Why did I start attending Buddhist Classes?
(and What was it like?)
I was always interested in Buddhism, casually at least. I was interested in Buddhism in the same way that I’m interested in learning new languages and body building: if you want to tell me about it then I’ll listen with interest and sometimes I buy books about it but I don’t ever finish them. In short, interested but not very motivated.
When everything in life is going well, it’s easy to just coast along. So, I let my casual interest stay casual. I leafed through the occasional book (thinking a bit too much about how nice they looked on my bookshelf and a not enough about what was written inside), until one day I found that my level of stress was becoming unmanageable. I knew that I didn’t want to feel stressed out, but I didn’t know what I could do about it. After all, it seemed to me that all the reasons for my stress were beyond my control. It was all beyond my control, right? But if that was the case, then there wasn’t really much hope of anything ever getting better and I didn’t want to believe that.
That was when I remembered my casual interest in Buddhism. I dusted off some of the books that had sat on my shelf not doing much more than looking good: I was going to meditate. I tried various things that the books suggested for meditation, but none of them really worked. Long story short, trying to learn meditation from a book wasn’t working for me.
After a fair bit of googling, I found the Bodhichitta Buddhist Centre. There was a drop-in evening class offered that I could attend and so (carrying the added stress of trying something new) I attended my very first Buddhist class. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. What I saw when I arrived was a rather ordinary looking Church basement with people gathered around waiting for the class to start. What I heard, on the other hand, was (at least to me) anything but ordinary. My stress was not beyond my control. I could learn how to control myself, and become a better person into the bargain.
I still don’t know whether or not the teacher, knowing that I was new, decided to deviate from the class schedule to explain how meditation worked and how to meditate. Perhaps a refresher course on meditation was really on the class schedule and I was just lucky to have turned up that night. Either way, it really couldn’t have been more perfect. It seemed that everything the teacher said was something that I needed to hear. “Yes!” I thought, “This is exactly what I have been looking for.” During the break, while everyone else was enjoying the cookies and tea that are kindly provided, I bought the New Meditation Handbook (which I now use to help guide my meditations most nights). The second half of the class was just as informative as the first. In fact, so were all the rest of the drop-in classes that I continued to attend there.
That was not so very long ago, but I haven’t looked back. I started to attend Buddhist classes because I wanted to manage my stress, but what I got (and continue to get) is a lot more benefit than that.
This post was written by Allison