As I said in PART 1, Buddhist philosophy resonates with me. Particularly the practice of meditation. Here is how it works for me & my particular circumstances:
- I've found that it is the best thing to do when I'm hypo/manic to collect my thoughts, calm down and slow down (having said this, it is also the hardest thing to do in this state).
- It is one of the ONLY things I can do when I'm seriously depressed. And, although it doesn't make the depression disappear, it makes me more accepting of it which diminishes the suffering.
- You might know or might not that I am a member of MENSA, and therefore was born with a complex, fast and enquiring mind. It may seem like a blessing, but it is not without its own set of problems. It leads to spending most of your life in your thoughts/mind. Intellectuals are definitely more out of touch with their bodies than non-intellectuals. (probably explains why so many intellectuals end up attracted to Buddhism) Meditation, I find, is the perfect anti-dote for this. As I've said before, although most people think meditation is all about the mind, it is actually about connecting the body with the mind. Getting the body & mind into the same place, at the same time.
- I work in the IT field, more specifically on the Net. This means that I spend more & more time sitting in front of the screen, mind racing around all over the place and, other than my mouse hand, the rest of my body practically "going extinct". So after uploading my awareness onto the Net for hours and hours, I find meditation the best way to download it back into my body.
- One of the biggest diseases of this millennium is "Rush Sickness". I recently read the book "In Praise of Slowness", and I can honestly say that every person on the planet should read it. Having worked in a corporate target-driven environment for 15 years, I am particularly apt to rushing everything I do. One of the central themes of Meditation and Buddhist philosophy is "Slow Down". Need I say more.
- I've always been a sort of Philosopher and 2 years ago actually completed the first year of a Masters degree in Philosophy. And that is one of the problems that I had with Christianity. It just did not stand up to logical, deep philosophical enquiry. But the deeper I go into Buddhism, the more I see how resonant it is with the conclusions leading philosophers have arrived at. It is particularly in line with the latest philosophical debates, especially Post-Modernism and Deconstruction. Many of the West's greatest philosophers have recognised the perfect logic of Buddhism, Schopenhauer being one of the best known.
- In addition to being in accord with philosophy, Buddhist metaphysical truth is increasingly being confirmed as the accurate view by leading science. Speak to any Quantum Physicist. Nothing is permanent, absolute or solid, everything is in a state of constant and relative flux. This Empirical evidence is a great thing because it means that you don't have to take everything on Blind Faith.
- Perhaps most importantly, as someone who has suffered the blackest of depressions, and deepest of Existential Angst, I gave up the illusion of a perfect world long ago. I've seen life in it's barest bones and have realised that life is imperfect and full of suffering, and always will be. And this, it turns out, is the very Cornerstone of the Buddha's message. The First Noble truth: "All Life is suffering"*
But maybe I'm just jaded and cycnical. So if your personal world is close to perfect, or if your idealism is totally totally intact - my sincere wishes are with you. May you find what I have not.
* Suffering can be a confusing concept here, because it has two parts - stimulus and response. What the Buddha showed is that the suffering can be alleviated. But it is NOT alleviated by changing the stimuli (the painful conditions of the world ) which are permanent, but rather in the WAY in which you relate to those conditions.