An unexpected religious experience

Thursday 17th and Friday 18th March 2016

Dear Diary,

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

I had never felt as consciously pessimistic about any trip in my life. I had agreed to go on a two day Buddhist ‘extravaganza’ to the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery in Scotland as part of my A level religious studies course, I wasn’t exactly enthused. Luckily I had my friend Madison to go with, who was equally pessimistic about the whole situation and knew how to make every situation hilarious (which doesn’t always go down well in a temple). The thoughts that sprung to mind about what I thought the trip would be like were mainly: cold, rainy, cringy and awkward which certainly isn’t my idea of fun. Let’s just say that this place absolutely defied my expectations.

The 2 and a half hour bus journey wasn’t the best. It was cramped and loud but that’s where Maddie stepped in to distract me and calmed my anxiety about the whole situation (because stepping outside of my comfort zone sends my anxiety through the roof!). We chatted the WHOLE time, which is unusual for me as I’m quite a timid person around people who I haven’t known for a long time and by the time we arrived, my nerves were well under control. The weather when we arrived was beautiful, the first proper sun I had seen all year and made for some pretty pics.

For the remainder of the trip we had a tour, ate some Buddhist meals (which weren’t great ngl), lots of pringles (because the meals tasted like crap), saw some Buddhist practices and had a q+a session with a nun. It was so surreal and different but in a way it was the most calming experience, my anxiety didn’t spark at any point. We were taught how to meditate properly and it has seriously inspired me to include meditation in my life more often as it is a life saver for those who suffer with anxiety.

I now have an incredible amount of respect for Buddhism and I feel like their teachings and practices will really come in useful for me at times. It’s amazing to see how some people have completely devoted their lives to this religion and showing kindness and compassion at all times, this is something that seemed so hard to me but with the right mindfulness it is possible.

To show my respect to the religion, I now wear a red string around my left wrist to represent compassion and as a reminder to always have right mindfulness.

Lastly, I apologize for the poor writing skills. I have put off writing this first post for weeks now but I really do want to keep this blog updated. I hope this first topic was a goodin’. I’ll leave you with some pictures from the trip. Till next time,

Abby x



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