Do you know what a breaking vertebra sounds like? Sounds like it changed my life!
As some of you already know, almost 1 year ago I had an accident and I got a spinal fracture. It was April 14th, 2010. A day I will never forget, as well as the following 4 months… and I am still recovering.
I have the feeling that in the exact instant where I felt that awful crack, my life changed in so many ways. And all of these ways are just positive. After all I am thankful to this accident, even if I will keep its consequences on my body forever.
First of all I must thank the long period of inactivity that followed that sad (painful!) event because that is when this blog saw the light… and still gives me lots of joy and satisfaction.
But even on a more spiritual side, there have been many consequences. By the time I had that accident, I really hated myself in so many ways. It was an awful time of my life. I had so much bullsh*t in my mind, I was creating problems out of nowhere, and I saw myself as an ugly and useless person. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
That’s why now I see my spinal fracture as a blessing: when I was laying on my back waiting for the helicopter to take me away, I had that awful thought “what if I will never walk again?” – not nice, I tell you. Luckily that was not the case. But that helped me understand that I just had to be grateful to have a “working” body, no matter the extra pound or stupid concerns I had before.
So how does all this come to Buddhism? Simple. I started to feel that what happened to me was a clear sign and made a lot of sense. I started to believe in this, and felt like I wanted to convey this belief in a spiritual way. You know, the “everything happens for a reason” mentality.
Then one day I was talking about this with a friend. He’s Buddhist, and after carefully listening to my story he suggested me to try and convey my spirituality into Buddhism practice. He gave me a small book “Happiness on Earth”, where I found the principles of Buddhism. And then I started practicing.
At the beginning it all made a lot of sense. I felt great. I was recovering and my self confidence was high as never before. I have always been very spiritual and I finally found a philosophy that suited me so perfectly. What more could I ask for?
Then I started having some issues. To practice Buddhism I was told I had to chant for about 30 minutes twice a day. Better in the morning. Commitment issues… I would never set my alarm clock to wake up early to pray. And if I didn’t pray I would feel guilty. Not the way to go… But anyway, I tried to do my best and went on for a while.
Shortly after the conversation with my friend and my “conversion” to Buddhism, I moved to Cairo – I believed I could find a Buddhist center or community to pray with. No way… Until now, after more than 6 months, I didn’t find any. Plus, this is a harsh place for religions other than Islam and Christianity to be practiced openly. At least this is how I feel. I didn’t feel comfortable praying my chant on the Arabic school in the lunch break… you know. They must have thought I was completely out of my mind.
I came to the point that I was in Dahab and had a prayer session on Skype with my friend… with unstable internet connection and all that. Stressful enough.
So I started to think that ok, that was not the right time to start practicing Buddhism. I need to learn a lot before, I can’t do it myself… I could probably do it in Egypt if I weren’t a “beginner”. So I went back to my state of “no religion but a lot of spirituality” and I’m waiting for the right moment to start all over again – yes because I am not religious but I think that if I had to choose I would probably go for Buddhism.
When I was in Singapore and visited the real Buddhist temples, I felt like I would have spent more time there to learn more about this philosophy… and ultimately decide if adopting it or not.
I still feel like I want to convey my spirituality into a philosophy… and this is something I will do when I’m in Asia. I won’t go much for the beach parties and drink buckets… but for a rather spiritual journey looking for the meaning of many things in life… and possibly I will come back (will I?) with a new vision of life.
I just realized that I don’t want to choose my religion that easily. In order to understand what I’m doing I have to study a lot, travel, see where it all comes from, and then perhaps decide to convert myself. In case you’re wondering, I was born Christian Catholic but I don’t practice nor believe in that God anymore.
Buddhism, don’t get me wrong, you have all my respect and I believe you’re awesome. It’s just not the right time. But I will be back : )
Is there any Buddhist out there? I’d like to know if you converted to Buddhism and how it all happened! Not Buddhist? What’s your relationship with religion? I know it’s a rather personal question, but if you feel like answering it will be nice to read : )
My relationship with religion has been a rocky one. My family are devout Mormons and well, you can tell that I am not. More power to them though! I am glad they have found something that makes them happy. I am also in the mindset of being spiritual but still searching for something that will make *me* happy. We shall see!