This is not a book about Buddhism.
In fact, in the interest of complete disclosure, my knowledge of the history of the Buddha’s life is rudimentary at best. And so, within the context of this little book Buddha is referenced here in a completely figurative sense. I chose the name ‘Buddha’ because I believe that the metaphor for sovereignty and wholesomeness which the name represents is fairly well understood by the general masses.
That said, this book is for anyone (Buddhist or otherwise) who curiously, innocently, or desperately searches for a more honest, self-empowered way to approach their life. Thank you for picking it up. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful.
What Lies Beyond?
“If you saw everyone you encountered as family, and every experience you had as valuable…just how might your life be different?”
Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the name Buddha. It is a name which represents a legendary figurehead who taught personal freedom and sovereignty hundreds of years B.C. As easy as these teachings are to find and study, relatively speaking, it could be suggested that there is very little evidence of them in the popular culture. I have wondered why that is.
Perhaps it is because this kind of wisdom came from a simpler time, before the infinite distractions of our modern, high-tech, politically-charged, commercially-driven world. Perhaps it is also because we’ve been taught for so long that these distractions, whether they be our mortgages or our politics, are far more important than how we are feeling on a moment-to-moment basis.
Perhaps. Yet, I suspect that these kinds of distractions have always been present. I suspect that only the specific way in which they have manifested into our lives has changed relative to whatever era in which we find ourselves. So where does that leave us?
If our history is anything to judge by, it appears as if we as a species will always have available to us an endless host of reasons for why we feel unable to experience a deeper sense of meaning or purpose in our lives. And through these reasons we are justified in choosing behaviors that perpetuate more of those same kinds of reasons. You see, it’s a cycle.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the cycle—nothing at all. In becoming aware of the cycle I, personally, was led straight to the parts of life that I value the most. I suspect to a certain degree a similar relationship might be true for you and this book. And so, the question becomes: What do we do and where do we turn when we begin to experience the perception of ‘futility’ in that cycle?
I wrote this book in response to that question. Now, I cannot answer that question for you any better than you could answer it for me. Yet, I wrote this book just the same! I wrote it because, even though I cannot tell you what the meaning of life is (especially the meaning of your life), I can at least offer a template of experience and the possibility for inspiration.
You may find yourself identifying with much or little of what you’re about to read. Regardless, I believe that we are all simply observing and contributing to life from different locations upon the very same path. As far as I’m concerned, we are all Modern-Day Buddhas, truly. It is with that in mind that I propose that the techniques in the following pages need not be implemented out of some sense of obligation in order that we might one day arrive at a preset destination known as ‘better,’ or ‘enlightened,’ or even to ‘save the world’ for that matter. But rather, we might take action simply in order to discover for ourselves…what lies beyond.
What lies beyond the preconceived notions and assumptions that we’ve formed as a result of our history? What lies beyond saying and doing the same old thing that we’ve always said and done? What lies beyond everything we always knew to be true? What lies beyond all of that? These techniques were written as one possible way to explore that very question.
What is a Modern-Day Buddha? Well, the short answer is that we all are. Now, what does that ‘look’ like?
Perhaps a Modern-Day Buddha (MDB) is someone who has taken interest in becoming more and more aware of herself and her life in a holistic sense. Perhaps she is becoming more and more aware of what and how she is thinking and feeling moment-to-moment. Perhaps she is becoming increasingly aware of the choices that she makes and the consequences which follow; and she is learning to assume responsibility for them with an air of grace that—by default—seems to dissolve her tendency to operate through a sense of shame and/or guilt.
Perhaps a MDB is someone who has begun to accept that he is simply not in control of everything around him. Perhaps he has begun to understand that he cannot control his every thought, his every feeling, or his every circumstance. Perhaps a MDB has discovered a certain amount of freedom through his understanding that life is not necessarily meant to be controlled in the first place. While, at the same time, he also understands that this discovery does not necessarily imply a relinquishment of his sense of personal responsibility. Rather, he has begun to foresee and experience a balance between the two—control and surrender—as they create the dance of life.
Perhaps the more aware of her life that a MDB becomes—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—the more she seems to understand that this moment-to-moment awareness is really all that there is. Perhaps she begins to notice that her life seems to be enriched in some unspeakable way as she becomes more and more aware of what she is doing, saying, thinking, and experiencing on all levels.
Perhaps a MDB understands that his developing awareness represents the movement toward his growing ability to see what is before him more clearly, to perceive and participate in life in a sovereign manner, increasingly more and more free of any historical indictment of his past. Perhaps he has stumbled upon this profound understanding: His sovereignty comes from his growing desire and willingness to become utterly honest with himself first and foremost. Thus, his level or degree of awareness can only equal his level or degree of self-honesty. Perhaps he is learning to create the reality of his life independent of the old programming that no longer serves him in what he perceives as an honest or wholesome way.
Every technique contained in these pages comes from my own experiences out in the world. Whether in professional or personal circles, these techniques have served as wonderful tools (survival tools in some cases!), that have offered countless opportunities for me to expand my awareness and better understand the connection between the choices I’ve made and the consequences that followed.
Consider it for a moment. If you saw everyone you encountered as family, and every experience you had as valuable…just how might your life be different? Let’s find out, together.
Finally, I believe that we are always teaching one another in every moment. That said, as you read through and experiment with these techniques, I invite you to go to: www.TheModernDayBuddha.com and offer feedback in regards to your experience. Please, teach me.
The next installment: Technique 1: Pause
(In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting the entirety of this book here. To learn how you can purchase/download this book now, click HERE.)
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About the Author…
Noah James Hittner is an independent Author, Musician, and Entrepreneur from rural Wisconsin who has appeared on both radio and network television. His books and music inspire the mind and warm the heart. To contact Noah, or explore more of his work, visit: NoahJamesHittner.com.