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

Continue reading “How to Set Goals to Pray for?”

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.

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.

Continue reading “Moving Mountains”

The Obstacle of Illness

Since I came back from India last month, after my grandmother’s passing, it has been a struggle to find my energy and rhythm. I responded to this challenge by creating causes in faith. I have been going to all the SGI meetings in my group and at the centre, I even met with members in my interstate work travel last month. I knew that the practice is the only way I can find my way back to life and even if not, to continue to create value out of whatever was happening to me and inside of me. If I were to think about it, it didn’t even come from a place of what I can contribute but rather from a place of how I can engage with my life through faith and perhaps find some joy.

I signed up to participate in a dance performance for a big meeting next month and this has been a great joy. However, last week, I fell really sick after my dance practice.

Continue reading “The Obstacle of Illness”

Choice – Part 2

As I was reflecting on my earlier post Choice yesterday, I considered how I could get better at recognising when I’m sinking into a negativity pattern, blocking my innate wisdom or Buddha nature.

Here’s a few warning signs and antidotes:

  • When I’ve fixated on a goal and all my prayers are about that one problem or thing I want to change. I’ve made that the centre of my life, my object of devotion rather than the Gohonzon. Antidotes – seek personal guidance, start chanting about someone else that I care about but don’t chase after, go to study meetings, training courses as per availability, chant more consistently and abundantly in the morning.
  • I feel stuck in the options available to me. This is usually a symptom of me being stuck in risk averse, catastrophe avoidance rather than a creative mindset. Antidote: Remind myself my lack of choices is only my perception, not the reality. Set myself an ambitious goal for kosen rufu and pursue it wholeheartedly through faith, practice and study. Chant abundantly in the morning. Remind myself that practising is not about avoiding difficulties, also not about struggle for the sake of struggle. Focus on creating actual proof for the sake of kosen rufu.
  • Trying to map the future path and scenarios, strategizing, not being open to the options shown to me. Trying to match my life to my expectation of what it should be, blocking my engagement with the present moment. Antidote: Write a prayer about my goal and chant each day with that thing at the back of my mind acting as fuel to chant but not taking over all my prayers or my life. Pray for an option to open up somehow that enables me to expand my contribution to life and kosen rufu with my prayer getting answered.

Ok time to get some precious 💤.

Goodnight you all!

Choice

My friend wrote this post today – What is my choice. It got me thinking about choices. What I thought about my choices, why I made them, how they shaped my life and so on.

When I thought back to a time in my life where I didn’t have choices, I wondered why that was. E.g. when I started working in my first job back in 2004 and stayed with my uncle that I didn’t want to.

Or the time when I made the choice to rebel against the status quo because I refused to define my life by cultural expectations or norms and allowed myself the freedom to be, I realised that eventually my rebellion had taken away my choice to learn and explore myself and what I wanted. Instead I had started living my life by what I didn’t want. It was a choice too, albeit a narrow one.

I also thought about how I have the choice to practice the religion of my choice, without my family disowning me or the legal system penalising me.

In that sense, the more I reflected on it, the more I was sure that being able to choose is a privilege. That I am already on the side of privilege when I have choices. However, it isn’t quite as straightforward. Why did I refuse to exercise the choices I had in a moment, for example, when I chose to stay in an unfulfilling relationship for even a minute, let alone months or years? Why did I choose to stay with my flatmate when it was clearly not working out for me?

Continue reading “Choice”

Rising from the Ashes

In some sense I live the life of the mythical Phoenix. In my severe menstrual issues, I’m one person for a couple of weeks of the cycle and someone else for the rest. Then there’s the exhaustion and pain in the first half so you could say I get about ten good days in every cycle. Plus the length of each cycle could vary because the hormonal issues make it unpredictable too.

From ovulation until my period, I feel like I’m slowly sinking and then drowning. I’ve always had this. I can’t remember a time since I started having a period that this didn’t happen. Oh wait, right there was the time I was on the pill and while I suffered from wild side effects, I realised for the first time that I’m not an angry person. For that, I am grateful. At least I got to see a glimpse of an alternate me that was still me. Unfortunately, that didn’t last, the pill contributed to too many problems. It’s so strange they don’t tell you how badly it can alter your gut and actually make things so much worse when you go off it.

