At Integrative Counsel, we draw from many pools of wisdom, and Buddhism is one of them.
Although it was founded about twenty-five centuries ago in what is now modern-day India, Buddhism holds a great deal of knowledge that was far ahead of its time. The primary goal of Buddhism is to overcome suffering by letting go of our attachments to things which are fleeting and impermanent. In the modern age, we are conditioned to attach our self-worth to transient and impermanent concepts like money and status. Buddhism teaches us that there is a better way. Here are five pieces of Buddhist wisdom to bolster your development.
Work on your unhealthy cravings.
Buddhism teaches us that our desire is the root of our suffering. When we harbor desires and attachments for things in the material world that decay, deplete, or wander beyond our control, it inevitably leads to suffering. It could range from being a reliance on cigarettes that damage your physical body, a toxic relationship that damages your psyche, or an obsession with work that damages your close relationships. By negotiating a better relationship with our desires, we can have a more giving relationship with our suffering.
Buddhism teaches us that it is noble and divine to be in touch with your own consciousness. This can mean being in touch with the physical sensations of your body through touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell, but it can also mean being in touch with our spiritual hindrances. Mindfulness is more than tolerating the present moment in Buddhism, it’s about being aware, willing, and involved in the world around you.
Let go of your resentments.
One of the five hindrances in Buddhism is ill-will, or byapada. By fostering anger and negativity towards others, we can only allow those feelings to grow in ourselves. An old Buddhist proverb tells the story of two monks who are carrying an ungrateful passenger on their backs for a long leg of their journey. When the ungrateful passenger is finally let off, the younger monk dwells on the indignities they both suffered at the passenger’s hand. The older monk replies: “I put the passenger down miles ago. Why are you still carrying them?”
The inability to calm the mind can seem like an insurmountable barrier. Buddhism teaches us that restlessness and worry are symptoms of the unhealthy attachments we carry with us, and that your enlightenment involves releasing yourself from the endless cycle of pain, panic, and self-soothing. Through meditation, many Buddhists find release from their restless anxiety.
Release yourself from the tomb of your ego.
Buddhism teaches us that our sense of self is an illusion of the ego. When we fancy ourselves an outside observer of the cosmos (everything that is), we promote the illusion that we are not included in a list of everything that is. Buddhism teaches us that we are all connected, and that the self is an opaque barrier that inhibits our ability to see the true oneness of all things.
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Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.