I have been on a path for several years, a sort of personal journey, to try and be a better person. I have focused on being grateful for what comes my way, on being charitable, on being kinder. I have tried to stifle the judgmental part of me, and be understanding of the behavior of others. I feel like I have made incremental progress, inching toward where I want to be.
This weekend, I took another step on the path. I've decided to commit to being a practicing Buddhist. I just don't feel like I can go much farther without leaning on the wisdom of others, and without a framework outside my own head. I accept the Four Noble Truths, will attempt to follow the 5 precepts, and will work on the eightfold path.
There -- I said it. It seems odd declaring publicly something that I think I've been doing privately for several years. And it smacks slightly of "religion" -- that thing I have avoided for decades. I don't think it really is a religion, not in the way most folks mean the term. It is a spiritual practice, and a spiritual example, but it does not involve worship, or an omnipotent deity, which would be deal-breakers for me. It doesn't even involve "faith" -- which is another word I avoid. Understanding, acceptance, patience, virtue, persistence, reverence, I can handle.
It's a little weird for me, and maybe even a little frightening. I have to give up some of my stubborn trust in my own self and my own way. I have to give up a measure of control, and that is so not my best thing. I have to accept help and guidance, also not my best thing. We'll see where this takes me.