On Saturday I did everything right, I got enough sleep the night before, I went for a walk, I socialised, ate well. I struggled. I had trouble processing questions, stringing words together. I met with a friend – that’s brave of me- I have many a broken friendships attributed to my severe premenstrual symptoms. PMDD as it’s called.

Turns out one of the big causes is low serotonin, that’s made in the gut and regulates the gut too. The other cause is weak oxytocin receptors. Literally these mean, I’m trapped in not feeling love and joy. The thread tying these together is traumatic childhood experiences that lead to dysfunctional development of the neurobiology causing lifelong problems.

I can’t change my childhood or anything in the past. I can only make a determination in the present moment and keep renewing in each moment. And then from the phenomena of 3000 realms of a single moment of life, this starts to transform my life and reality.

This determination and redetermination is a constant struggle. Battle against how things are inside of me and developing a deep conviction for my life and the purpose of my existence.

In the Gosho study lecture I went to today, the leader said (and I paraphrase)

Karma is misunderstood. It is usually described as the description of your current reality. However, in our practice, Karma is our tendency.

When we have changed our tendency, we have changed our karma. And this manifests in a change in our reality in our life.

So simple and so profound. It is so hard to change my tendencies. It is so hard to know what’s to keep, what’s to change. It’s so hard to solve this problem using my brain, impossible when I’m underwater in the dark ocean struggling to breathe.

When I realised the difficulty, complexity and impossibility of this challenge today, I went into despair. Realising yesterday’s depression caused despair today. Realising the struggle of the last 3 weeks, caused fear of the future, of my next cycle. Sometimes I want to undergo a hysterectomy but then I worry what if I come out stuck in my depressed state not my happy state. Who knows which one is the real me.

I was deadlocked.

Then I messaged my best friend in the practice, who I know has more than an inkling of what it feels like. Her care, while traveling overseas with a small baby to see her in-laws started to shift my life. Her simple words of, yes, this is so unbelievably hard, remind me to acknowledge the depth of my struggle. Reminding myself of the depth, I realise that this is not a struggle that is forever sinking. The fact that I deadlocked and hit rock bottom today means I’ve reached the turning point.

That turning point is my determination. For me to appreciate and contribute no matter what. For me to respect my life no matter what. For now, I will do my citizenship test next week and then if I need to take time off, I will. My friend reminded me to not strategize. I have the Gohonzon, the wish granting jewel. I don’t need to give up one thing in life to get the other. That’s the bit President Ikeda said about having a lofty prayer.

This led me to chanting which further led to this determination.

The fight continues.

Choosing what I want for my life

About six months ago, I read the Gosho and it’s study lecture – “Happiness in This World”, available freely here.

It took many times of reading it on hopeless days when I was suffering so much and in tears, not knowing how to transform my situation – alone, injured, in love with a man who didn’t have courage to be with me, living with a flatmate who wouldn’t even say hello or make eye contact with me, working in an office space having no natural light, feeling cut off from light, literally. There would be days I would go to the office and read the print of this page a few times before I could even get myself to do any work or be around people.

This morning while chanting in alliance with my friend in Melbourne brought me closer to the truth of this teaching.

Continue reading “Choosing what I want for my life”

Nine Realisations of my Power

Today has been a day of many realisations that for now would have to be in a bulleted list because I want to get to sleep, yet not lose this sweet victorious moment.

  1. What’s happening in my life doesn’t matter as long as I am happy within. What brings that happiness within me is connection with myself and others. What brings that connection in my life is kosen rufu – the whole package – chanting, faith, study, engaging with others and striving to go to meetings/host meetings. Ultimately I could be like the happy 50 year old single ultrasound technician who has a cat and lives in a two bedroom apartment in a suburb alone – it really does not matter what is on the outside. I can strive to create happiness in whichever way, whatever takes me and motivates me to sit in front of the Gohonzon and chant.
  2. My realisations will evolve as I grow and the decisions I take will change. This is ok. It’s the journey of my growth and human revolution.
  3. True friendship is my greatest benefit in faith, including learning to befriend myself. Continue reading “Nine Realisations of my Power”