In the Western world, Easter is fast approaching. With that in mind, there is something that has been on my mind for many days. According to Top 10, the following are the top five world religions as of April 2017, in order: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Each of these have similar traits to the others, yet are different enough to be distinguished among non-followers throughout the world.
So, a little about me, to help fill the gaps: I attended a private Christian school until 6th grade. I then transitioned into the public school until graduation from high school. I attended three different colleges: a community college, a state university, and a private Baptist college. I have obtained degrees in religion as well as business. Yet, there was something that was in the back of mind always: how does one follow blindly a path without questioning?
Fast forward many years and the following life events: a child, marriage, (numerous furbabies), the death of close family members: 2 grandfathers, an aunt, a grandmother, a great grandmother, and about the same on my husband’s side of the family. Yet, nothing prepares for the loss of a father. It was one of the darkest times of my life for the following reasons. He was my father first, yet he was also my friend. He taught me how to fix a car, yet also how to walk in heels. He was my partner in crime, while being a shoulder to cry on. He did let me experience life, even when he knew I would fail. Always in the background, waiting for me to fall, or fly. He was there to make sure my wings worked, yet there to catch me if they didn’t. 2015 was the darkest year thus far. I am not saying the days that have subsequently come and gone have been easy. It still hurts, and it is still raw. There is a hole in my heart that will never be whole.
You might be thinking, “why is she telling me this?” Well, because it has brought me to where I am today. Buddhism is a religion yes. However, it does not seek to convert one to follow the path. The Dalai Lama explained that, in my own words, Buddhism seeks to make you a better you. Regardless of what faith you identify with, or do not identify with. It seeks to make you a better person. Through my courses a the private college, I was influenced by, and drawn to, Buddhism. It is one of a few belief systems that encourage people to question everything. To take nothing on faith, because the only true statement one can make is “I do not know.” (More on this later).
As we embark on our journey in life, there are things we do not expect. No one, I mean NO ONE, expects to lay their father to rest before they are 30. They do not expect their child to grow up without his grandfather, and to lose him when he is only 9. It was at this time in my life that I decided to follow my heart and see where it will lead me. It has led me here, on the Pursual of the Path. I know it will be a journey like no other. Difficult, rewarding, enlightening (maybe), but it will be on that is unique to each individual. I also feel that while my journey is different from yours, we can each benefit from each other.
I welcome you to my journey, no matter how bumpy. It may not be pretty. It may not fit in a box. It might resemble yours, yet it is slightly different. In an age of time where secrecy is prized, I welcome you to my journey with the spirit of transparency.