With the steady stream of positivity memes flooding our phones and tablets every day, we may feel as though we’re all set when it comes to wellness and self-care. New-age figures and gurus pop up daily with so many repackaged ideas about self-help that we can start to feel overwhelmed. In contrast, traditional Buddhist teachings present concrete, realistic advice for anyone struggling with their emotions. These teachings are tried and true, as the saying goes. Here are seven little bits of basic Buddhist wisdom for you to consider.
Buddhism be a Friend to Yourself
Many individuals are people pleasers who care deeply about everybody else, never really tending to their own emotional well-being. Start being there for YOU, and become your own friend. Cultivate an unconditional friendliness, starting with yourself.
Be in the Moment
This is a toughie, but it’s good to examine the concept. You’ll be more in the moment when you realize that any moment could be your last. Genuine appreciation and compassion increase when we acknowledge that all things pass—good and bad.
Overcoming Fear Buddhism
This is not about running head on into traffic or leaping without looking; it’s about looking at your fears and working to relax, in spite of them. It’s what I refer to as “shining a light on our monsters”—you know, the ones hiding under your bed. Look at your fears and do the work to function through them, instead of going around them. The goal is to hold your own hand, walking past the monsters and smiling as you go.
Think of Others
“Will this benefit anyone?” is a good question to ask prior to taking on a new project or saying things out loud. For example: would what you’re about to say or text be of benefit to someone, or would it cause hurt? Would buying from a big company hurt a smaller, local business? Try to think of others before you act.
Buddha Zen Let it Go
It’s all too easy to stay stuck in the “I’m a failure, I’m a terrible person” mindset. It takes courage and honesty to shake off old stories or descriptions about ourselves. If you keep telling the world that you’re screwing up, you will continue on that path. I’ve only recently come to understand and work with this concept. Apply it now, and save yourself years of suffering.
Buddhism Breaks Barriers
Changing how you do or do not react to outside stimuli is a radical concept for most. We go through our lives, day in and out, repeating the same unhealthy patterns from the past. Change your reaction and consider being less reactive in general. When you realize you’re changing old behaviors, your overall happiness goes straight through the roof. Give yourself a chance to get out of stagnant habits, and leave space for something new.
Buddhist Stay with True Being
We all want to check out, numb out, hide out—I get it. Alcohol, drugs and sex addictions offer a quick escape from what is happening in the “now.” However, they also come with hangovers. Staying clear, focused and “holding your seat” presents the opportunity to grow and evolve via challenges. It’s the harder path, but it’s the healthy path.
Pema Chödrön and Thich Nhat Hanh present Buddhist teachings in a highly accessible way—check out their work and see for yourself. Buddhism offers sound, sensible advice that comes in very handy in our over-the-top, technology crazed world.
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Philosophy of the Buddha is a philosophical introduction to the teaching of the Buddha. It carefully guides readers through the basic ideas and practices of the Buddha, including kamma (karma), rebirth, the not-self doctrine, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, ethics, meditation, non-attachment, and Nibbâna (Nirvana).