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Brennan's intro to Buddhism

Published: Sunday 06 Dec 2020 | Edited: Sunday 06 Dec 2020

In a sense, I am patient with myself that my brain had to be all the way, fully developed, and twenty-five years old before I was able to snap out of Mormonism. I was a baby when they started me on that 19th century American bullshit. But still, I was embarrassed when I got out of it. I was ashamed that I was too cowardly to really give my early doubts the attention they deserved. And the falling out almost completely ruined my marriage, and it is still railing me in the ass in a lot of ways: having to draw boundaries and figure shit out with the people closest to me who have remained part of the church.

So, probably understandably, I'm paranoid about religion. I never want to complicate my life like that again, or worse: encourage someone else to complicate their life with mumbo jumbo that ends up sticking its fingers into most or all the facets of their life, or forces them into a situation where ceasing to believe in it is more trouble than it's worth.

One of the worst feelings in the world is realizing you've been so wrong about so much for so long.

So maybe it's crazy that I'm even dipping my toes into talking about this publicly; but I'm a Buddhist.

I'm not, like, a good one. I identify with the philosophy, and I can't shake its hold on me.

Luckily, Buddhism is a system that lends itself to flexibility in implementation, and really has space for someone like me who doesn't believe in gods or the supernatural or anything. In fact, self-directed doubt, as far as I can tell, seems to be one of its hallmarks.

When I was a Mormon missionary, I was never comfortable with the core functions. I was ashamed to admit to people that I believed the tenets of the faith. I was always conscious that I must have seemed crazy to them.

Now, I'm getting little twinges of that feeling. It's not like Buddhism is a proselyting religion. The way I see it and use it, I don't think it's a religion at all.

But I don't miss the irony that, as dirty and raw as Joseph Smith et. al. did me, I'm stanning pretty hard for Buddhism now.