How Buddhist practice enriched my life
“Hey, are you truly happy?” You’ve probably been asked this question before. The answer is not so easy because often we make our “happiness” dependent on many different factors that all have to be fulfilled, so that we can answer with “Yes”. A couple of years ago, that would have been the same for me, too.
My best friend asked me this overarching question about “being happy” when we were making flower arrangements for her daughter’s wedding. “Tell me, are you happy with your life, just the way it is?”
Are you happy with your life, just the way it is?
My friend looked at me intensely, waiting impatiently for an answer. I put the blue cornflower, I was holding in my hands, into the flower arrangement and replied: „Yes, I think I am- Yes.”
„And why can you say that so easily? Is everything perfect in your life? Does it maybe have something to do with this Buddhist thing you’re doing?” she asked.
Buddhist thing? What did she mean by saying „Buddhist thing“? I replied: “Buddhist thing? Do you mean the practice?” She hesitated and said: „Oh sorry, it is obviously called practice. What effects does this practice entail exactly?”
What effects does Buddhist practice entail exactly?
„First we learn that everyone is responsible for his or her own happiness. Through our thoughts, actions and attitudes we create our lives.” My friend looked at me with eyes wide open: “It’s that simple? That means everyone who is doing this practice will have a life without problems?”
“If happiness for you means having no problems, then it’s not like that. The point is, that you learn to see your problems differently.” I wasn’t sure how much I could tell her about this big topic of Buddhist practice in this short time, without overwhelming her, so I carefully continued: Buddhist practice gives us a calmer, wider and more relaxed mind. We try to live in the moment, not in the past, not in the future, but in the present.
“You can see the challenges of your life differently, have different thoughts and can therefore act differently” Then I added: „At the end of the day, our ambition is, to be here for others, to support them and make them happy.”
“Wow that sounds great” said Verena. We looked contented at the beautiful flower arrangements that shone in many shades of purple and red.
“Look, what we have just been doing here is a good example. We helped our friend to prepare her wedding by making beautiful flower arrangements. When the guests arrive, they will enjoy their beauty and fragrance and their minds can relax. Their joy will in return make us satisfied and happy as well.”
My friend looked at me with a smile: „That means, making others happy actually means making ourselves happy?”
Making others happy actually means making ourselves happy.
She had understood my message. We hugged and as we walked she said: „You meditate too, don’t you? Can you show me sometime?”