Animals live in the present, unlike humans who go on a mental time travel, live for their future, and get caught up in the vicious circle of permanency. But that doesn’t mean animals aren’t emotional or don’t get attached. They are far more advanced than humans because they understand the concept of staying and forever doesn’t exist and that is why animals are the greatest example of love, innocence, care, loyalty, happiness, and living in the moment in which the human is running after but in the wrong direction.
And this running behind and trying to live forever causes anxiety, depression, suffering, and a lot of pain which the world is experiencing today.
Mental illness has reached its peak. There is therapy, and professional help, and Buddhism is another alternative that can help heal some of life’s problems, not drastically but slowly.
Let’s dive into the insight of Buddhism about what it is, what are its benefits, see how mindfulness reduces anxiety and how to end Dukkha (suffering) to help our mental health.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the school of teaching, an Indian philosophical tradition that is based on an original series of the teaching of Gautama Buddha (The Awakened One). Buddha is a spiritual seeker who attained enlightenment more than 2,600 years ago.
It teaches us the lasting values of this impermanent world and opens our eyes to how things are. By understanding the law of cause & effect and using the tools like meditation and gaining insight into life, human beings can tap into potential and realize the ultimate goal of enlightenment.
This practice helps to empty the bowl that is filled with desires, greed, ego, and refill it with what’s real.
Buddhism teaches the hardest truth about life which is that things/people come and go, the only thing that stays, is the awareness in which all these experiences and phenomena appear.
The buddha’s best-known teaching include- the eightfold path, the four noble truths, the way to liberate oneself from the existential pain of living, the nature of human suffering, and achieving Nirvana which is the final goal of Buddhism (A transcendent state in which there is no desire of suffering or sense of oneself where the subject is released from the cycle of death & rebirth and the effects of karma).
How do Buddhists perceive Mental Illness & Mental Health?
The Buddhist monk Lama Yeshe said that mental illness is the kind of mind that refuses to see the reality and exaggerates the entire situation or underestimates the quality of a person or object which is the main cause of the rising problems. People consider people who are emotionally disturbed to be a problem but they don’t consider people who have a fundamental inability to see the reality and understand one true nature, which is a huge mental attitude problem.
Emotional distress and disturbed relationships are the tips of the iceberg problems, there is an actual problem hidden beneath which people are too scared to face, the reality of the problem and ignore it by giving excuses. “The only way to solve it is to dive deep within the ocean of yourself and seek the truth”.
Buddhists perceive mental health as the rich and supreme status of health. In Buddhism mental health is viewed as the ability of a person to control mental activities rationally. It is the state of mind that determines how one approaches the force of life that they encounter.
Benefits Of Buddhism On Our Mental Health
- Surrounding ourselves with a Buddhist way of living and making Buddhism the guru of life can help people to slow down from the rushing thoughts of negatively as well as positively. The goal is to keep the emotions, thoughts, and feeling in control and not get affected by their good and bad sides. Keeping a balanced/neutral state of mind.
- The art of meditation is the main preaching of lord buddha. Meditation clears up those clouds of thoughts by embracing those thoughts which bring peace to the mind. This training of mind steers up your energy in the right direction which is the path of mental balance, awareness, and nourishment, helping achieve the target set for the day.
- Acts of service – helping and sharing with others in the time of their distress can heal a part of us and give us an understanding of the world where all have the same soul with different bodies.
- Not relying on, attaching, and being dependent on external things or people will help reduce a lot of pain, anxiety, and depression. Holding onto things forever is the root cause of suffering.
- Embracing that birth, growing up and death is a part of life and will help us live in the moment with a peaceful mind. Whatever situation that the life prevails, one can walk unattached and untouched.
Identifying and acknowledging the pain and suffering can help people to come out of the trap of unhealthy life and live a peaceful life. It is indeed scary to face our inner demons but is it where the answer is buried. Ignoring it or forgetting will be a temporary solution but the suffering is too smart to find and will find its way and creep us out of nowhere.
Buddhism is a choice of living a life and will take time to adapt. And Meditation is an alternative treatment for a few mental issues but illnesses like bipolar and other heavy illnesses are advised to seek professional psychological help.