West London Buddhist Centre

Profound change, ongoing journey

Published on Sep 24th 2023, in Blog

Sinem, an WLBC mitra, reflects on her spiritual practice

My spiritual practice serves as a foundational pillar in the fleeting journey that is life. For many years, I was burdened by a sense of unease that I couldn’t even put a name to—only later did I realize it was anxiety. When I stumbled upon meditation nearly a decade ago, I was completely unaware that this invisible force was what had been restricting me in every facet of my life. Today, after nine years of consistent practice, I live with a significantly reduced level of anxiety.

I’ve noticed profound changes in myself; my heart rarely races in stressful situations, and I have the presence of mind to slow down when I catch myself rushing through life. By tuning into all six senses, I’m able to ground myself. This practice has liberated me and gifted me back my freedom. I find solace in my ability to observe my thoughts and emotions, reassuring myself that awareness alone holds immense power. This perspective allows me to endure life’s hardships, accepting the inevitable—that life, worth living despite its complexities, is temporary. My practice is not just a habit, but a form of self-assurance and a wellspring of faith. Each day strengthens my commitment to my meditative journey.

The changes in me extend to my character as well. I’ve gained the ability to rein in impulsive behaviours, and even though I still wrestle with past traumas, I find myself capable of making fresh choices every day. My integrity and kindness have increased, and I find it easier to accept the present moment for what it is. This transformation has continued even as I’ve been physically disconnected from my spiritual community, the sangha, and their gatherings at WLBC.

However, I feel there is room for growth. I still struggle with a materialistic outlook, prioritizing the acquisition of possessions over the alleviation of others’ suffering. I feel a pull to delve deeper into the teachings of Buddhism to mature past these worldly inclinations. It’s a paradox—I’m simultaneously compassionate toward myself for holding these materialistic values, yet unmotivated to challenge them. I find myself missing the study of Buddhism and yearning for a more profound connection to its teachings, the dharma. While my secular mindfulness practice has given me a robust understanding of meditation, it feels incomplete without a stronger connection to the teachings of the Buddha.

In sum, my practice has granted me significant gains, but I recognize that the journey toward self-improvement and spiritual enlightenment is far from over and my solid personal practice is hardly enough.

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