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I've decided that studying Buddhism is to my benefit. Not only that, but much of what I already feel and believe ties into that path. It was a natural merging. I don't consider it a path to perfection (imagine a perfect human being! Now that IS a sign of the end of times) but a path of understanding and more awareness. Finally I've found a spirituality that matches my belief that all things are living and worth appreciating. It isn't odd that I wrap myself in my ultra soft blanket and consider it a divine blessing incarnate. Everything is a divine blessing. Many people consider plastics and other man-made items to be separate from life and nature. But humans are creatures of nature. We do not consider the constructions of other animals to be outside of nature. The beaver who builds a dam, or the fox who digs a burrow, or the chimp who uses sticks to obtain his meal. Granting, our utensils are far more complex but they are still created by us: creatures of nature. My computer may be more sophisticated than the chimp's stick, but it is no more or less a utensil of equal value. Some people shy away from comparing ourselves too strongly to other animals. They must believe we are superior because of our ability to think and be aware as we are. But I find those comparisons refreshing. It brings me back to the Earth, down to reality, and imbues me with the same worth as our animal kin.

On the same line of thought, I consider all objects to contain life. To me life is little more than energy. All objects are composed of natural elements - whether man made or not - and contain energy. This energy is a life. How can my cup be any more or less alive then my pencil, my blanket, myself? Treat all life with respect, and in so doing you treat yourself with respect. It reminds me of a concept I was mulling over recently: do not hate others, for they are you. Often times what we find most aggravating about other people are aspects of ourselves that we deny, dislike or hide. Hate the other and you become the other you hate.

I'm not sure if any of this really makes sense...even to me! But on some level it does, and pondering these concepts brings a light into myself. I love it. I'm learning that spiritual growth doesn't take place in solitude but in everyday life. You need not withdraw from the world to grow. In fact, it is our very interactions with all of life's facets that pushes us to develop ourselves, to practice our spirituality and to understand better. I'm not longer interested in being a hermit. I wish to very much be an active member of this world in order to make it a better place for all.

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