When it comes to utilizing this aforementioned attitude of reverence toward things unseen, I turn to the very practical concept of our actions and their results.
For myself, for this trip, for being in a foreign country, this is stupidly relevant. I came into this program with a somewhat romanticized vision of what life should be like for practicing Buddhist, monks or laity. My preconceived notions fell in line with my own expectations for how I thought I should practice and what that implied for my interactions with society at large. Coming to Thailand, it became obvious this wasn’t the case. My ideas not falling in line with reality lead to demystification that, at first, had me disheartened and sad. That being said, I chose to begin focusing on the things that had meaning to me and how I may build myself up based on that. In doing so, I came to be more conscientious of the way I was interacting with both the environments and people surrounding Buddhism.
This perspective has done me loads of good. Granting respect for my own beliefs as they pertain to me, and me alone, has allowed me to carry forth the same attitude to others.
How is this magical? These objects we revere, our actions in response to that reverence, and the results, are all often within our minds. They are, in turn, unseen. In the course of reckoning with the power of these attitudes, it can begin to feel as if one is interacting with something beyond themselves and reality. What that may be may simply not matter. But what it means to us and how we act in accordance is the important part. The rituals we carry out, the words we use, and especially the people we associate with, these are all results of this way of being.
I used to value this faculty of my heart immensely. It was mainly through exposure to our society’s myth of demystification that I began to shove it aside. It’s easy to feel ashamed of this mode of thinking when the world illegitimizes it. Living in line with materialism and consumerism entails surrendering to a hopeless way of living. These “ism”s would have us believe that stuff is the only way to be happy and life is all about buying more things, accumulating more money, and attaining the highest possible pleasurable experience.
I’m a little bitter, but that does me no good. I believe each and every being on this planet has within their heart a capacity to develop a happiness that lasts, satisfies, and roses above the tides.
Thank you and please take care,