View Full Version : Finding spirituality/religion in times of adversity...

02-17-14, 08:20 PM
If I had to assign myself a religion, it would be CatholicÖif only for the fact that my mother and her family are practicing Catholics. I, personally, donít really practice any religion though. I will say that I am envious of the sense of community and support that places like churches have for its members.

Recently, Iíve been going through a tough ďtransitionalĒ phase with my ADHD and depression where Iíve muddled through the uphill battle to find some diagnoses and now Iím in the treatment and recovery stage though I imagine itíll be a very long and arduous process as well.

As of late, I have found myself drawn to the idea of mindfulness and striving to be ďpresentĒ in your everyday life. Iíve also been specifically drawn to Buddhism and itís beliefs. I canít remember how, but I stumbled upon some Buddhist websites and YouTube channels where Iíve listened to their lectures and discussions; absorbing everything like a sponge! These speakers have mastered the art of the analogyÖitís amazing, which makes it incredibly easy to understand for normal people; such as myself. I enjoy listening to their experiences and realizations on their road to enlightenment and I enjoy exploring their analogies for myself in search of a way to apply them to my own life.

Often times when I find myself in situations where I am experiencing a spike in irritability or am feeling particularly down on myself, I think about these monksí words and analogies. Now, I am starting to be able to stop for a moment and be aware of these feelings, where theyíre coming from, and how they are affecting me. Some times, just taking a moment like this is enough to help these episodes not be as destructive or as crippling. Iím not able to catch myself every single time and some times taking a moment doesnít work, but I am making an effort to change for the better.

While Iím not Buddhist, I do feel like these people can offer wisdom, insight, and new ideas to those willing to listen. Itís been an eye opening experience for me that has produced some good results so farÖso maybe itíll work for some of you out there.

What about you? Do you have any experiences with Buddhism or mindfulness to share? Or perhaps youíve found some solace and relief through other forms of religion/spirituality?

Iíd love to hear stories from anyone!

<3 Calixta

02-17-14, 09:48 PM
While it has in some circles been frowned upon or denied in the past, Christianity does have its own meditative/contemplative tradition. It is not as well-known worldwide obviously, but it does exist and is a legitimate entity. If for any reason you're interested in meditation in a specifically-Christian setting, you might visit contemplative dot org as a starting place. I've met and heard some of the people at the heart of that organization, and (for my two cents' worth of opinion) I'm certainly willing to vouch for their intelligence, sincerity, and commitment to both meditation and Christianity.

Mindfulness is (in my only slightly-educated opinion) one small part of meditation, taken out of context, as a useful tool. With that in mind, it sounds like it's proving effective for quite a few people.

There is (to my mind) nothing wrong with learning from anyone who teaches what you need, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

I don't think solace and relief are the primary aims of most meditation; they can certainly be some excellent side effects of it. :)

02-17-14, 10:30 PM
Hi, Calixta. I'm Catholic. I was raised in the Church, fell away in my teen years and never came back until a few decades later.

I pray the rosary daily, and it's excellent for mindfulness, if you're doing it right. You need to meditate on the mystery itself, what it meant to Christ, what it means to you, and how you may use it in your life (in addition to the prayers, which many of us know by heart anyway!). Going to Mass, by the way, is very similar. We are called to pray the Mass, not pray at Mass. (And I'm not going to say I do this "right" every time, by any means!)

In every moment of my life, if I stop for a moment, I can call upon my faith, especially through the lens of the rosary, for guidance and insight, particularly with regard to my ADHD. If I'm being impatient, I might remember the carrying of the cross. If I'm getting irritated by someone, I can recall the visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth (charity). If I'm getting wrapped up in worldly matters or materialism, I can recount the crowning with thorns and the nativity (detachment from materialistic goods, being poor in spirit), respectively. It works for me, but I'll be honest: it's extremely challenging, particularly because of my ADHD. I am satisfied with the lot give me by God.

Buddhism is ingenious in many ways. It's not concerned with the salvation of the soul as Christianity is, of course, but it's a very effective method of structure and reference for life with plenty of personal benefits. I think Buddhists were among the first and best psychologists of antiquity.