I’ve been studying Buddhism in some way, shape or form since the mid-1990’s. I’ve learned a number of fascinating things, and not all of them theological. I’ve sometimes been asked why I don’t look like I’m Buddhist. And I find myself asking, what exactly does a Buddhist look like?
I’ve had some people who believe that it’s all shaved heads and constant humming and meditating. Although that is a part of it, for some sects, it isn’t all of it. Although I believe in trying to live a minimalist lifestyle and I do meditate frequently, I am much like anyone else.
I am a complex and complicated person and I am subject to all the same difficulties and emotions that everyone else may experience. A friend reminded me today that it’s normal to feel anger and frustration, so long as I don’t live within those emotions and allow them to take control over my life.
I think that this is the same with anyone’s faith or beliefs. Although we may have grown up with them, had them taught to us or discovered them later in life, it makes them no less important. But much like any other faith, it doesn’t mean I’m bound by every stipulation of the faith I study.
It’s reminiscent of how some Catholic sects believe in attending mass on Sundays and avoiding meat on Fridays, but it sure didn’t stop members of my family from sleeping in on Sundays. And it sure didn’t stop my grandmother from enjoying a barbecued steak on Fridays. But it makes her no less Catholic.
Your faith and your beliefs are part of who you are, but don’t let yourself get bogged down by specifics. Sometimes you have to simply, as they say, go with the flow and let it happen. Having faith is sometimes just knowing you’re faithful. ☯