I am a Buddhist, I am a researcher, and I am a nurse. Being all three has brought about amazing experiences in different ways, but ultimately all three are intertwined. This was something I began to notice more and more. Why did I say that?
As a researcher, my areas of interest and focus were generally on mental health. Looking particularly at the effects of mental health, and various therapies help on improving it. Mental health refers to all those emotions we experience from day to day. This includes stress, anxiety, sadness and happiness etc. For example, high levels of long-term stress and anxiety can lead to a poor physical health and as a result to a lower quality of life. It is evident when we witness people turning to alcohol or tobacco or illicit substances in aiming to relieve the stress and anxiety. Moreover, researchers have found links of long-term stress and anxiety to depression and schizophrenia. Going back a few years ago, I started a research on a very fresh concept of mindfulness and how it could improve the mental health. Mindfulness has been exploded in popularity in the last few years. Did you know that mindfulness has been nicknamed the 60-second tranquiliser? Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. By being fully present in this way – not forcing things or hiding from them, but actually being with them, we create space to respond in new ways to situations and make wise choices. We may not always have full control over our lives, but with mindfulness we can work with our minds and bodies, learning how to live with more appreciation and less anxiety.
When I first investigated mindfulness, I repeatedly thought in this way "Hey… This is very similar to Buddhist teachings!"
If you are in the practice of teachings by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III – I am sure you will immediately notice similarities to his teachings and this concept of mindfulness – especially in his teachings on meditation. For those who are interested, do see the link below. The idea of breathing techniques in achieving mindfulness, and focusing on the present seems not to be a new concept after all. Looking into this further, mindfulness has been cited to be of Buddhist origins.
With my own experience and understanding as a Buddhist, many problems in life seem to arise from the attachment of “self”, and not being able to “let go”. Some people live in hatred for their whole lives, whilst others live in anger or sadness. Many mental health patients I spoke to all had these triggers which led them down the road to the mental illness. Whilst I do not question that there is a biological factor to the mental illness. However on the nurture side of the argument – I feel that these people were so strongly attached to the notion of “self”, that it had a strong negative impact, resulting in mental illness. Practicing the teachings of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has taught me not to hold on to events, situations, possessions and whatever it may be, so tightly; ultimately we will never be able to hold onto them forever – this is the law of impermanence. Dwelling on the past is useless, as it has already gone and passed; anticipating the future that is yet to happen is also futile. Why not focus on the present moment? Be the best we can in the present moment, which will no doubt have a positive impact on everything else – mindfulness.
As a nurse, I witness impermanence all the time – people's health is in deterioration or departing from this life every moment. Everything they are so worried about, everything that they stress about, everything that they try to hold on to so tightly does not matter when they stop breathing.
All these real-life experiences together have brought me closer to understanding the teachings expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. I believe that the true Buddha Dharma is not just a belief or a religion, but is for a way of life - a guide to that ultimate state of mind and being to gain a true sense of happiness.