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Tiny Wisdom: On Choosing for Yourself

“Believe nothing no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense.” ~Buddha

Every now and then, someone writes to me to inform me that something I’ve written doesn’t align with Buddhism. I can understand this instinct. After all, the site is called Tiny Buddha, and Buddhists who come here likely expect to find information that will reinforce their beliefs and strengthen their practice.

My response is always the same: I don’t write to help people become better Buddhists; I write about ideas that often come from the Buddhist tradition because I believe they can help us become better people.

If my personal feelings or thoughts sometimes fall outside the scope of Buddhist thought, it’s because I explore and apply the ideas that make sense to me, regardless of whether or not they align with a specific belief system.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, I suspect we’ll recognize that we very rarely fit perfectly within any one group or label. If you consider yourself a Democrat, odds are there are some policies that you support and others that you disagree with.

If you were raised to follow a certain religion, you’ve probably realized there are some ideas that make sense to you and others you strongly question.

Maybe this is a good thing. When we allow ourselves to be more multifaceted than our labels, we’re better able to stay open-minded. Also, it compels us to really listen to our instincts instead of questioning what collective belief dictates.

There’s something to be said for identifying with a group. In his book The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, the Dalai Lama wrote that we need both a sense of individual identity and belonging to feel balanced and happy.

I suspect, however, that we’ll allow ourselves a lot more room for growth if we let our affiliations enhance our lives instead of allowing them to limit or define them.

Of course, that’s just what I believe. What makes sense to you?

Photo by permanently scatterbrained

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. She recently launched a Mindfulness Kit to help reduce our stress and increase our peace and joy. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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