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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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.

Recognising and Overcoming Fear

Yesterday, I shared some of my sensitive life experience in public, including my history of long term childhood abuse. Afterwards, I shared the video or text of my experience with a few friends in faith in other cities. They read or watched the experience and were very inspired.

They asked me if it was ok for them to share the experience with others. I said no. When I was chanting this morning, I realised that I had put limitations on myself again. For my mind, sharing the experience in a big meeting was meaningful and enough. Outside that perceived safe space, my mind told me I didn’t need to open myself up. I realised I was again acting upon my fear and deep-rooted shame.

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Moving Mountains

Today was a gigantic mammoth magnificent milestone in my practice. I got up on the stage and shared my experience with 400 people. I shared about my abuse and almost open sourced this information. It is no longer privileged and secret information. I can no longer keep track of or control who knows about it. This information has been set free in the wild and in turn I’ve set myself free.

When I was asked to share my experience, I was going to share the same experience as what I sent to the Indigo magazine. However, my leader nudged me slightly and when I chanted I realised I was missing a huge opportunity. How many times in my life would I have the opportunity to share two unique experiences within a span of a month! Usually the experiences from the meeting are published in the magazine, not the other way around.

As I started to chant to write this experience, I realised it has to be very powerful and courageous. More so than the experience I had already shared. My leaders advised me of the differences between written and spoken experiences, how having too much detail is hard for people to follow in 10 minutes. I still didn’t know what the content would be, just that it would be about my work.

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Hypersensitivity to Rejection

This morning I went to see my psychologist for my weekly Neurofeedback appointment. Last week I had requested her for receipts on my email which she had sent to me. However, today she printed one out. When I asked her for an electronic one, she said she couldn’t as she is working late today. It turned out sending it electronically was too hard for her and she wasn’t good at saying no.

As I understood this, I bid her farewell with the usual pleasantries and she did the same.

However, for hours afterwards, I just could not put this incident out of my mind. I kept replaying and analysing this exchange in my mind. I beat myself up for not seeing the obvious that she did not want to do electronic receipts. I blamed her for not being upfront about her constraints and being a bit snarky and terse.

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Return from Hiatus and Win!

Since I wrote this post, my life has been insanely busy. Everything was devoted to making the utmost effort for my interviews, chanting, engaging with others and going to Buddhist meetings. I struggled so much that I needed all this to keep fighting my tendencies and put in my greatest effort. The more effort I put to contribute to others, the more I found I could do towards my life and prep. Strange how this works.

It was as though this period has been one of deep learning and understanding about myself and my life. This understanding in turn has led to a deep inner transformation and awareness in my life.

After being bullied at work for the last 4 years, I have finally started to find my voice again. I am learning to better identify and speak up when I find something offensive. I am learning to set boundaries and stand up for myself. I am learning to be more in charge of how I want to respond, rather than reacting to someone’s disrespectful behaviour.

It’s like finding myself again, only a new improved version.

Oh and in other news, I got the dream job. Still waiting for everything to be finalised before I can put a stamp on it. But almost there!