Summer so far has been a very enlightening and spiritual time for me. I have struggled with different insecurities, and I haven’t been as loyal to my path of enlightenment as I should be. But through all that confusion, I have managed to find myself more, and to honestly develop a more mature outlook on what I believe in.
Toward the beginning of summer, I was very consumed in my thoughts. I kept thinking about the past year, and how much I have grown spiritually and intellectually, and what types of relationships I made with different college students. Even though I was overall very pleased with how my freshman year went, I could not stop thinking about what I could have done better to improve myself.
Maybe I should have gone out more, and honestly tried to expand my inner circle. Did I really give it my all on every single test I took? Or am I choosing the right religious path, and should I give more thought to strengthening my relationship with God?
Since I have had a good amount of free time on my hands, all these thoughts took over me, and I kind of went into a slump with practicing Buddhism. I didn’t meditate as much as I should have, and I didn’t look to some of my favorite spiritual leaders, like the Dalai Lama or Buddha, for guidance.
It wasn’t until the middle of July that I decided I needed to stop dwelling on my past and accept the fact that I did what I could at that time, and I only have today and my future days to worry about.
After that, I started meditating on a more regular basis again, and I continued to heavily incorporate Buddhism in my life. I remembered that being so obsessive about the past is just another element that causes individuals to suffer.
That is one of the biggest obstacles I am still learning to overcome, because it’s human nature to reflect on what could have been.
However, the main thing to keep in mind is that visiting the past temporarily is not a bad thing, but the mind should never stay there. If so, there is no way that a person can truly enjoy the beauty in life and entirely grasp the moment they are in.
Not only did I come to that conclusion, but I also started looking to God again for help. Christianity constantly surrounds me at home – my family has a strong faith in God.
It's been hard to completely let Christianity go – so I haven't. I have tried incorporating both Christianity and Buddhism in my life, and I have never felt better. Both are very beautiful, and they help me in different ways to better myself.
When it comes to Buddhism, I look to that practice to help me understand how people cause themselves to suffer, and how it’s possible to take those components out of life. Furthermore, meditating helps my mind stay in the present moment, and it replenishes my soul every day.
On the other hand, I have a strong foundation built on Christianity, and it feels good to depend on God, but also have the courage to depend on myself to really better the person I am. Also, I like referring to the Bible in hard times, because I haven't found anything quite like it in Buddhism.
Using the Bible really helps strengthen my spirit because it’s something I can take with me everywhere and read on a constant basis.
Overall, both Christianity and Buddhism help me in major ways, and it feels great to be able to depend on both of them. Now I do understand that Buddhism and Christianity definitely have their differences, but I choose to take something from both beliefs in order to develop myself spiritually, and with love and constant compassion.
Buddha once said:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
I take this quote to heart, because not only does it give me the freedom to pursue what I want religiously, but I also have the confidence to truly believe that intertwining both faiths is right for me. I honestly believe in my heart, that God does not look down on or judge me for loving numerous of spiritual teachers. If anything, I believe that he encourages me to stay strong in my spiritual path, as long as I continue to love and look to him for guidance as well.