So, I’m a Nichiren Buddhist, which is probably the best thing I have going for myself currently. It’s really helping me not lose hope through this rough patch. I’m sure people of all kinds of faith will understand that. The organization SGI (Soka Gakkai International) is structured very much around the members and each individual experience. We are encouraged to share our struggles and our triumphs with one another, strengthening each other’s faith and practice. Nichiren Buddhism is not one for blind faith, really. It’s more about challenging the practice, and learning from our results and the results of others. THIS is how we grow our faith, by constantly seeing proof, and getting a better understanding of how and why it works.
Every month, each group has a discussion meeting. There will be a specific topic that the group will delve into together, we will share our favorite quotes pertaining to the topic, read related articles, and share our thoughts and feelings on it. But the real kind of meat and potatoes to these discussion meetings are the shared experiences by members. Typically one member who has recently received an inspiring benefit, or has just made an exciting cause in their life working towards a major goal, will be asked to tell their story. The human aspect of encouraging one another is massive.
I’ve been asked to speak at our meeting today. I was asked months ago, and was really hoping to have something inspirational to talk about by now. I was hoping my story would have turned around and I could talk about how I was coming out on the other side. But that’s just not the case.
Our struggles are what shape us into better human beings. And the goal of Buddhism is to be unshakably happy. That means that your circumstances do not determine your happiness. Circumstances will always change and shift, and if our happiness was dependent on them, that would mean our happiness would waver as well. To be whole and complete and to find inner peace and happiness NO MATTER WHAT is what being a Buddha is all about. The cool thing is that we are all Buddhas. Whatever you believe in or whatever religion you practice, the key to your happiness is within you. It’s YOURS. You have the power to make great changes in your life, and the greatest thing you can do is have courage, and to make the determination to be unshakably happy no matter what challenges come your way.
I know I talk a lot in my blog about not giving in to the sadness that surrounds IVF. It’s not that I’m suppressing my feelings, it’s that I am making the determination to focus on being happy instead. It’s not easy, but it benefits me immensely. When I feel sad, I allow myself to, but I try not to feed into it. I respect my emotions, but I also realize that being happy is my choice.
Human suffering is something that every person on the planet shares. People with small problems and people with big problems all experience suffering. I’ve found that the people with only the seemingly small problems actually suffer just as much as the people with large problems. Of course the people with large problems would love to trade with those that have small, superficial ones. And that just proves that our situations are subjective. If a person going through the loss of a child got to trade with someone whose biggest problem was worrying about making rent that month, they would feel light and free and HAPPY. But that person who only lives in the realm of not knowing if they will make rent, suffers. They are sad and consumed with worry and it most likely will effect other areas of their life.
I hope that makes sense. And I also hope it does not come across as though I am making light of what any of us are going through. I’m so happy to have found women to share stories with and a community of support. I hope that we can also encourage one another to find real happiness through these challenging times.
I don’t have a happy conclusion to share at my meeting today, but I have the enlightened determination to face this challenge head on and win. Let’s all be champions for ourselves.