Stillness

I thought it was about time I wrote about something other than babies. I’m not sure it’s possible, but I’ll try.

Last Saturday we had a day out at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. It’s a beautiful old building. There’s a large atrium with a glass dome in the ceiling, lots of marble and polished stone. And the exhibition rooms are ornate. Silk and velvet wall coverings, parquet floors and so very quiet, so very still.

I went for a walk along the beach yesterday. I love to walk at the beach; the space, the expanse of the horizon, the sounds of the wind and the sea. Another place where my mind finds solace and stillness.

I think I’ve mentioned previously, on #100factsaboutme, that I like sitting in empty churches. Large rooms, high ceilings, polished stone, lots of art to observe, space and stillness to contemplate, or just be.

I find that all of these places have a similar vibe, for me anyway. I’ve been visiting these places, and finding comfort in them, for many years now, even more so, during my time of depression.

I was born, baptised and raised Roman Catholic. At the age of 17, like many of my peers, I stopped going to church. Out of respect for my Father (whose faith is very strong), I consulted him about my decision and made a promise to him that my cessation of attendance was not out of laziness but out of a genuine confusion about my religious and spiritual beliefs. I could make that promise, because it was true. It still is.

I am interested in all religious, spiritual and faith systems. I genuinely am. And I have taken some time, over the years, to read about some other religions and faith systems, talk to people who subscribe to them and try to understand them more. And I intend to continue to do so, if and when I can find (or make) the time.

The way of life that I am continually drawn back to, is Buddhism. I’m not sure I want to “become” a Buddhist (if that is even an action), but the teachings of the Buddha (in comparison to the teachings of others) are the ones that seem to make the most sense to me. With a few exceptions, for example, karma. Conceptually, I agree that, in this life, what goes around comes around. But, I’m not sure I can believe in actual physical rebirth.

Buddha teaches compassion, respect and kindness, and I think (I hope) that we all get that.

He teaches not to become attached to material things, I get that too. He teaches not to become attached to others, which I am still trying to fully understand. Others can not make you happy or sad, only you can do that. I love my Beloved deeply, it is not his job to provide my happiness and conversely, I can not blame him (or anyone else) for feeling angry or unhappy. I can choose to be happy or angry or sad. But, this is a difficult thing to master!

And then there is the love I have for my kids. It is unconditional. When they are sick or unhappy, I find it difficult not to be affected by that. So, in this way, my attachment to my children is one that I could never break. (I knew I couldn’t get through a post without including them! :-))

A large element of Buddhism, one that everyone recognises as being associated with that way of life, is meditation. Just being. And I think my long time draw towards empty churches, the expanse of the beach and quiet corners of old buildings like Art Galleries, (and my perennial mission to practice yoga) all illustrate that I’ve actually been practicing this teaching, in a fashion, for years.

Another thing that the Buddha teaches us, which I can really relate to, is that one should question everything. Even the Buddha himself and his teachings. Well, I feel like I’ve been doing that since I was born, too!

Maybe I’ve been a Buddhist all along 🙂

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