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. 😀

Neurofeedback – day 1

I found a treatment that had good results for traumatised individuals having physical health issues. Today was my first session.

Usually people feel exhausted after it, I feel a surge of energy and joy.

I’m so stoked.

What a wonderful victorious day. I’m determined to overcome all my health issues.

Funny how I’ve made so much progress in the last two months of chanting towards one million daimoku.

Daimoku is the basis of everything. Not an after thought, but the starting point of everything.

Sensei said somewhere, “Chant in every spare minute”.

In my busy life it can often be difficult to find a spare minute. Unless I take the action to chant first, then go about my busy life.

Thank you to sensei and SGI for letting me find the light of Hope in my life and my heart.

❤️

Victorious Day!

Today has turned out to be a fabulous day. I want to chronicle it here and in my memory for the next time I doubt or question the infinite potential of my Buddha nature and my practice’s ability to bring it forth within my life.

I woke up at 5.30 am, while it was still dark.

Usually this is a herculean and impossible task for me, I even avoid catching morning flights for this reason. In the past, if I had a morning flight, I would even find it hard to function through the day. I got some training to do this last year amidst my frequent work travel.

I showered and sat to chant at 6.30 am.

Usually this is another impossible task. I can’t get myself going unless I chant, I would also find hundred reasons to neither shower nor chant. Not today though.

I chanted for one hour.

Initially I felt very sleepy and tired. I judged how I was chanting. At about the half hour mark, I felt only one daimoku carrying me through to the next. It was chanting in the state of Flow. Then my leader joined me in chanting and the alliance kept me going. At some point I realised I need to start heating my breakfast while chanting if I want to make my train, so I did that without judgement. This is really working to quiet down the voice of my inner devil/negativity/fundamental darkness – whatever you want to call it.

I was 7 minutes early to catch my train. My train got delayed by over 10 minutes and I started chanting in my heart in the train. Any delays could’ve been catastrophic to my tight schedule. I made it to the doctor’s right at 9 am. I was calm and relaxed.

This is not my usual state when I am delayed. I almost went out of the wrong exit from the train station but had the good sense to correct myself quickly as I realised which I direction I was meant to go in. Usually this kind of events would make me a wreck.

When I saw the doctor, and recounted my story of how I got the appointment within 24 hours, she said that strangely nobody wanted this appointment slot – not even anybody on their appointment cancellation waiting list. It was as though the appointment was meant for me.

In my life, I have not been at the receiving end of such syncronicity often before starting the practice. I was the person who if on the road, whether driving or going as a passenger would meet all red signals. This is a 360 degree turnaround brought forth by the mystic law.

The doctor’s appointment was really good. In the morning, I chanted for the doctor to know what to ask me and not rely on my poor recollection of things. Mystically, the doctor was focussed on getting useful information in the hour. She would cut me off or navigate the information to extract what she needed to know and defer the other details to later. At the end of my appointment, she arrived at the answer I thought was the right one. When she made an incorrect conclusion, I was able to assert for myself and advocate for myself rather than think that she knows better.

Usually my doctor’s appointments can be long winded where nothing useful comes out of them. This is a refreshing change. I also could change my usual view of thinking that the doctor knows best or not being able to know what to say and how to assert myself.

At the end of the appointment, the doctor recommended a path which has long been my belief is the right path. She asked to see me for a follow-up before she prescribes any treatment. She promised to get me in soon in the next few weeks as soon as someone cancels.

I did not hesitate in declaring that I will be available for whatever time slot that becomes free. That I will make the time. Usually I would go in fear mode, would want to check with my manager or my calendar. Today I just said, these are the dates I am away, other than that I will make everything else work.

This afternoon I got a call from them already and have a follow-up appointment next Wednesday. I blocked my calendar on top of a client meeting, emailed my manager and my team informing and explaining honestly.

Usually I would be knotted up in anxiety thinking, only I won’t ever get the follow-up on time. In this case, I was confident I will get the follow-up asap. I was confident in how I presented what I needed to my team and offered all the assistance in working around it.

I respected the dignity of my life. Fearlessly.

Such a refreshing change from thinking and behaving as though I don’t deserve to have space to look after myself that my work would do me a favour if they let me see the doctor and from believing I don’t deserve to exist.

I have changed my karma today.

Life is responding back.

And I passed the Citizenship test as the cherry on the cake!

Fighting is starting to turn into victory…

Now to continue fighting for the victory of my friend who has similar health struggles but hasn’t found the right answer for her. I trust in her Buddha nature to lead her to the right answer for her. I am determined that she will recover too somehow.

We will win together!

As Sensei says:

“When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success.

https://www.ikedaquotes.org/attitude/attitude104?quotes_start=14

Also:

“The commitment to the happiness of all people is at the heart of Buddhism. But it is through the relationship of mentor and disciple, through life-to-life connections, one person’s aspiration igniting another’s, that this ideal is brought out of the realm of abstract theory and made a reality in people’s lives.”

https://www.sgi.org/about-us/buddhist-concepts/the-oneness-of-mentor-and-disciple.htm

The commitment to the happiness of all people is at the heart of Buddhism. But it is through the relationship of mentor and disciple, through life-to-life connections, one person’s aspiration igniting another’s, that this ideal is brought out of the realm of abstract theory and made a reality in people’s lives.

https://www.sgi.org/about-us/buddhist-concepts/the-oneness-of-mentor-and-disciple.html

Time to live and embody the spirit of my mentor.

Thank you Sensei.

