So I started off the year right. I attended the Buddhist temple as I said I would. I woke up to get ready and found my boyfriend puking his guts up in the bathroom. I could tell right away that he wouldn’t be attending the service with me. I thought for a second and considered not going because I’ll admit I was a little scared of going alone. I didn’t really know anyone, I had only talked to a couple of temple members briefly online, and I’m not exactly what you would call a social butterfly. I quickly reconsidered. This is my spiritual path, no one else’s. While I would have loved to have him by my side, I felt it was important for me to go whether he went or not. I had already made soup for the potluck party after service, and I intended on bringing it. As I was leaving, I glanced at my phone and iPod but decided to leave them home. I was going for spiritual fulfillment, not to play on my phone or be distracted. I told the boyfriend that I wouldn’t have my gadgets, so if he needed something he would have to wait until I got home. I put my fears aside and ventured toward the temple. This was a little after 10am.
When I got to the temple, I set up my crock pot and looked for someone to help me with beginning instruction. I found a temple member who showed me the ropes for a while before formal instruction began. There were 4 or 5 of us newbies, and they showed us what was up. It was such a relaxed environment and I felt surprisingly comfortable there. I didn’t have any of my usual distractions; no phone, no internet, no books. I spent a lot of time looking around, taking it all in, and surprisingly, talking to others. It was fun to share my experiences with people who have been through much of the same.
Service began, and we had a beautiful year letting go/year beginning ceremony. It was very powerful. We did a Dharani chant at the end and I could literally feel the energy of everyone in the room flowing through. It was absolutely beautiful. I was moved like I have never been moved during a religious ceremony. I actually felt something. I was having a hard time finding a comfortable position for sitting, but that is part of the practice. Luckily, they are very flexible, and no one was judging my squirming presence. I know it will get better with time.
After the service we had the potluck, enjoyed some good food and fellowship, which was nice. Such a comfortable and laid back atmosphere. The potluck led into presentations about temple groups which was very inspiring. They have these things called affinity groups which are basically groups of members who enjoy doing any of many things and gather to practice those things together. They don’t necessarily have anything to do with the religious services. They have a Dungeons and Dragons group for crying out loud! They also have things like recovery groups, family groups, and some were even talking about starting things like a knitting group or flow arts group. Everything is about living your practice and spending time with those who are practicing just like you. Being around supportive like-minded people on a regular basis can be helpful.
I stayed for presentations, ate some food, and finally decided to pack up and leave. I got in my car and noticed it was already 3:15. I had been there 5 hours. There were no clocks, and since I didn’t have my phone, I had no idea how long it had been. I was enjoying myself a lot and felt my spirit come alive. I could have stayed all day, but I wanted to get back home to share my joy with my boyfriend.
I got home and told him about my experience. I want to go back, and hopefully next Sunday he will be able to join me. I kept to my social media limit and stayed on for only 2 hours yesterday. My boyfriend and I played a few games of Yahtzee, which was great. It was nice to finally have that interaction that we haven’t had in so long.
I’m really trying this year. I want to be better, I want to improve my being, and I want to radiate positivity to others so that they can feel joy too. I know it’s only the second day of the year, but I like to think I’m well on my way. Sure there will be stumbles along the way, but I’m happy being where I am right now. This is the right road, and I will continue to travel it.