Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mormons can be Buddhist Too

Many years ago we watched a fun Mormon movie called "Sons of Provo": a mock-umentary about a boy band.  One of the quirky characters in the show proclaimed that Mormons can be Buddhist too.  I've laughed off and on about that through the years.

But last week I decided that maybe this Mormon can be Buddhist too.

Several months ago a friend in the ward asked if I wanted to go to a conference in Utah with her.  It was a hectic time--we had just been to Utah for Russ's mom's funeral and I was trying to get over that trip and get ready for Thanksgiving, so without understanding a whole lot about it I agreed to go.  We found very inexpensive flights and I figured whatever it was, it wasn't going to be too expensive.

But then the worst thing happened.  Her mother in law died and instead of going with me, she went to Florida for a funeral.

Except that it wasn't the worst thing.  I thought to ask my dear friend Susan if she could do something so spontaneous as come down to Utah to go with me.  And much to my delight she was able to come for 2 nights and a day.  We had such a wonderful time together.  (Except for that one time when we walked to and from City Creek Mall for lunch and we were absolutely freezing to death with no coats.  That was not such fun.)  All of it never would have happened if my Oregon friend had been able to come.

But then the worst thing happened.  She had to go back to Idaho Falls to be in charge of something that was happening in her stake.

Except that it wasn't the worst thing.  In the two days that I was alone I met such interesting people and had really wonderful connections and conversations with them.  Things that never would have happened if Susan had still been there.

I was sitting after lunch on the last day, filled with happy energy about all of the things I'd been learning and thoughts I'd been thinking and conversations I'd been having.  I laughed at how "the worst" thing kept ending up not to be a bad thing at all.  And in that moment I thought that perhaps I needed a little Buddhism in my life.

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.” 

It was interesting to think about that idea in the context of the experience I'd just had.  To think about really (truly) trusting every moment, that it could work out for my best good.

As I was thinking of this idea of trusting the moment I could see myself--that one of my tendencies is that when a moment (or a year, or a vacation, or a friendship) is really especially wonderful I can't stand to let it go.  I hold on as tightly as I can, even when the holding on is causing problems in my life.

I started thinking about how much easier life would be if I could live this way--see and appreciate some moment as beautiful, but then let it be over when it was over.  In my mind it looked like this picture--hands open, heart appreciating the beautiful butterfly, but willing to let it fly away.
Learn to let go.  This is the secret of happiness.

Can I do this?  I'm not sure.  But in that moment it made enough sense to me that this Mormon is going to give it the old Buddhist try.

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