Health Journey

Shakyamuni using similes and parables inspired me this morning to try to describe my symptoms in this way. Over the last few years of seeing Chinese Medicine Doctors who always focus on my symptoms to treat me and inevitably go down the wrong path often, prompted me to think about how I can explain to them what is happening to me that perhaps makes it easier to understand or imagine.

Here’s what I wrote:

This is me a week after my period – Imagine that I am flying an aeroplane over the mountains. My mind is the aeroplane engine. The aeroplane is out of fuel and the engine keeps stopping. I use my will power to somehow use gravity to navigate to avoid crashing into the mountains right underneath the plane

Continue reading “Health Journey”

Hope for Health

Yesterday I went to a Buddhist training course. The training courses usually have a format where you break into small groups and discuss based on study or some questions. It ends up being quite an organic discussion process. When I started practising, I used to find this format quite unnerving. I enjoyed lectures more and it wasn’t my style to share my life with people. In my view, I was there to learn, I didn’t see how that should relate to me sharing about my struggles.

Over time and with chanting and study, I realised that this stemmed from a deep sense of unworthiness about my own life. Inherently I felt that, I did not deserve to occupy space. That nobody wanted to hear what I have to say and that my words were not worthy and my experiences did not matter. In the last training course, I met a member who has now become a dear friend. Speaking to her made me realise the significance of my struggle. All my life suddenly seemed to make sense, that I was preparing and training to accumulate life experience to be able to encourage her through my continued struggle to win over my negativity.

Yesterday, I was the first one to jump up to share my view of the study when they asked for volunteers. So unusual for me. Usually I am a reluctant or fugitive ‘voluntold’ rather than an enthusiastic volunteer. I still fought through my negative mind mocking me for wanting attention or limelight.

Anyway, I digress. In my group study and discussion, I talked briefly about my continued struggle with health problems and how sometimes it becomes a masochistic practice where I feel my practice is significant because I am struggling. Another member mentioned how he had digestive problems for ten years but continued to pray with determination to overcome it. After ten year he found a doctor who fixed his problems. I asked for his doctor’s details. He advised me that she is very good and usually very busy that when I call her, I could expect a 3 month wait and can get on the appointment cancellation waiting list.

Continue reading “Hope for Health”

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.

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Finding Freedom

Since last year one of my prayers has been to be able to live a life of true freedom. The last few years of my life have been very shackled because of my health condition. It has been like walking a tightrope – making sure I have food to eat according to the diet and I’m managing everything within the limited energy constraints. There’s been the stress management aspect where I get so stressed that I eat the wrong things or binge eat on the right things, either way it’s been really harmful. Also, not being able to accept the reality of my dietary restrictions, the fatigue I could accept eventually primarily because I didn’t even have energy to fight it but also because I just ate to cope with it.

There was a time of my life wherein I ate a big bag of sweet potato chips every single day, sometimes two. I never kept them at home, because I wanted to be stronger. Instead I would walk across the street, even in rainy and freezing whether, sometime before the supermarket closed at 10 pm to get my fix. Every day I would try to get by without them and every day I couldn’t. They were my only trusted reliable companion.

When I look back at that, I’ve come a long way. Even having one day without the chips would be called progress I think.

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What is dignity?

This morning I had a meeting with people in a different time zone so we had to start at 9 am. My team lead and I were going to join this meeting. I again couldn’t get to bed until 1 am yesterday. I tried to wake up early and got out of bed early enough but felt really unwell. I struggled to let myself look after my health. I’ve realised I put a lot of pressure on myself regarding what I should be able to do to be “good enough”. Notice how doing relates to being good enough, although there’s no “doing” in “being” good enough.

My achievement-driven upbringing and the society we live in has left my inner self confused in that it mistakes value for dignity.

Continue reading “What is dignity?”

Getting past self-pity when struggling with health issues

Turns out, it’s not always an easy exercise to find what inside of me needs releasing today and has crystallised enough to find way into reasonably coherent words here, and I use “reasonably” loosely. (Wonder how to add emoji to posts, do any of of you know how?)

I had a fairly busy day, still catching up on meal prep, laundry and work. It is a great blessing to work from home once a week these days. Hope I find a reasonable rhythm before things change.

The last couple of years of knee and foot injuries and accidents have left me with very weak legs that are also out of balance. My right leg is significantly weaker than the left. Lately I have been trying to do some exercise prescribed by my osteopath but that’s causing pain in the arch of my foot and very tight and sore achiles tendon. Blah blah blah.

As I write this post, I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban playing in the background. Those movies are therapeutic for me, I can tune in and tune out, it facilitates my writing. Believe me I tried many other TV shows and movies but there is none I am so deeply familiar that I can tune in and out and relax into my creativity.

Dementors are the embodiment of fundamental darkness or the devil king of sixth heaven. They represent how something can suck all joy and life and purpose out of our lives and only very strong positive light and force from within us can defeat it. Brilliant representation, isn’t it?

Anyhow, I digress. Over the last many years of seeing several medical professionals has provided me with this ability to observe and describe my symptoms. At first, when I used to see my TCM doctor every week for acupuncture, I did not know what to say. I was so disconnected with the experience in my body that I did not know what was happening to me and how to describe it. Slowly I developed this awareness of myself. This by all means is a good thing. Connection is better than disconnection.

The next stage to this is though, trusting that what is out of balance can find balance on its own and helping that process along. For the most part, I haven’t found this within my being and my consciousness yet. Some days I have it but when I am struggling with pain or physical discomfort, it becomes harder to think positive thoughts and send healing messages to my body.

And in this difficulty and pain, I find myself questioning – why me, why is this happening to me, when would it stop. I find it hard to discern and balance the line between self-pity and self-compassion.

Continue reading “Getting past self-pity when struggling with health issues”