The Unbearable Banishment: Watching Your Breath

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Watching Your Breath

Last year I developed a passing interest in Buddhism. I just attended a class on meditation and Buddhist philosophy. It was beautiful! I was raised Catholic and it seems to me that Buddhist philosophy is the antithesis of what I was spoon fed in parochial school. The Catholics pretty much knocked the spirituality right out of me. It all seemed to be a bit dictatorial. They’re obsessed with punishment and guilt. They beat you down in order to build you back up into what they need you to be. I was constantly being told that I was a sinner and wasn’t worthy of God’s love and I have to ask for forgiveness. But I was just a little kid! I had no idea what they were talking about! I stole a Hot Wheels from Topps once. Is that what they meant? And the church is absolutely terrified of sex. Buncha assholes. Scaring me like that.

I don’t pretend to know anything about Buddhism, but there’s a spiritual kindness and peacefulness that’s new to me. Guess what, everybody? All your troubles come from yourself. There’s no devil tempting you. You did it. Fortunately, all the answers come from the same source as the problems: yourself. The only person you should confess to is you. I love that. Christianity shouts: “YOU NEED US. WITHOUT US, YOU’LL BURN IN HELL. Oh, and by the way, GIVE US SOME MONEY!” Buddhism gently whispers in your ear: “You need you. Look within.” I think I might attend another class.


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