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!

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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.

Strength – constant struggle

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!

❤ again!

Allowing myself to live

Two weeks ago, I got handed a “crazy” diet plan to work around my food allergies, sensitivities and tendency to develop new sensitivities.

Broadly, I have a narrow set of foods to choose from and I can only eat each of them only 1 or 2 times a week. It’s been rough to manage. Two weeks ago, I sought guidance from SGIA General Director and really my focus has been learning to embrace and accept my physical constraints.  This is what is need to do to look after my physical self so I can contribute to kosen rufu, my larger purpose, so I can accumulate treasures of the heart i.e. strength of character to cultivate a state of absolute happiness in my life.

I was told, while I am wishing for the situation to be different from what it is, I am looking for the Mystic law outside of myself and that is not the correct practice. On the contrary, when I fully embrace myself and my situation, I will start to find wisdom to best deal with it so I can still contribute to kosen rufu and to happiness for myself and others.

When I started writing this post, I had to actually check the calendar to really believe that it has been only two weeks of this crazy regime. In a way it feels like forever. Last week was full of sleepless nights, with me needing time to wind down, do my health appointments and cook and clean-up each day. My good friend in Sydney suggested I find domestic help again and helped me post an ad on Gumtree. She prayed for me too.

Miraculously, I got only one response.

Continue reading “Allowing myself to live”