Learning About Trust

I started my new job over a month ago. I’ve also been paired up with a professional mentor Andy. So far he’s been the go to person for me when I start to feel overwhelmed. In my last catch-up with him, I wanted his views on how to get the best from my manager. He gave me some tips and asked me a very pointed question, “Do you trust him?”

At the moment I said, yes of course I did. I wouldn’t have joined his team if I didn’t find him trustworthy. I also said that my default is trusting people so it’s a bit of a different way of being.

Then my mentor asked me whether I would trust my manager with deeply personal things. And this made me quite uncomfortable. He said of course trust is a deeply layered thing and you don’t have to be comfortable. But he just left me with those questions and thoughts.

The next day as I was chanting in the morning, I had a deep realisation. Contrary to what I’d said to Andy, I actually trust nobody at all.

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Beyond All Imagination

In my initial months of doing this practice, I came across a guidance titled – “How to Become a Person of Unlimited Self Esteem”. In this guidance, one of the prayers was, chant to believe that all my dreams would be fulfilled beyond all imagination.

Since then, when I am in a situation where I can’t even picture what success would look like or when I struggle to have a grand vision, I pray for my goal to be fulfilled in a way that is beyond all imagination.

A couple of months ago I started my new job, my dream job. The amazing thing is that two months into this journey, the dream continues and is indeed beyond all I could have ever imagined to have in my life. 

During the interview stage, I was praying to be successful in my interview in a way that was beyond all imagination.

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What If We Set Incorrect Goals to Pray For?

Since I started practising in 2013, I have often struggled with anxiety plus analysis-paralysis of what if I’ve set the incorrect goal or incorrect prayer. Last year I developed some insight into how to have lofty prayer. As promised in this post, here’s my take on it!

First, have a goal that inspires us to chant

“Whatever takes you in front of the Gohonzon is a benefit.”

– Daisaku Ikeda

If we don’t have goals then it becomes a drag to chant everyday. It becomes mechanical. Or at times we might not chant consistently because we don’t have a spirit of challenge. We are simply going through the motions of life. So the important thing is to pick a goal, any goal, that motivates us to chant.

Second, make the goal tangible, perceivable

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Hope to Overcome Sickness

I wrote yesterday about my determination to create causes in faith while I felt really sick and overwhelmed with the persisting sickness.

Today things started to move already. I went to Yoga at 5.45 am this morning, felt pretty awesome, wish there could be a class with humans every day. I came back and chanted for an hour. At 8.30 am I called my primary care doctor who I found in March this year. They didn’t have any appointments on this week and I asked to be put on the cancellation waiting list.

At 1.30 pm I went to see my local GP. My neighbour had recommended another GP at that practice but I hadn’t had the time to change my appointment. As luck would have it, the receptionist asked me if I wanted to see the other doctor as she was available sooner. I was more than happy! This GP turned out to be really good. She mentioned how the other GP had given me incorrect instructions about my ear drops. She gave me the right instructions and even gave me a referral to an ENT specialist.

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Focusing on Causes in Faith

I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. It started with some kind of a virus and an upset stomach. A couple of days later, I had severe pain in my neck and shoulders then soon pain in my ear. Earlier this week, the discomfort in my ear took me to the doctor. They gave me some ear drops but it got worse.

Now, my left ear has been blocked since Thursday. I have tried all of my usual ways and unusual ways to get better. Yesterday I went for acupuncture and my TCM doctor told me that it has gotten worse as my period is delayed. When my period will come, my ear will get cleared. However, it has not happened yet.

Today in my deep suffering and discomfort I chanted for a solution, for my ear to open somehow. After chanting for about two hours and flipping through pages of A Youthful Diary, the penny dropped.

I realised I was again chasing after my ear getting better and it was causing me suffering. I needed to up my life state and the solution is not going to come from chasing after it. I needed to again renew my determination and put kosen-rufu at the front and centre of my life.

As President Ikeda writes:

“Did gongyo with this prayer in mind: to develop faith that releases abundant life force to advance kosen-rufu.”

A Youthful Diary page 439

I made a determination to visit or meet 5 members next week. I have no idea when I will get my period or when my ear will open. I know I have to go to yoga at 6 am everyday. And I have determined to create causes in faith no matter what.

