Have you ever asked yourself what makes you truly happy and content?
And have you found one or more answers for yourself?
About 18 years ago I was in a phase of life in which, although I had everything, I did not feel happy. We, my husband and I, had started our own hairdressing business in the heart of Fulda in 2001 and barely two years later our first son was born. Actually, I thought that if you are married, have a good family, children and a good job, you can be very satisfied and happy. But unfortunately, I did not always feel this way. I can still remember exactly how I sat in our apartment at that time and was dead sad. Although I really had everything, I felt empty. That deep happiness, that feeling of oneness and contentment just wasn’t there. Because of all the responsibility I now had to carry, I felt rather crushed, my lightness was gone and also doubts crept in more and more. Was this really what you wanted, Melanie? Is this the meaning of life? What is true happiness?
At the time, I devoured several self-help books on positive thinking, life guidance or how to be happy, etc. My goal was to live a happy and content life, with everything that goes with it. A Happy Family and a meaningful life.
Despite all the motivational books I went through ups and downs, there were either only ups or downs, but such a middle ground I would have liked sometimes rather.
It was through one of my books that I got into massage training, which then moved my life in a new direction. I intended to make my clients in the business happier, today I know that I wanted to be happier myself.
On my first day of training, I unfortunately arrived a little late. My train was late, so I was the last one to arrive. A very pleasant middle-aged man opened the door for me. He was of medium height, athletic and had a very attentive look. He exuded a certain calmness and curiosity. As it turned out, this was my instructor. The photo of him in the brochure was apparently not the most recent, but I recognized his pleasant smile. I met his wife in the classroom. A beautiful natural, young-looking and delicate woman. She also seemed very sympathetic and warm-hearted to me.
During my training, I felt more and more that the two of them were for me a living example of a warm and respectful couple relationship. They lived what I felt I would have liked to have as well. They were very understanding and loving with each other. They were very cordial to everyone, and I felt they made no distinctions. In addition, they laughed a lot, exuded a lightness, and they gave off a happy and contented appearance. Just thinking about it, my whole heart fills with gratitude to have met these two, such lovely and wonderful people. They have inspired me a lot with their way of life.
But it gets even better.
During the training, my life finally took the course I was longing for, I felt I was on the right track. My massage training went on for 1 1/2 years in different course sections. During the courses, my teachers would occasionally tell me about their Buddhist master, and they would sometimes incorporate something from their Buddhist practice into the lessons. When we weren’t massaging, sometimes there were physical exercises to strengthen the inner center or instruction on meditation, where we went into silence and practiced a wide mind.
But also exercises to be kind to ourselves😍.
All around, this training was not only enriching for my future clients, but I also developed positively. I haven’t felt so empty and dissatisfied for a long time. There was also always a special energy to be there.
Three months before my training ended, they offered a meditation evening in their training rooms. The two are disciples of the great dharma and energy master Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim, who teaches social Buddhism. The name Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa NIm was rather difficult for me to remember. There was also a large photo of the master hanging in the classrooms, and when I stayed in the classrooms, I unconsciously always stayed near the picture.
Quite curious to find out more about meditation and the search for truth, I was excited to learn more about the Buddhist master. Therefore, I didn’t mind driving 100 kilometers there and 100 kilometers back for this evening. In my youth I often did that for cool discos, but now it was an evening of meditation.
Today my massage teachers (center left and far left) are good family friends, I’m the one in the middle to the right my husband to the right side of me. 🥳.
The longed-for middle way to a successful, happy and satisfied life.
Although I knew the premises, everything was entirely new for me that evening. Before we started, we did 108 prostrations, a kind of physical exercise in which you stand up straight, with your prayer hands folded, get on your knees, bend forward, touch the floor with your forehead, and then come back to standing. When you do these exercises for the first time, you may not be able to walk stairs properly for three days afterwards 😅.
After that, there were more physical exercises, a few of which I knew from training, and a special mantra and teaching speech that was given out for that day. What made me extremely happy at that time and was my gateway to happiness was this special mantra. A mantra is a kind of prayer with several syllables that have a special meaning and energy. It was a special and unforgettable moment when we chanted the mantra. My mind became wide and my heart opened. My soul felt like it had finally arrived, simply at home.
Since this mantra comes from Korean, it was difficult for me to understand and to pronounce it quickly was not possible at all. My tongue often got tangled, but at the same time it made me feel happy. It caused an incredible feeling in me, which I just enjoyed. Afterwards, I was so animated and full of energy for 3 days that my husband thought I had taken some kind of drugs. Of course, he was kidding. He felt that I was fine, but he was watching me and trying to understand what was happening to me.
Today, my husband has become a Buddhist practitioner himself. From then on, I started to do my prostrations and physical exercises in the morning, and if there was still enough time, to sit for a short time, that is, to meditate. Despite the distance, I kept going to the meditation evenings because afterwards I always felt recharged, full of energy and could also think more clearly. On the way to the store or whenever I thought of it, I started saying the mantra. My life finally took the course I had been longing for. It became more positive, I felt more content and happy. Maybe it was because of that impulse that I always felt good afterwards, or maybe it was because the teachings gave me a different perspective on things and situations. It was probably this whole package. And when I look back today, it’s the best thing that could have happened to me.
The beginning of my journey
But this was only the beginning of my journey to true happiness and inner contentment, which I have told you about today. For there are still stormy and turbulent times ahead, but through social Buddhism I have learned to better deal with situations and challenges. I am more in the middle ground, the ups, and downs are long gone from what they used to be. I have developed more understanding and appreciation, and can accept many things more gratefully.
With the support and daily practice of our Buddhist master Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim, I now try to manage my life responsibly and more joyfully. The emptiness and dissatisfaction that often filled me has turned into happiness and more inner contentment. Every day I can connect with something that makes me fulfilled, calm and gives me confidence. All I have to do is practice or meditate.
I’ll be happy to tell you how I integrate all this into my daily life in the next article I write, and if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
I thank from the bottom of my heart 💗 to my great master Ji Kwang Dae Poep Sa Nim.
To the people that supported me on my path, and to you for your interest in my writing.