Finding *MY* way

The light?I’ve done a lot of thinking about buddhism and myself.

I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst the fundamentals/foundations of buddhism are good, and worthy, there is a lot of it that I’m unable to reconcile within myself.
For example enjoying an alcoholic drink becase of the taste is a bad thing, because it affects your mind and your focus. Yet many other things also do the same.

For me, music is a huge part of my life, and yes, it does alter my state of mind. If I’m feeling down or hacked off, I put on some music and it helps me relax, it alters my state of mind, in much the same way as drink and/or drugs can do for many people.

This follows into the ‘sensual mis-conduct’ (often confused with ‘sexual‘ misconduct). If doing something because you enjoy it, because it makes you feel good, is wrong, then playing/listening music for enjoyment is also wrong. As is enjoying art or watching an entertaining film. Is it wrong to enjoy somthing that doesn’t hurt anyone? something that helps to promote happiness in your life?

Certainly it’s not true happiness, but in world full or problems and sadness, is it wrong to take some pleasure in enjoying something as simple and beautiful, as music or art? It’s wrong to depend on this, but to me, it’s a place to start. When you’re away from stress and bad feeling, it’s easier to think clearly and to look at yourself. Much easier surely, than when you’re stressed, angry or depressed.

I couldn’t give up my music, it’s a part of me and my soul, it’s one of the things that makes me, me.

Also the concept of *having* to say thanks every day to Buddha, and giving gifts on preset days is, to me, wrong. I give my wife gifts when I feel like it, I don’t wait for her birthday or christmas. Both of these two special days are moveable feasts, if my wife or I are working over christmas or an a birthday, we move it to suit ourselves. I don’t beleive giving thanks should be mandated, giving should be an act of freewill, not an order.

One of my own personal problems is impatience, not only with other people, but also myself. This is something I plan to focus on, and to work at, in order to improve myself.

Another one is my intolerance of selfishness, people who park dangerously just so they can get to the bank in 4 steps as opposed to 20, people who scam/con money from others and so on. Yes this world is a hard world, but being selfish isn’t going to help improve it.

Finally, I also have a very short fuse, whilst I’m not aggressive (physically) when I ‘explode’ I do tend to ‘fly off the handle’ and take things too much too heart.

These are three things that I will be making a conscious effort to improve. When these feelings ‘arise’ I will do my best to step out of myself, away from my normal reaction, then analyse it and consider both sides of the situation. Then consider my action and finally the impact on myself and others.

For example, beeping my horn at someone parked badly, doesn’t help them and all it does to me, is make me more irritated. Also perhaps the reason the person is parked badly could be because they are disabled, or they’re dropping something off that will help someone else and it needs doing urgently. Finally, if they’re not, and they’re just being selfish, then I shouldn’t allow their selfishness to affect me.

The first step to improving youself is to acknowledge your faults. I’m far from perfect, and I have no dillusions that changing these things will make me perfect. Nor that these are the only issues. But you have to start somewhere.

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