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 started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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