Across the room from me smiles the Buddha. His hands are thrown up in the air, sporting an opened mouth smile, looking to the skies, shining in a gold sheen and I can’t help but smile myself. This guy has been in my home for at least 12 years and most days I don’t even really pay attention to his ear-to-ear grin, it’s just a part of our home and my everyday environment.
My husband brought him home after he took his high school students on a trip to New York. I was out of town, as usual, during the trip, performing somewhere in the country, but was there to greet him as he walked through door of our townhouse in the middle of the historical district of the small town we had taken residence in 4 years before.
He had that look of a man that had traveled for 2 days across country on a bus with teenagers – tired, slap happy, and full of relief that they had made it there and back without too much drama.
“What’s in the box?” I asked as he placed a large box down on the family room floor.
“Just something I found in China Town and had to have,” he replied as he opened it and pulled out the Buddha statue.
“Babe, what were you thinking? We’re Catholic!” I said as I simultaneously thought, “Am I Catholic? It’s been awhile since I’ve said that.“
“But look at him! Don’t you just want to smile when you look at him? Isn’t he great?”
And I knew that no matter what I said the Buddha was here to stay.
At first I was not a fan. It was an odd piece of décor for someone that grew up in the Midwest and was raised Christian, attending church each Sunday throughout my childhood. But the thing was I didn’t really feel tied to a religion anymore and I was at a stage in life in which I really wasn’t sure what I believed. It was also way before Buddha statues could be found at Target or Pier One Imports, considered a stylish piece of décor for those wishing to bring a peaceful atmosphere into the home.
Instead the Buddha was something I had to explain to each person that entered our home. “We’re not Buddhist,” I would declare, “It’s belongs to my husband. He brought it home from a trip.”
And then, about a year later, things started to shift. My husband and I started reading books by Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson. We started having discussions about God and Source Energy and the power of intention. We were starting to figure out what we believed and what our path in life would be and realized Buddhism isn’t really a religion, but a philosophy on how to live your best life focusing on morality, mindfulness, and developing wisdom and understanding.
We moved back to Chicagoland and stumbled upon a Bikram Yoga Studio and fell in love with the yoga and all of the gifts it brings into your life. My husband started going on 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreats each year and for his doctorate work concentrated on how this Buddhist meditation practice can help alleviate teacher burnout and make his students focus in class.
Now when friends and family come into our home I don’t even think about qualifying why we have a Buddha statue. It seems a natural fit and something you would expect to find in our home. I guess the moral of the story is: Be open to everything. Things come into your life for a reason. Not everything will make you comfortable at first, but sometimes being uncomfortable is the biggest push towards making a change and starting to look for answers from the outside world, as well as, from yourself.
I believe everything that comes into your life has a purpose and is supposed to be there. The Buddha statue didn’t make sense at first, but maybe it was pointing us in a new direction that we couldn’t have foreseen or understood at the time. Because if you are always examining your journey and participating in your life instead of being complacent and inactive in the journey of it all you will find the Universe is always conspiring to bring about your best Self.
Is there something or someone you were once uncomfortable with or didn’t fully understand and now it all makes perfect sense when you look back on it? I’d love to hear your thoughts this week!
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