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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Disabled Activist and Buddhist at Heart

When I started blogging on the D-Zone, I intended this blog to deal with  the issue of disability as I developed my understanding of disability from a social model perspective. I retain my commitment to the cause of disabled people worldwide. I do so both as an activist and as a disabled person myself. I don't think that I will retire from this struggle for inclusion and equality until society acknowledges JJKKFthat people with impairment, like myself, are part of society and takes our differences into account.

Having said that, my life has led me to appreciate different things and over time I have explored various areas and developed new interests. However, my involvement in disability activism is motivated by a desire to be included as a person and as an equal to others. I want to see, for example, a philosophy that celebrates human diversity rather than one attached to certain ideals of bodily perfection. Or else, a science which doesn't assume that impairment necessarily causes a drop in one's quality off life or tries to psychologically scrutinise our minds making claims that dealing with  impairment and bereavement are, in any way, similar. I also wish that I was included as a person in religion and spirituality which sometimes have used our impaired bodies as a metaphor for sin or evil.

I have recently been admitted to hospital and, to be honest, I am still facing health issues lately. I thought it wasn't appropriate to write about this on this blog given the tendency for impairment to be associated with suffering. But, I admit, the hospital experiences I had over the last six months have led me to ask a lot of questions and delve deeper into my spiritual side. Indeed, I have been questioning the purpose of life for some months and I confess I found solace in Buddhism. Indeed, I feel that I can relate to the Buddhist outlook on life. I can't really explain it, but I feel connected to Buddhism more than I ever felt before with any world view or philosophy. I am now confident enough to be more open about it and, finally, I thought that I needed to express it on this blog - which was where my blogging all started.

It may not be   the best time to express my Buddhist confession - given it's Easter and I was brought up as a Roman Catholic. However, my embracing of a Buddhist mindset isn't a declaration where I reject all I have learned as a Roman Catholic. Indeed, I have come to appreciate the richness of both Christianity and Buddhism. This "awakening" so to speak is a personal one. I don't want anyone to follow any path that they feel goes against their religious (or other) convictions. Indeed, I will surely discover more aspects to who I am as the years pass., Life is a process and not a closed book.

Tomorrow, Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In some respects, this is also an awakening. It's a renewal. Yet, the miracle of this event is, I think, that it offers hope to all of us as it illustrates that even death hasn't got the final say. Some of you might doubt whether there is an after-life or claim to be non-believers. Yes, no one has concrete proof that there's life after death or if there's anything beyond this life. The Buddha teaches us to be aware of the present moment because, in reality, our pasts are but a memory and the future is yet to be. At least, that's my interpretation. In the Buddha's outlook on life, the only thing that we can change is the present and the only person we can truly manage is ourselves. Our suffering is caused by our clinging to things that are really temporary. Well, there's my Buddhist thoughts flowing.

If you're interested to read about my journey into Buddhism, please refer to my "Buddhist" blog at ZoneMind. I assure you that I'll continue writing here from the perspective of  a disability activist.

However, at this stage, I wanted to be
open about my realisation because a Buddhist understanding is now part of who I am.