Buddha nature is our natural state. It's who we are when we're free from feelings of suffering. We're naturally compassionate, but it's comforting to know that even monks who have been meditating for years sometimes lose touch with that.
Dharma teachings are really accessible, and don't require us to be Buddhist. Whenever I'm taught by monks, they always say take what you like, and leave behind the rest. So, as we explore the Middle Path, that's my advice to you.
The first Buddha was a man named Siddhartha. He was a party boy prince and grew up in incredible privilege, living in a pleasure palace, his every need met. Never going hungry or experiencing a moment of suffering. An extreme (and let's face it; fabulous) lifestyle.
Somehow unhappy with his life, Siddhartha left the palace, saw what life was 'really' like and pursued the life of an aesthetic; living in the forest with very little food and unsurprisingly he almost died. From one extreme to the other huh?
From these endeavours Siddhartha advocated the Middle Path as the route home to our Buddha Nature. Avoiding the extremes of the spectrum and practicing non attachment to the outcome of our actions.
What does that look like in practice?
I meditated today... cool. So what?! I don't need to go on about it and live stream it. Meditating doesn't make me a better person because... on the days when I don't meditate and we follow that logic... that must mean I'm a bad person. I'm rubbish, I can't commit to anything. And ultimately I create my own suffering, which originated from a practice that was meant to liberate me from it. Maddening!!
So if Siddhartha was here, he'd tell us to just stop at the first sentence. I meditated today.
Meditation has the potential to put a little pause in between my thoughts and responses. It gives me little moments in time where I can choose what happens next. I can follow the thoughts, fall down a shame spiral that I really should meditate more, or I can just enjoy the times I formally meditate and see life as providing opportunities for me to practice.
Meditation and yoga can be when you’re standing on one leg watching the kettle boil. Why not? There's no book that says how it should be (I've basically read them all, and they can't agree, so let's make up our own rules).
You can make your temple wherever you are.
Here's another helpful nudge to meditate and connect to your Buddha Nature; Someone is being annoying… Think to yourself oh my goodness yesssss, here's Annoying Buddha! They’re helping you! Treating interactions as an invitations from god/ Buddha/ the great magnet will take some of the suffering out of life. It doesn’t matter what words you use to describe your practice and the universal truth that we are compassionate. It’s all the same thing. The labels are another thing we've made up to cause suffering.
Through meditation and yoga, we learn to be aware of our Buddha Nature and less reactive. Perhaps you're joining me for my 10 week course where you'll really get to feel this.