“To accept is easy; to continue is difficult," Buddhism teaches.
My wellness journey began in high school, where I started slathering petroleum-based lotion all over my face. “Moisturize!” was my mantra. I also started running because it felt good. After a run my teenage pain would melt away. I was healthy.
Or so I thought.
I encountered Buddhism after having moved to New York, still moisturizing and running but not truly happy. Chanting morning and evening, and studying with my fellow Buddhists, I learned the concepts of the oneness of body and mind and the idea of 3,000 realms in a single moment of life (i.e. anything is possible!), and my inner world began to heal and strengthen. WIth growing confidence I decided to learn more about bodily health and enrolled at the Swedish Institute for massage therapy. I quickly learned how amazing the body is and how, when given the right support, it has a tendency to balance and heal itself.
With newfound knowledge, I made changes to my environment, removing toxic home and skin care products and replacing them with simple, easy to find, natural alternatives. I discovered the natural power of essential oils while studying at Aromahead Institute, and I began feeling a difference in my overall health right away as I began to use them. Strengthening and harmonizing my body and mind, I found myself more deeply happy.
There is another Buddhist concept: “The oneness of self and environment.” All living beings and the environment in which we live are inextricably interconnected. I cannot be happy unless you are happy. There is no justice for me unless there is justice for you. The next leg of my wellness journey — and probably the most challenging — is a focus on the wellbeing of all. It all comes down to my actions at this point. The 13th-century Buddhism monk, Nichiren, wrote, "The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.” We manifest our inner health (our “Buddhahood”), both physically and mentally, through our actions in society.