sprouted in Buddhism. As a young lady of 18, I read my first worlds religions book and was pulled to the one religion that spoke of pain. Life is suffering. It summed up my own life and I finally found as though I had some understanding.

I had just been blindsided from the words of my new husband. He no longer wanted to be with me. I walked in a wave of haze for the next week, spending nights with my sister and her family. Watching reruns of Sanford and Sons with my brother-in-law because sleep was not an option.

B was my everything. My whole life plan revolved around him. I was too scared to do anything else. Even though I toyed with the idea of moving out of state for college, I ultimately chose him and the plan. Marriage, house, kids, happily ever after. So badly that I wanted this, I could pick the stupid, white fence from the plastic fence store that I drove by on my way to my new community college education plan.

When he told me to move out, I wasn’t but a short time from the beginning of the semester. I was so afraid that my life had ended. I was a zombie. I walked my zombie self to the first day of class. I tried to focus and I noticed that not a single person in that room made any notice of me. That only brought more fear because the few girls I saw had already formed their friendships. If high had taught me anything, it was that there was no entry where that sort of friendship lived. Especially to an outsider. I couldn’t play my usual card, which was to flirt with the boys, because I was wavering on the idea of my husband coming this senses and taking me back and the idea that the thought of men made me sick to my stomach.

I somehow kept moving through the motions. I bounced around the idea of just giving up into the no existence, but I loved my nephew too much and he was graciously letting me play cars and donkey kong with him whenever I was sad.

Then I read the words, “Life is suffering.” And I couldn’t agree more. I had believed in God and when I was hurting, I prayed  I begged God for a miracle and I received nothing. I had no inclination that there was a God for me. (That changed in time, but it’s a process). I became an atheist and did not even feel myself worthy of a Buddhist inclusionary name. Saying, “I am Buudhist,” made me feel like an imposter. I was a nobody.

The Buddhist Bible, “By oneself evil is done; by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified.”

There was no miracle for Buddha. He was man. He had no savior abilities and he could not do magic for me. He said I had to do the work but it would be worth it. And so I began.

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