Woo: Journeying Inwards to Deepen Connections

June 16, 2022

Before I met Buddha’s teachings, I don’t think I knew how to be happy. I had what I thought was my dream job. I was working for a philanthropic organization with an altruistic mission. I worked super hard because I really believed I could make the world better and find personal satisfaction through doing that. I ended up developing tendonitis in both my arms which meant I could no longer use them! I was seeking happiness through trying to arrange and control my external conditions and it literally broke me. On top of that, I lived with this hollow feeling, like a deep and persistent sense of loneliness.

For a long time, I was on a quest or a search to understand my suffering. A lot of what you read tells you you’re doomed. Finding Buddhism was a game changer, like the opening of a completely new door. It was liberating to learn that happiness is a state of mind, which also means all suffering also comes from the mind. Knowing this enabled me to take responsibility – I could own my happiness and my suffering. I could make myself happy. Without knowing this, I think we can easily spend our lives blaming other people for our problems. I think I was doing that.

The journey inward has not been a solitary one. Part of training in the Buddhist path is understanding how we really exist. Ultimately, we are connected with everything and everyone. This recognition enables us to leave our state of isolation and deepen our connections with others. Our heart opens. We start with our close circle of friends and family, and then it just keeps expanding and expanding. The great thing is, the more we change our internal infrastructure, the more our external world starts changing too. And the whole journey is gradual, very gentle and joyful.

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