“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think” Buddha

The School of Practical Philosophy was a big part of my journaling, learning, and growing. It had a tremendous positive impact on my confidence. I absolutely loved the school’s warm environment. I still feel its benefits. An acquaintance introduced me to the School. It’s been a while since I attended, but I used to enjoy going there on Sundays. There were interesting lectures, and a nice cafe and bookstore where I could interact with other people who also appreciate philosophy.

I think we need to consider philosophy now more than ever. Many philosophers and spiritual teachers have spoken about the power of gratitude and happiness. The great philosophers of East and West teach that happiness is within each of us. So how do we tap into it? We discussed this and other essential questions that face every human being.
What type of life provides the greatest happiness? The answer also lies within us. We must figure it out for ourselves, but philosophy can definitely guide us to that answer.

I took an introductory course to try to learn more. There were topics to study, practices to implement, and handouts to review. The classes were inspiring. It was a very exciting process that led me to self-discovery and self-enrichment, as well as meeting and interacting with like-minded people. The course showed me how great and helpful philosophical ideas are. They worked in the past, are effective in the present, and will
work in the future. They are timeless knowledge. I’m very grateful that I could learn
these profound ideas and put them to practical use in my daily life.

When I read the notes from the class called “Why study philosophy?” I learned that when areas of life seem uncertain, the study of philosophy can provide clarity and direction, especially those areas we constantly struggle with. Philosophy is designed to help us become more alert, to raise our awareness of our thinking and actions, and to help us see things as they are. I also learned this profound quote from Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Even though I gained some wisdom from the School of Practical Philosophy, I wasn’t yet ready to act on it. The time was right for me a year later. I had a strong desire to reexamine my life, to investigate it thoroughly. Then I made gratitude part of my spiritual practice. I tried to replace my old way of thinking with a new way of thinking—an attitude change for the better, by being grateful and positive toward everything. What you focus on is what you’ll get. I believe we’re spiritual beings in a material world. Each of us arrives on Earth with a different agenda; I had an innate curiosity about mine.

Spirituality is a slow but astounding process. Gratitude became my style of spirituality,
my ally, and my companion; it escorts me everywhere I go, and reveals more about my true nature. My spiritual quest continues, to get to know myself better and more deeply.
I’ve also become more interested in other people and more sympathetic toward them.
Philosophy provided me with tools I could use and gave me a lot to think about. There were key points for study: What is wisdom? What are the qualities of the wise man and woman? How can we become more attentive in our lives?

One of the tools I acquired is the following meditation.

A Buddhist Meditation on Forgiveness for Oneself and Others

“From my heart, I forgive you for whatever you did, intentional or not.
May you be happy, free of confusion, and understand yourself and the world.
Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May we open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding.”