The Quote that helped me Recover from Growing Up Buddhist.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 27, 2013
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I’m in Halifax, presently, visiting my mom.

Halifax is a center for Buddhism in the West, and I’ve been running into all kinds of folks I’ve known all my life. I ran into one gentleman at the Shambhala Meditation Center, today, where we were practicing the beautiful Sadhana of Mahamudra.

And this gentleman asked me if I’d recovered from living at a Buddhist retreat center, as a child—the only child among many adults—a meditation center where children really weren’t, at the time, welcome. Everyone, understandably, was there for meditation, and romance, and to be grownups, to be serious and serious about their fun.

Children were and are as we all know disruptive and annoying and spontaneous and loud and chaotic and…in my case, I was there for a different reason than everyone else (I attended a high school nearby, St. Johnsbury Academy).

So I spent a few years being told to shut up in just about every room I went into. The Buddhist community was like that, at the time. It was all very lids, and not so much flowers.

I was a big loud happy dorky boy, and it took years to recover from that…from that notion that my joy oughta shut up. But it wasn’t traumatizing. And it wasn’t therapy that helped me overcome that sense of shame…for my shame was neither solid nor a source of resentment. It just was something I got to work (and play) on. And, ironically, it was my practice of Buddhist meditation, and the path of Kasunghood, that helped me overcome that conflict between my wildness and others condemning me for being so…”me.”

In any case, this quote meant something to me, when I first read it, and has ever since. I don’t normally go in for New Ageyness, so please forgive me if you find this touchy feely. I don’t. I find it tough, and important and awesome.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


6 Responses to “The Quote that helped me Recover from Growing Up Buddhist.”

  1. toddlohenry says:

    Heh, heh, heh… As a recovering Catholic it now occurs to me that everybody is trying to recover from growing up 'something'…

  2. @jkdman007 says:

    I'm pretty comfortable and at piece with having grown up Christian, thankfully.

  3. RAS says:

    1. "The Buddhist community was like that, at the time" is to put it mildly, a bit of a generalization. Your experience was based on one community in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    2. There are many non-Buddhist communities around the world where a "big loud" child would have been and still is told to shut up in just about every room he or she went into.


  4. Kathy Adler says:

    Am I missing something? Where is the actual quote?

  5. Lincoln Hall says:

    Most of the last paragraph is a hyper-link to a posted quote:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  6. Waylon,

    Love, love, love this… so glad I found it today.