“Buddhism changed my life irrevocably,
to a better one “
Pris and I are in Gen Chönden’s Saturday class at Amitabha Centre, Bristol. She’s glowing with enthusiasm for Buddhism.
Jas – What do you like about being a Buddhist?
Pris – It changed my life irrevocably, to a better one. A happier, more peaceful one.
Jas – Wow. What happened?
Pris – I did a 10 day Vipassanā retreat (Buddhist insight meditation). Full-on or what?! It took me 5 days to stop hyperventilating and sit still!
Jas – So how did the retreat affect you?
Pris – I used to be angry and volatile. I spent my days living in fear. I was riddled with anxiety. It shaped my days. I was constantly feeling ill and drained. I had chronic fatigue because of it.
“I just stopped worrying”
Jas – And after the retreat?
Pris – I read Eckhart Tolle books, which I was really impressed by, and decided to go straight to the source – Buddhism. I just stopped worrying. I became free of pain. I get arthritis in my feet, and walking had become increasingly problematic. There was virtually nowhere in my body that didn’t ache with tension, because my mind was mad with anxiety. Within 2 weeks of starting to meditate seriously, I was experiencing happiness for no reason.
“I’d never felt happier in my whole life”
When I started practicing Dharma, I tried to turn my relationship around. I saw a huge gap there that I hadn’t seen or cared about before. I was more loving and compassionate now. He’s a lovely person, but it was too little too late. My marriage had been falling apart, and it wasn’t long before my husband left me. We agreed to separate – but I was still happy, because I’d let go of some of my big attachments. I knew I had to change my mind. I knew my husband couldn’t make me happy. He wasn’t a source of happiness, and I couldn’t blame him for my unhappiness. Reading Tolle helped me realise that meditation was the answer. It was the only thing that made sense. I had strong faith, and my life was getting better.
A friend who knows me well, said “you’re like a completely different person.” He was looking at me in a confused, amused sort of way. I think before I always looked scared and unhappy. For the first time in my life people started calling me beautiful! (big laugh) I realised it was an inner thing.
About: Priscilla has been a massage therapist for 20 years. Her work includes deep tissue massage and hotstone massage. Pris practices at a clinic in Stonehouse, and does home visits around the local area.