Attending Buddhist Classes
I’ve always been interested in meditation and Buddhist principles, without actually knowing they were Buddhist principles. I found out there was a class that took place during a Wednesday lunchtime down the road at the local Buddhist centre, and so I thought I’d pop along.
The first class I attended was actually the last class in that series. I was one of four women, all much older than me, and the topic up for discussion was enlightenment. Yep, I got thrown in at the deep end. We were read some passages from a great book called and then we discussed them. Instead of what I’d known religious or spiritual books or words to sound like (hard to understand wordy gibberish) it was all in laymans terms and really beautifully described. I thought I may find this bit of the class weird, but actually it was SO nice to be able to talk about things in a way that only a total pothead could compete with. Bliss.
We then took a short meditation, or ‘just sitting’ as it was described to me. Sit quietly, if thoughts enter your mind that’s fine, but just notice them and carry on, well, thinking about nothing.
After I left that class, I wanted more. My mind had been opened to the possibilities of other people, regardless of gender, age or background who all wanted to talk about the same things that I did. I’m bored of conversations about who did what, what so and so bought or who is having drama at the moment. I’m seeing the deeper meanings of our existence, most probably down to the birth of my daughter, and I wanted to indulge in it.
I found out that a new series of the class was starting a few weeks later and I enrolled. It was actually great to be at the start of a new intake, again, people of various ages, backgrounds and gender all coming together like the worlds strangest Motley Crue, to learn about the teachings of Buddha, drink tea, eat biscuits, meditate and talk. Discuss. Debate. The teachers all had funny names, one which seriously sounded to me like ‘darma-vagina’. I realised after a couple of weeks that was most definitely not his name.
I can’t go into what each class taught, or what I got from it. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I can’t even start to describe how brilliant it felt to be debating sexual abstinence with 60-something-yr old Peter, or understanding what Gillian believed karma to be. I felt a connections to the teachings, things that had slowly been coming to realisation for me, even before the classes began, that seemed to be eerily replicated by the Buddhist way. Coincidence? Maybe it’s just the right thing for me.
'Are you a Buddhist now?' my friends ask me. Well, I don't know really. It's more a way of life than a religion. It's given me things to work towards, and I'm enjoying working on them. I still eat meat and I hardly ever meditate 'properly' but the reassuring fact about Buddhism is that these are all aspirations. My intention is there, it's good, and that's all that matters really.
PEACE AND LOVE!