Buddhism is perhaps one of the most popular left-hand path spiritual belief systems in the world. And even still, with so many people quoting various Buddhist teachings, we often forget the most important parts of all teachings when we endure suffering. If you are going through something right now, keep reading, I promise you will be happy you did.
While many instantly think of the little fat and happy Buddha statues that populate the shelves of headshops and garden sections at their local Wal-Mart, Buddha was actually a very disciplined and practical man. Throughout his teachings, he gives solid advice regarding love, regarding loss, and also regarding overcoming suffering.
And while his teachings are quite ‘old’ as of now, they aren’t outdated. In fact, many of these apply more now than they ever did.
1. Remember, you are not the voice inside your mind.
One of Buddha’s most popular teachings was that we are not our ego. Buddha stated that our ego is a result of our ‘inner dialogue’ and while that may be an aspect of our being, it is not us. Buddha says to observe this dialogue with clarity and without judgment in order to develop a greater self-awareness.
2. Accept imperfection.
Contained amongst the four noble truths is that ‘life is suffering.’ At first this may be depressing, however, in realizing that suffering is just a part of life, you will find that life isn’t as stressful as you think. Just accept life, let it happen, and move forward through each moment. Let things happen, and you will be happier for it.
3. Live mindfully.
Instead of worrying about the past, or the future, focus your attention mindfully on the present. What is happening now? Handle that, and worry less about the future. While this isn’t Buddha’s words – it is the jist of his teachings.
4. Stop trying to escape.
As Alan Watts explains, ‘A person who is escaping from reality will always feel the terror of it.’ Let that sink in.
5. Remember: you are never alone, as we are always connected to one another.
If you are feeling lonely, as many do, remember that according to Buddha, we are connected to everyone and everything. Each and every being around us, is connected to us in some way or another. When we lose someone, they are never truly lost, as they are a part of the cosmic consciousness that never ends.
6. Calm the monkey mind. (It sounds crazy, but hear me out…)
Buddha said the mind is a monkey, and he wasn’t wrong. Our mind is constantly active, never allowing us to rest unless we force it into resting. If your mind is constantly overactive, try mindfulness meditation.
7. We are already perfectly whole.
Throughout life, we search for meaning, and something to fill the void within. However, there is no need to be filled, as we are already whole. We need nothing else to complete us.
8. In order to transcend fear, you must first face the source.
How do we ever heal a wound, if we don’t know where it’s at? Yet another simple teaching, but when you really let it sink in, it makes so much sense, and is actually quite deep.
9. Learn to understand with compassion.
Our lack of understanding not only regarding ourselves but other people causes us to suffer so much. Try to think of things from the point of view of the person making you suffer. Understand with compassion and without judgment. Do this also to yourself.