For much of my life I have had a deep vested interest in the Eastern style of thinking. Then I took a class in Eastern Philosophy and found that it was literally everything I thought it would be and more in terms of opening my mind to another form of thinking. Being from America, I put values on the material world, and not so much on spiritual values. Through taking this class I began to reassess my form of thinking and have become a more complete person. One particular philosophy that resonated with me was that of Buddhism. Now looking at Buddhism from a secular view through the lens of philosophy and not religion, I found the way of thinking honestly refreshing. The thought of compassion and letting go of the material was truly one of the greatest lessons that I gained from that class.
Throughout my life I was told to go out and make money so I could be happy. Whenever I looked into this and really questioned why I should do that I really could not find any respectable answer. The only real reason that I found was that it was what was expected in out capitalistic society which puts value on money. Seeing a focus on the spiritual and intellectual truly spoke to me.
There is more to life than money, people hear and say that every day, living in a society that puts the dollar above all else, it is really very hard to look into that statement. Through my study of Buddhism, I was finally able to see what is meant by there is more to life. Rather than lifting, clawing and fighting to the top, Buddhism teaches that one should let go of his or her ego and become one with the moment and the world. Through this standpoint it becomes obvious that to waste our lives in constant pursuit of the temporal if futile because of the simple fact that it all leaves us in the end. Why have attachment? Attachment begets suffering and by becoming attached to more through being materialistic, we compound this suffering.
Buddhism has reshaped the way that I view the world, instead of constant consumption and hoarding of whatever I can buy or get my hands on, I pursue myself. What I mean by this is that I look inward and not outward to find peace and happiness. Rather than looking to money and consumption I have found a wealth of happiness that will never leave because happiness from being at peace in infinite. This distinction was not clear to me until I looked into Buddhism; I truly thought that happiness came from whatever I could buy. Through Buddhism, I have found that happiness from anything material is only temporary, that amazing car becomes just a car after time, that big house is only a house later in life. But happiness from the self and becoming “transparent”, or without attachment, it really the foundation of happiness in that one becomes infinitely happy when he or she looks inward and not outward for happiness.