Friday, April 2, 2010

Reflections (7): I Am a Buddhist


Good Friday feels weird this year.

In years past, making an effort to embrace my Catholic faith during Holy Week was, more often than not, just sheer and utter drudgery. To be sure, there were times when I sincerely felt as if I could literally touch the purity and sanctity of my faith. But, for the most part, the annual pilgrimage to confess before Good Friday, the requisite attendance at mass and the focus on the pain and suffering of Jesus felt rather inauthentic. Empty even.

And then everything in my life changed. Suddenly, the ground below my feet was more solid. For the first time I knew who I was, who I wanted to be, and who I would never be again.

I also began to read. Passively at first. Later, I was gripped by a furious urge to understand that surprised even me. Eventually, it took embracing something outside of Catholicism for me to come to terms with my Catholic faith.


I am a Buddhist.

I write these words with a great deal of serenity and satisfaction. This glorious, ancient practice has helped to bring clarity to my heart in ways that I still cannot comprehend. For me, it is but the logical progression of a person who has embraced the tenants of an ephemeral, yet, ever-powerful movement called Voluntary Simplicity.

If Voluntary Simplicity is my destination, Buddhism is my roadmap.

If Voluntary Simplicity is the cool, misty waters of the Pacific Ocean,

Buddhism is my Surly Long-Haul Trucker:

Let me be clear. While I have embraced the practice of Buddhism, I am still Catholic. Or, at least, as Catholic as the Church says I am. I have yet to find anything inside myself that compels me to abandon my faith. Catholicism, for all its faults and contradictions, is, and always will be, the great enigma of my spiritual life.

What Buddhism has taught me is that I don’t ever have to completely resolve this enigma. I can immerse myself in the waters of my faith, so long as I embrace the path laid out by my heart.

And it is from this path that I write these words today.

[Reflections introductory post]

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