Life Editor’s Picks: Beginner Buddhist

I’m a Buddhist, but I was raised in an atheist family.

That means we didn’t believe in a God or higher power of any kind.

No old man with a beard sitting on a cloud judging you. No Heaven or Hell. No organized religion saying “these people” are good and “those people” are evil.

My family members were terrible people (and not because they were atheists), but I am thankful that I never had religion forced down my throat. It was sad to watch my husband Chris unlearn many of the negative, cruel, bigoted beliefs he was forced to listen to as a child.

I still meet people who are absolutely shocked that I’m a kind, loving person despite not having a religion. Apparently, I’m supposed to be a serial killer or something because only the threat of God’s vengeance can keep a person in line.

After college, I started reading about the law of attraction and universal energy. I believe everyone is inherently good, and it’s the thoughts we have and the choices we make that determine our realities.

Buddhism appealed to me because it’s a way of life, not a religion, and I’ve been studying and practicing Buddhism for about 10 years . You can be a Christian Buddhist, a Jewish Buddhist, or like me, an Atheist Buddhist.

It’s about being mindful of your thoughts and the world around you, and letting go of your attachments to possessions, outcomes, and rigid beliefs. And my daily meditation routine helps a Type A personality like me let go of little annoyances.

Are you interested in learning more about Buddhism or incorporating meditation and mindfulness into your life?

Here are my picks for starting out as a Beginner Buddhist.

1. The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha. One of my favorite documentaries. Easy to follow and beautifully animated.

2. Shakti Mala. I love these 108-bead malas from Tiny Devotions. They’re perfect for keeping count as you recite your mantras. Click here to read more about using malas.

3. Chakra Stones. Gorgeous stones that are perfect for meditating, reiki, healing, or other rituals.

4. Wooden Labyrinth Game. Put down your smart phone and try a low-tech way to improve your concentration.

5. Pocket Buddha, Peace. I’m completely obsessed with these adorable portable figurines!

6. The Cow in the Parking Lot. This fantastic book helped me stop making harsh judgments about other people. You never know what someone is going through.

7. Buddha Doodles: Imagine the Possibilities. Adorable illustrations of the Buddha’s greatest teachings.  

8. Miracle Cube Timer. A cute way to count down the minutes as you clear your mind.

9. Tabletop Zen Garden Kit. Cheesy? Yes. Incredibly relaxing? Yes.

10. 7-Piece Meditation Set. An all-in-one kit with everything you need to comfortably start a daily meditation practice.

Want to see even more of my top picks? Follow me on Pinterest.

This post focuses on Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

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