I'm an accidental Buddhist. I went on a crash course, a five-day retreat in Nepal, and quickly felt the effects, as if I'd been plugged into the mains and then given a battery charger to take back with me. I was full of energy.
Meditation should come with a health warning attached: do not consider unless you want to change your life. It simplifies. There's so much emphasis on having more in this life. It almost feels countercultural to say, "This will do."
Happiness is what humans want, we just don't know where to look. There are things in life we can't control or predict. Happiness comes from how we respond to them. We may try to hold on to something. We can't and it's devastating. Happiness is recognising the way things happen. Everything is impermanent. Everything will end.
My Buddhist name means song of compassion. I use my other name, Sara Burns, for work and at the school gate. I have two children. With parenting comes guilt and anxiety. No one feels they're a good enough parent. I can be a nice, calm, serene Buddhist in most walks of life. If I'm not careful, I can lose my temper with my children.
But it comes back to meditation. Whatever you're doing will feel nicer with a certain level of awareness. It's the truth. I'm even more aware of colours. It's like when you're in love and the whole world suddenly looks brighter.