I was born and raised as an atheist, but soon I started to ask myself why we have religion in the first place and why this irrational institution persists and dominates our lives despite our modern-day progress. This is when I discovered Buddhism.
This decision can come quite suddenly to me, and I was not looking for any specific religion to convert myself to. Still, I was jealous of people who believe in a higher power as they are said to live, on average, 20% longer than people who don’t believe in anything. There are many explanations for why this is the case, but in Buddhists’ case, they don’t believe in God, to say that there is another sort of belief in play.
Here perhaps it is important to say that I am still somewhat new to Buddhism, so I may get some things wrong, but the following were the two big reasons why I like Buddhism:
1) Meditation / Mindfulness / Power of Now – What all these terms have in common is that they bring persons awareness to a present moment. Indeed happiness cannot be found in the past or future, but only in the present, so while setting goals and thinking about both past and future is important, I believe that people are spending too much time in these two dimensions. Indeed, high performance is only possible with full attention to the task, which is now, so that’s just another benefit of being of life in the present moment, which Buddhism proposes.
2) Disconnecting from the material world – By this, I mean do disconnect from a modern-day disease called materialism. As it happens, most people live to make money, which they need to buy cool stuff. In this way, materialism can be fulfilling if we have unlimited amounts of money to fulfill our limitless desires, which few of us do, and rather unfulfilling if we cannot have what we want, we can become rather negative, depressed and spend years of life and tons of energy to get that elusive something that we think we might want. Indeed, the common myth that more material things are better is WRONG. After we have satisfied our basic essential needs, food, shelter, and security, which almost every modern society has, everything else is virtually unnecessary. Yet, most people are forever incomplete because they are forever chasing the dream that society has promised, but which most of us will not experience.
Still, people don’t have to become Buddhists to enjoy the benefits I just described, and of course, there is more to Buddhism that I told. Personally, once I embraced Buddhism, I have liberated myself from many daily worries and burdens. This, in turn, liberated enough of my attention to see what is more important to me, and I am feeling rather happy most of the time, which is enlightenment of its own. Wouldn’t you agree?