Peter Cole shares his story of enlightenment and discusses how discovering meditation helped him to deal with his inner demons and free him from depression
When I was 18, I became very unwell with clinical depression. The college of life, as I calling it, had thrown me a quick succession of difficult experiences of human suffering and I couldn’t take much more. I couldn’t work and was having real trouble keeping my head above water. Life felt pretty gloomy with a constant cloud of depression lurking around me that I wasn’t able to overcome.
I realised that as Buddhists want to free themselves from the samsara – suffering – which is the cycle of birth, ageing, sickness, death and then rebirth – I wanted to free myself from the suffering of depression. I began meditating daily, and used Buddhism as a way of life. It’s thanks to this practise and spiritual path, I believe, that I’m now 100 percent well. I feel liberated, and my clouded perceptions of life have gone. The great news is that you too can use meditation and Buddhism to become more enlightened.
Meditation’s what you need
Learning to meditate can help you calm, still and focus your normally busy, hectic mind. Not only will it relieve stress, be beneficial to your physical, mental and emotional well-being and promote inner peace, but it will be an excellent tool on the path to spiritual advancement. It can help you discover spiritual truths or realisations, prepare you for spiritual practice or do inner work. At the very least, meditation will give you five minutes to take a break.
Buddhist principles, such as practicing morality, not acting in a way that might harm others, being compassionate and carrying out virtuous deeds, has helped me lead a better life.
Those wanting to delve deeper into what Buddhism has to offer, can turn to the teachings on karma and rebirth, the four noble truths, the six perfections in the Mahayana tradition and, of course, the development of affectionate love and compassion. It is ultimately the desire to be free from cyclic existence of samsara – or suffering – that motivates Buddhists, but even simply incorporating a regular meditation practice into your daily routine will help you reap the benefits of this ancient tradition.