“Time passes in moments… moments which, rushing past, define the path of a life, just as surely as they lead towards its end. How rarely do we stop to examine that path, to see the reasons why all things happen, to consider whether the path we take in life is our own making, or simply one into which we drift with eyes closed. But what if we could stop, pause to take stock of each precious moment before it passes? Might we then see the endless forks in the road that have shaped a life? And, seeing those choices, choose another path?”  ~ Dana Scully, X-Files, “All Things”

One of my favorite episodes from the X-Files is “All Things” from Season 7.  In this episode, Dana Scully, a devout Catholic, faces the Buddist belief that everything happens for a reason.  Our lives center around Dhamma (Truth) and enlightenment through a quest for knowledge.  The Buddhist beliefs are centered around 4 noble truths: Life is suffering, Suffering is caused by cravings and aversion, Suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained, and the Noble 8 Fold path is the path that leads us to the end of suffering.  This is a whole new way of looking at the X-Files slogan, “The Truth is Out There.”

For me, I have always had an interest in the Buddhist beliefs–without knowing they were buddhist beliefs.  Those who really know me have heard me say “everything happens for a reason,” “kharma will handle it,” and “it’s a sign.”  But until I moved to Reno and my roommate’s girlfriend (now his wife) introduced me to the Buddhist beliefs, I was unaware that I was already on my path to enlightenment.

Born and raised a Catholic, I struggled with accepting the Cathecism teachings.  I couldn’t have blind faith to a religion that left me with so many questions–like which part of Adam do monkeys come from.  What I love about Buddhism is that they don’t want you to accept their truths on faith, they want you to experience them.  They encourage questions and a quest for knowledge.  Finally, a religion where I won’t get kicked out for asking questions.

“There is a greater intellegence in all things. Accidents, or near accidents often remind us that we need to keep our mind open to the lessons it gives. You may want to slow down”

(And for those of you who don’t know me, I often reference TV shows, movies, and books when trying to explain my own life–FYI)
In “All Things,” Scully meets a woman who tells her that things happen to us as a way of telling us to slow down and look at our lives.  The woman mentions how she was a career woman, hiding her lesbian lifestyle, and not living up to the truths in her life when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  The Cancer was her awakening.  For me, being diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis was my awakening.  Up until that point, I had no clear perspective on who I was as a person and I was always running away from things–things I didn’t want to face.  Undergoing surgery and finding out that I would have to endure a cancer treatment for 8 months to kill off the diseased cells ravaging my body, I couldn’t help but analyze my life, the choices I had made, and what my future held.  I had entered the suffering stage of my awakening.

“Pain.  Where there is pain, there is a need for healing–physically, mentally, spiritually . . . When we hold onto shame and guilt and fear, it creates imbalance.  It makes us forget who we are.”

And for me, the suffering stage lasted for years.  I had so many lessons that I had to learn about life and about myself.  I had been craving all the wrong things and trying to be someone I knew I was not.  Ironically, it was when I started raising my nephew and doing things for our soldiers and veterans that I really started to discover who I was, the real me.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” ~ Ghandi

To this day, I am still trying to overcome my suffering by serving others and showing compassion.  It is my ability to help others (the soldiers, veterans, my students) that provides me with happiness.  I love knowing that I have the power to make a difference in the lives of others by passing on my own knowledge and skills that I have acquired in my 31 years on this earth.  And perhaps for the first time in my life I can say I know exactly who I am.  Everything in my life has happened to make me the person I am today–doing the work that I do today.  After all, it is today that really matters–not the past and not the future but today.

Mulder:I don’t think you can know. I mean, how many different lives would we be leading if we made different choices. We… we don’t know.

Scully:What if there was only one choice and all the other ones were wrong? And there were signs along the way to pay attention to.

Mulder:Mmm. And all the… choices would then lead to this very moment. One wrong turn, and… we wouldn’t be sitting here together. Well, that says a lot. That says a lot, a lot, a lot.