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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

Accepting confusion

The reason I didn’t completely despise physics was because- even when a problems would stump me for hours- there was always an answer. I loved having that AAHAA moment; suddenly everything fell into place and made sense. I’ve been waiting for that moment about Buddhism ever since we arrived at Namobuddha Monastery.

So far, very little of what we’ve discussed in our daily teachings has made sense to me. I’m troubled by some of the fundamental ideas of Buddhism: karma, suffrage, and reincarnation. Twice today I found myself in tears out of sheer frustration with myself. I wanted to badly to be able to understand these ideas; instead I was confused and in doubt. Furthermore, our daily meditation sessions haven’t helped calm and focus my mind as I was told they would and like they seem to everyone else. Instead, my mind travels to outside places and far off people. While I know this is natural for anyone who is just starting to meditate, it is nonetheless frustrating. All of this has made the last few days difficult and irritating, not relaxing and peaceful as I imagined I would feel at such an amazing place.

After my latest breakdown of the day, a very insightful Dave tried to help me out. Like my physics teacher patiently working me through a difficult acceleration problem, he slowly addressed each issue I told him I was facing. In the end, the answer I was left with really isn’t an answer at all; the fact that I don’t understand these ideas and teachings really doesn’t matter at all. The beauty of Buddhism is that you’re meant to question it. Even Buddha himself told people to question his teachings and investigate reality for themselves. So, even though I don’t fully understand or agree with everything we’ve been taught, the important thing is that I’m learning about it for myself. I have this opportunity here at the monastery to focus on myself and my beliefs. Even if in the end I don’t find something life changing through Buddhism, I’ll take away a broader knowledge about life and self-care.