Yesterday morning, my friend chanted with me in alliance from Melbourne. I felt so exhausted that I was 40 minutes late to the one hour long session. Without begrudging or berating me, she chanted and I could feel her daimoku lifting me out and bringing me in front of the Gohonzon to chant. I feel deep gratitude for her support and daimoku. Her kind gesture reminded me that I could extend this same kindness to others.
First I started with looking for other members I could chant in the morning with. People were ok to chant, but I felt something was lacking. I reached out to my cousin Diya in Florida that I introduced to the practice a few years ago, who has been undergoing deep struggle and hasn’t been able to really get into chanting. With time zones offering a short common time slot, I offered her to chant with her in alliance. Meanwhile I also realised I had another person I could ask in California, my sister’s close friend – Swarn.
This morning I chanted while Swarn was on the other end of a phone call for half an hour. She probably listened to Gongyo for the first time. She was so open and embracing. Chanting with her was a real joy.
Diya couldn’t join in until much later and I missed her message. I continued to send her my daimoku and gratitude and I hope we can break through it tomorrow!
I realised that I wasn’t supporting them by asking to chant with them. They were supporting me. It was the only reason for me to get out of bed at 6.30 am! For the last few weeks, I had a prayer to be able to chant with another member everyday and now I find a creative way to accomplish this feat! Yay!!!
Much too tired to write for the last couple of days. But I wanted to share this from my study today:
My life hinging on every word.
Update an hour later-
I found myself at unease and unrest after doing this study. Almost as though reading this made me weak just as I read it.
An hour later I could step away from it and realise how it was devilish functions at work again. My negative voice telling me that “oh you’re never going to be strong. You are never going to win. You’re so weak, unhappy and such a failure.”
It’s amazing how Nichiren reminds us again and again how devilish functions will come in confusing forms, sometimes subtly and sometimes with force. You have to have strong life force and high life state to recognize them for what they are.
I’m glad I could see it and now I can use my faith to walk past my negativity and show it the door.
Also realised how my uncle has endured a deep struggle throughout his life. It would break most. In his case it turned to anger but I’m kind of intrigued and inspired that it didn’t apparently manifest as self deprecation. And how he could continue to love and respect many when his own life would have been so testing.
Strength doesn’t have only one form. It isn’t binary. It is not a river you cross and reach the other side. It is a constant battle with varying demons. Even if you win over some of them, you are strong. Each win is the springboard for the next. Keep adding to your strength my lovelies!
On Sunday afternoon, I met with a woman from a pole fitness class for coffee. I’d struck up a conversation with her after the first class and after the second class we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet for coffee. I expressed how it was lonely and isolated and I was looking to make friends in the area. She told me that I can message her anytime.
She texted me later to organise to meet on Sunday.
It was my most profound dialogue in a long long time. It was so enriching and interesting to meet someone else trying to live true to their convictions and live life based on strong faith.
We talked about our faith-based practices and daily challenges in how our respective trauma can be so hard to get past. It is almost like, when you’ve undergone trauma, your mind and body doesn’t know that you are drowning and how taking a breath of air would feel and to try to swim towards it. It is only our faith that continues to give us the push and courage to seek it.
My friend Saiyad is coming out of a domestic violence situation. Her mother tries to control her and her husband controlled her so much that he wouldn’t even let her pray. Yet, she had the courage to leave all of that to find herself. She said that her psychologist asked her if she was suicidal and she said, “No way, that it is prohibited in my religion. I am a woman of strong faith. This life belongs to Allah and I have no right to take it away.”
I spoke to her about how a broken relationship, a relationship before which I didn’t know I was lovable, left me broken. It snapped my connection with myself and then my health suffered and I am still learning how to connect with myself and Daimoku is the only way I have found to do that.
She nodded and said, there are words in Quran that say, a woman is delicate.