This is the formula and yet every time I get sucked into trouble, I forget that I must focus on my causes and what I can contribute. I must still be determined to overcome my health challenges, I need to make efforts in faith instead of obsessing about the perfect solution.

Tomorrow morning I will call my doctor at 8 am and try to get an appointment. I am going to do everything in my power to contribute to others! I will let no devils defeat me.

Can’t wait to share my experience of how this turns around. 😀

How to Set Goals to Pray for?

Following on from my previous post about prayer without goals, I have been reflecting on how to set goals to pray for. I have been also reflecting my own journey and the various kinds of guidance I received over the years through study and personal guidance.

Some of my key learnings are below.

Pray for What You Want…

I used to often start from what I want to change or manifest in my life. E.g. I pray to have absolute victory over my health problems so that I can freely contribute to the happiness of others. In this frame of mind, I found that I started practising diligently only when I was deeply suffering and wanting to change something. However, when this didn’t happen, it used to cause me deeper suffering and discourage me from practising.

But Don’t Chase After it

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Praying Without Goals

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my father who has recently started practising Nichiren Buddhism with the Bharat Soka Gakkai in India. I asked him what he was chanting towards, what his goals were. He said that he prayed for everything to go well and everything to be ok, and what is wrong with chanting without goals? Here’s what I’ve learned about not having goals.

Praying without goals signals not taking responsibility for one’s life

Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism is a firm pledge of determination. If I chant without a goal, it means I am chanting and waiting for some kind of magic without taking responsibility for my life. Similar to going on a drive but not having a destination.

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Story of the Ex-es

On this blog, I have written about two of my ex-boyfriends – Mike and Jai. Jai was the love of my life (so far) from my 20s who broke up with me 8 years ago. Mike was the recent fiasco, a year ago, after a very short relationship.

Last year, when my relationship with Mike was not going well, I reached out to Jai to seek his advice about my behaviours for the first time ever. He was kind and helpful and since then we have been in touch occasionally. Jai is now happily married to a more age-appropriate, less traumatised woman, from what I gather. He is a very private person and I don’t quite have the patience to navigate that to push him to give me information.

Yesterday I texted Jai to share my experience with him. He got to it quite promptly and he first started with “constructive” feedback – you need to make more eye contact, you should have waited for laughter to die down. Haha.

I thanked him for his feedback and explained that even if I cried and fumbled, people would have cheered for me. He went on to express a lot of what sounded like judgement. For the first time, I just listened, asked some questions but didn’t get antagonistic or defensive in response.

Towards the end of our discussion, I said to him that the next time I come to him for relationship advice, instead of asking me to do better and be better, he should remind me I deserve better. This led to a really really funny and endearing conversation.

Jai said that he tried to tell me in very clear ways whether I really wanted to be with this guy. In his opinion, I was way way better than Mike. I just wasn’t open to it and listening. His remarks were beyond hilarious about what he thought of Mike. I have still been laughing when I think about them.

This conversation was really helpful to finally close the Mike chapter forever. No pondering, no questioning. Time to move on to my next prayer to have a healthy committed relationship in my life. It is so timely too, I was starting to feel a bit rudderless with my practice. Anxious about settling into the new job and a bit low on life force. Losing steam about my goal win in every area of my life this year.

Need to renew my determination and start over.
Which means I must really sleep now at half past midnight.

Riding the Wave of Courage

Today I decided to share my experience speech with a work colleague and also my brother-in-law. Brave attempts to connect others to my own journey through the practice.

I think I’ll stop for now, though. I feel a bit intensely burnt out. My brother-in-law was very kind in his response. He said he had many questions and would prefer to discuss but perhaps it was better to let it be. Initially I said I was open to discussing it but then in an hour I started to have anxiety about this far away discussion. I was triggered. So I let him know I can’t. He said, that is why he said to let it be.

I am great with courage, need to learn a bit more about self-preservation too. Haha.

Now that I think about it, I did have courage to say no soon enough. Next time, I have to be better at standing up for my constraints and not let my mind do a number on me by making me do something it thinks I “should” be able to do.

Always a tough lesson to learn, isn’t it?