Why is it is so easy and almost universally celebrated when someone seeks traditional education to improve in a skill or subject area needed to advance to a career goal, but almost shameful to say you are seeking education to be a better, more centered person? I have been pursuing some education through non-traditional channels, not to be better at my job but better at life. I want to be kinder, more calmer, speak with more integrity and compassion. I mentioned before that I use the Insight Timer Meditation App and I love it. In one of the recent updates they added 10 day meditation classes through the app. They are only $4.99 and they are short and subject focused. I completed one with Kate James and found it very helpful. I will undoubtedly do that again. I also recently embarked on an eight week course “How to Communicate like a Buddhist” through Daily OM. This course was only $25.00 and I am finding it very interesting.
Now that I have been working on being more aware and present and functioning less on autopilot, I am also more aware of how I act and feel in certain situations. What I noticed is that I never hesitated to tell anyone I was in school pursuing my Grad certification in Environmental Management, but I was intimidated and hesitant to tell, even my husband, that I was taking these courses. It made me wonder what the difference is. I am not sure I really understand but I have thought that maybe, at least to me, this appears selfish. Working on yourself would not really result in any kind of advancement or next step in the traditional sense. I have come to believe that this kind of investment in being a better and more conscious person has a benefit to the people in my life.
It also may be that I live in the south, widely considered a Christian conservative community and coming out to say I am a Buddhist in pursuit of higher learning about the practice would be judged. I never really thought I was the kind of person who cared about that, but I now realize I am. That has been the focus of this week’s course lesson. I am understanding how I talk to myself. In an effort to speak with more integrity something came up at a meeting and I said to a table full of people I can’t do that because I am a pacifist, vegetarian, Buddhist. You know what? No one said anything and since it was the truth I did not really care what they thought about it. I hoped they would see I am the same person, just maybe a better version. if they don’t I guess I can live with that too.