Today I started writing my own “New Human Revolution” inspired by my mentor Dr Daisaku Ikeda’s writing.
This morning when I couldn’t get out of bed due to continued lack of sleep and exhaustion, lying in bed, I pondered on why I do this to myself… why I couldn’t treat myself better, why I couldn’t get my daily cooking finished in time to sleep in a timely fashion, why I overate so late the night before, why I had no control over myself, why I am still alone and still so bad at it.
I decided to allow myself to slow down and work from home in the morning. I started reading my conversation with Jai from June’18. I needed to be reminded of what I tend to do when I am shrouded by negativity, how it manifests itself and his advice on what do do about it, how this cycle of negativity continually feeds into my life and keeps me stuck in a vicious circle.
Jai was the love of my life who first made me aware at a visceral level that I am lovable. At 27 years old, I had never felt it before in a way that connected me to myself. It was an addictive feeling and I became more and more dependent on it. I had no idea then whether I could have that within me, not having someone else to keep facilitating my connection with myself. I probably still don’t have that answer but I am several thousand steps further along on that journey.
As Jai said seven years after he left me, I had only two modes – nice and belligerent. In retrospect, it sums up someone going through an “addiction”. An addict feels disconnected with herself or needs to disconnect herself from the inner unpleasantness and suffering. They seek a “substance” to connect with their inner experience without having to endure the pain of what lies within.
In my addict persona, when being nice made it more likely for me to get my fix aka love and attention from Jai, I was nice. When this didn’t work, I became belligerent – not because I thought it would help, but I thought it would get me some version of my fix. Also, being nice made me feel that I had earned his attention and not getting my reward made me angry. Outside of a relationship, this cycle manifests in my life with close friendships, food, TV – anything I can do to an excess while not being connected to myself.
This morning, I realised that I have done a lot of work to understand the what, why and historical context of what brought me here. While this has been key, it is not going to be enough to get me out of this quagmire.
As I started to apply my intellect to solve this problem, as Jai had and would deal with it, I became more anxious. Unlike him, I do not have the strong foundation of being whole within myself, nor do I have the innate ability to choose well, wisdom to discern and know what will be the thing that I can start that will lead to progress – the thing that would tip the balance in my favour.
I realised, I don’t need to know. I don’t need to follow Jai’s method. Instead I can use that insight and everything else I’ve learned over the years and chant to the Gohonzon. I need to chant to can summon forth my greatest potential and somehow overcome these unhelpful patterns.
This morning I chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with strong determination for 6 minutes. My determination was that I am willing to change and I can change – change all my unhelpful habits and patterns that keep me stuck in my negativity.
It illuminated that I have a constant background thread of self-loathing going on in my entire being.
As I wrote this post in my notebook with a pencil, I was judging how my handwriting wasn’t neat or perfect, how it has deteriorated. As I was eating lunch, I noticed how I loathed eating too slowly, too fast, not mindfully enough, eating too much, not eating enough. Nothing seemed good enough.
I can observe these thoughts and when I try to replace them with positivity, it doesn’t last. When I am giving into unhelpful negative impulses, my very smart brain finds very pointed scientific rationale to rationalize my unhelpful behaviour. This permeates my whole life, it is also the struggle with being present and mindful. The presence makes for connecting to inner suffering I don’t want to even acknowledge let alone having to confront it.
I decided to retry this approach one of my leaders suggested back in 2014. I started trying to replace my self-loathing self-talk with silent Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in my mind whenever I could catch it. I observed that when I could do this, I could take a deep breath, let go of some tension I was holding onto in my body and focus on what I was doing rather than trying to get things done over the voice of self-hatred clouding my mind.
For example – this morning it meant I could sit at the edge of my chair while chanting. You see my chair is too high, as they often are in Australia, and it means I can’t have my feet flat on the ground if I am sitting all the way back in the chair. Today instead of inner complaint and hatred and inaction, I could sit up straight and chant to the Gohonzon. I could stand a bit more upright and walk and not hate my injured knee and being out of balance.
Discernible big wins, I am here and writing this after all! This is going to be my effort for the time being. Let’s see how it plays out!