When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you. ~p.51 Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
It wasn’t until I started reading about Buddhism that I began to understand Christianity.
I prayed ever since I could remember as child through high school. When I realized that I never felt God or Jesus with me, helping or supporting me, I stopped praying.
I felt alone.
Then, I read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle three years ago. Finally, I began to understand the message that Jesus, Ghandi, Yahweh, Krishna, Allah, or “my friend God” (as I like to call it) were trying to share.
There is No God in Buddhism
Buddhism is less of a religion and more of a “way” of life that has worked for a bunch of people before. By a bunch, I mean billions of people.
There is no God in Buddhism, no strict enforcement of laws that judge whether you are right and wrong.
In a powerful little book about Buddhism titled Tao Te Ching (translated as The Book of The Way), Lao Tzu describes the path to mastery, a place where you understand and live your life without suffering. The brackets below are mine.
If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to [don’t resist what life gives you].
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve [your body dies, but your spirit doesn’t].
Trying to control the future [forcing a relationship, praying to win the lottery, or attempting to will a spot in the National Football League]
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place[God’s].
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
chances are that you’ll cut your hand. ~p.74 Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Accepting where you are in life, understanding that life will bring you everything you desire (as long as it is what your heart really wants) is a much more peaceful way to trek through life.
You can sit back and know that your true desires are coming to you. It’s only a matter of time, as long as you don’t resist life.
The Battle Between Business Chris and Buddhist Chris
True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering. ~p.48 Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
In the land of the American Dream, we’re taught in history class in elementary school that the United States was built on the foundation that you can have anything you want in life as long as you work hard and go get it.
This is true, as long as you pursue is what your heart really wants.
I really want to be a successful chiropractor. I’m constantly going back and forth in my head about what I should be doing.
Business Chris is all about increasing income, treating more patients, taking on more responsibilities, stressing out over where he is now.
Buddhist Chris is all about treating patients on his dollar and time, doing less, and trusting that success is coming.
When I think about the two different mindsets, I’m happiest when I’m Buddhist Chris. The trick is to remember who he is.
The Perfect You
People get into a lot of trouble when they conform. Whether it is to society’s standards, to their parent’s expectations, or to their own false desires.
With clarity and awareness, you can sift through the clouds to identify what your heart truly wants, your own way through life.
Your heart truly wants to be exactly who you are.
If it’s a mom, be a mom. If it’s an artist, be an artist. If it’s an actor, be an actor. If it’s the President of the United States, be the President of the United States.
While it can be physically exhausting pursuing your heart’s desires, the “business” half of you is hushed because your spirit knows your path. You’re merely being who you are supposed to be.
In this way, the hypothetical death that you imagine coming in a week would result with no regret. A life without regrets is a happy life.
How does your religion or spiritual beliefs help you find your path?
Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ. He practices out of Crossfit Morristown.