I would like to find more about buddhism.
I am 42 years old. Recovering from a nervous breakdown. I am very afraid of a lot of things at the moment. Life is very scary for me. I have tried to meditate before but it is extremely hard to not think of anything. Please can you help me.
P.S. I live near newcastle in England
Thank you for asking me.
Right now, if I were you, I would keep myself busy with the things I like to do and enjoy doing them. This will take my mind away from recalling past memories. If I have the time and can afford, I will take a vacation to places that I like. I simply must find ways to relax and stay calm. After a period of time I am sure I will regain my stature and confidence, with a little help from the teachings of the Buddha.
"Every living being has the same basic wish - to be happy and to avoid suffering. Even newborn babies, animals, and insects have this wish. It has been our main wish since beginningless time and it is with us all the time, even during our sleep. We spend our whole life working hard to fulfil this wish.
Since this world evolved, human beings have spent much time and energy improving external conditions in their search for happiness and a solution to their many problems. What has been the result? Instead of their wishes being fulfilled, human suffering has continued to increase while the experience of happiness and peace is decreasing. This clearly shows that we need to find a true method for gaining pure happiness and freedom from misery.
When things go wrong in our life and we encounter difficult situations we tend to regard the situation itself as the problem, but in reality whatever problems we experience come from the side of the mind. If we were to respond to difficult situations with a positive or peaceful mind they would not be problems for us; indeed we may even come to regard them as challenges or opportunities for growth and development. Problems arise only if we respond to difficulties with a negative state of mind. Therefore, if we want to be free from problems we must learn to control our mind." (unquote)
Whatever problems and issues confronting life, once we understand the true nature of this world and this life, we will come to terms with them. This is because we KNOW and ACCEPT the true nature of this world. The Buddha opened our eyes to SEE things as they TRUELY are, and NOT what we assume and want them to be. The first message the Buddha taught us was that this world is by its very nature not perfect. If it is not perfect, don't expect perfection. Then we have no more problem when we face with imperfections. The second message was that this world is by its very nature, not permanent. If it is not permanent, then don't expect to experience anything forever. Then we have no more problem when we face with change. These are the universal truths of existence. Irrespective of who you are, or what you want to believe, imperfection and impermanence rule supreme. Buddhists come to terms with these universal truths. The Buddha reminded us to be ever mindful of all the uncertainties in life always waiting to pounce on us at any time. The truth is, when there is birth, there will be old age, sickness, and death. And throughout this journey, there will be happiness and sorrow. Buddhism deals with the understanding and realization of the true nature of life; how we can rise above these impermanence and imperfections. This is the message of the Buddha.
The Buddha taught us to calm and take charge of our mind. This we practise through meditation. When our mind is calm, we are relaxed, and in the process our whole system flows smoothly with fewer mental and health problems. However, one needs to have a good foundation of Buddhism and what Buddhist meditation is all about, before embarking into it. One needs guidance to learn Buddhist meditation. Please don't do it alone if you are not sure.
We are scared of many things because of our poor understanding (or ignorance) of this life and this world. We fail to SEE and ACCEPT the inevitable. We want to remain blind and deaf to the realities of life that are confronting us. When we fight against the inevitable, we are torturing ourselves to death. The consequences are fear, sorrow, and in the end when the system cannot take it any longer, it snaps and explodes.
We are like little children having toothache. We cry in pain. We seek temporary relief by way of sweets and biscuits and the occasional hugs and kisses from our mothers. And we hope to get better! We have to grow up, and go see a dentist. The dentist will tell us that it is quite natural to have toothache, but there is a remedy: extraction! As adults we face up to the truth and reality. Have the tooth extracted, and Wallah! no more pain, although we have lost a tooth.
This is the message of the Budhha. Do not expect anything to be perfect and permanent, for the nature of this world and this life is not. When we realize and accept these universal truths of imperfection and impermenance, we free ourselves from sorrow and fear. We will come to accept all that are inevitable and flow with the tides of life.
I hope my sharing will help you regain your confidence. All of us have problems. It is how we respond to them, that is the difference. May you be happy. Take it easy.