Four Ways Buddhism Brought Me Closer to God

Buddhism is just about as diverse as Christianity. They have as many sects as Christianity has denominations. The interesting thing about Buddhism is that they don’t worship Buddha. In fact, they are encouraged not worship Buddha.

This came as a surprise to me when I first became acquainted with a practicing Buddhist. I began reading some of the literature and eventually a few books by the Dalai Lama. For the record, they don’t worship him either. Buddhism is about training your thoughts to cultivate happiness. Christianity tells us that God wants us happy, and people are just better at everything if they’re happy including worshiping God.

Some Christian friends and family members warned me that I would “go astray” from the way of the Lord and “fall from the path of righteousness”. But, something was missing in my life, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

I bought some more books on Buddhism. I read for many months and tried to meditate. It’s harder than it seems to think of nothing, but I kept at it.  After a while, something interesting happened. I felt lighter. I felt happier. Let me explain.

Buddhism says that you are to listen to your inner voice above your senses. It’s important to be “present”.  That’s stressed a great deal. I went about trying to be more “present” in my life, and this is how:

  1. Pay attention – When you’re stuck in traffic with nowhere to go pay attention. Don’t think about where you need to be or the list of things you have to do this weekend. Look around you. What is the guy in the car next to you doing. Is the wind blowing in the trees? Notice everything around you. It’s a good place to start and you build from there. You basically practice being in the moment by consciously taking note of what’s around you.
  2. Observe – Notice everything. Don’t pick out one object and focus on it. If you’re in a group of people take everything they do in. Like a movie that’s playing on a screen – see the big picture and the smaller characters in this picture. Be silent. Notice inflections in the voices, body language, the way someone is speaking. Take the position that you have no stake in the matter, but notice how easily and more adeptly you can respond.
  3. Breathe – This sounds easy. It’s not for me. When I’m upset or pressing a deadline I find myself not breathing. Breathe deliberately and deeply as often as possible. Before you settle in to go to sleep breathe deeply and notice the rise and fall of your chest.
  4. Meditate – This requires you being still and silent for about 30 minutes. Don’t dwell on anything or try to think. Just be.

Doing these simple things made me a better Christian in the following ways:

  1. Being present helped me appreciate the blessings before me and see the needs that were right in front of me. Acknowledging those blessings and the needs of others is the key to giving thanks and being charitable.
  2. Observing helped me understand underlying motives behind the interactions between people. Understanding is the key to compassion. Above all things Jesus told us to “Love God with all our hearts”.  Second to that he told us to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. You cannot love those on this earth if you do not have compassion. You can’t love yourself and you cannot love others. Surprisingly, my compassion brought me closer to God and understanding his plan for me.
  3. Breathing deliberately helped me calm myself. Decisions should come from a place of calm and love whenever possible. I found myself making better decisions because I was calmer.
  4. Meditating helped me be quiet long enough to hear God speak to me. There’s so much noise in the world today from tv. radio, internet, and people. This overstimulation not only shuts off our own inner voices but God’s voice.  It’s a great idea to shut it all off for 30 minutes or so just to hear God speak to you. I found that when I thought of nothing that this is usually when I heard my inner voice and God’s intentions for me the loudest and clearest.

It wasn’t until I went through these exercises that I realized what had been missing: Peace.  My mind was too clouded with thoughts to recognize what I needed most. Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’, and I think I understand that better now with the help of  a few Buddhist instructions. I don’t pretend to be a practicing Buddhist or understand Buddhism fully, but I am grateful for the positive impact on me and those around me. I’m most grateful for my strengthened relationship with God.

What do you do to try to hear your own inner-voice? What do you do to hear God?

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About Angie Kinsey

Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Auntie and Student of Life.

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Motivational and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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