ideals of Buddhism. I found peace, calm, and harmony, and felt more fulfillment than I ever had.

I hope this is able to help someone find their own path to a better life and a more centered mind.

Namaste.

Link to my Youtube Video on this!

https://youtu.be/dkT8ZMGL3Wc

basically what i’ve learned in 19 years.

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