Very recently, I had a rather profound conversation with a man I don’t physically know. He is another mind in the blogosphere. Some people are so easy to connect to and you instinctively know your lives were meant to cross. There is so much we can learn from others if we stop trying to only get our point across and learn to listen. I’m not sure without looking what country he lives in, but our ability to talk about this reality called life, is rare. Be honest when taking responsibility for your life instead of blaming the bad things on external reasons, or saying, “God must have wanted this to happen. It’s his plan for me.”
This man told me what he was doing with his own life. It was something I had never thought to do. Not like this. He said, “Go back and talk to your younger self and forgive her for the mistakes she made. Tell her you love her and you understand.” So the other day, while chanting, which anyone else could do using any way their faith dictates or even with no faith at all, using any means that helps give them with clarity. I sat down in the chair in front of the scroll of my Gohonzon to chant, already understanding the outcome will be difficult to deal with.
I have been through decades of illness and surgeries and ongoing pain because my younger self stuck needles in her arm to get high and contracted the virus Hep C. This wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary at that time, but would it have made a difference to me if it was? I didn’t know then why I said yes to drugs. I know the answer now. It was a cause made somewhere in my long existence and the effect came forth at the time it was meant to. I blindly followed the intended course. My younger self had no power over that karma the same way all karma affects the lives of others.
Some people have been taught, God pulls the puppet strings of their lives, but I never believed that. It made no sense. Not understanding why things happen doesn’t mean it was done by an outside source. It just means I don’t have the wisdom to understand it. Karma is the exact same thing as the lesson taught that reads, “You reap what you sow.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it. It is just as real as gravity. If you jump out of a plane you will fall to the earth whether you want to or not. We create what happens to us – and we repeat it until we learn the lesson it is teaching.
Unless you were born with an illness, ALL illness has a starting point that most people could have changed had they not done something to create it or perhaps allowing harmful things into their bodies that shouldn’t be there.
As I began chanting, relaxing myself with the deep breathing necessary to chant nam myoho renge kyo, I had a talk with my younger self at age 19. My 62 year old self, broken, stapled and screwed back together, gazed at a young girl the age my grandchildren are this day. They don’t know the word consequence any better than I did and think the only time that matters is this very moment.
I can so clearly remember a day, standing on the porch of someone’s house, looking out into a sunny day while watching people and cars move about in the course of their day. I thought to myself, I couldn’t see a time in the knowable future where I wouldn’t be sticking a needle into my bruised arm. These people didn’t know what they were missing. I hadn’t reached the point where the drug was needed to bring me up to normalcy. Forget getting high. I was using up my future life’s energy.
This younger me was so young, so perfect in her youth with her entire life ahead of her, and I cried. I sat there with my head bowed and tears flowed down my cheeks. I whispered to her, “I am so sorry. I’m sorry what my lack of wisdom did to you.”
“I understand now why you did it, but it took me a long time to learn the answers. Why you needed to become this other person who felt better about herself when shooting speed – I understand.” I continued, “You needed the false confidence it gave you to make friends. I understand being near people made you afraid. I understand how you felt you had no value, so why would anyone else think you had value and want to be near you? Why would anyone want to be your friend? I understand you couldn’t give these feelings a voice. When you are high you feel you have worth. You have not learned yet how to achieve the understanding of how much value you really have – without the drugs.”
As I write these words I look at my left hand. I am grasping my thumb in a tight first. It is what I have always done when I needed to hold and comfort myself; reassure I am really here.
Because of this; because of the mountains you will have to learn to climb that gives you the understanding of how powerful you really are, the me you see before you now has learned things I never would learned without the life you have yet to live.
Without this struggle I would be a different person. I am sorry about the decades of pain you will have to suffer through, that I have already lived. But you will be okay. Through this you will help many people and become a woman who matters – all because of what you learned to teach. I want to thank you for being the soul – the body I inhabited during birth. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else. You don’t know these things yet and I wish I could help you along the way, but understand I love you and I’ll be waiting until you get here. Just know, you will live through this.
I am proud of you, so proud, because you will learn the value of your life and you live it, in spite of what others think. You will reach and fall and pick yourself up no matter how many times life tries to knock you down. You will dust yourself off and re-determine you are stronger than the rock that knocked you off balance. You won’t hide. You won’t quit because you still breathe. This is the effect of the cause that made you an addict so long ago. This is the lesson it was trying to teach you. You will never repeat it again.
I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. People who I thought loved her – loved me – yet resented who I became, because the truth of who this young girl grew to be, became too hard for them to look at and see the truth. So be it. It’s easier to be hateful than to look at why you hate. It’s easier to pretend she doesn’t matter than to face your own insecurities. I expected too much from people who had no capacity to show and accept responsibility for their actions. How could I expect them to understand mine?
I had no strength to explain to my younger self what was to come, some pain is deeper than the physical. But she will learn that in time. That is a pain I see no end to. It is something to bear in later years. Everyone has pain they have to lock away to survive.
My mother had a stroke. If you are fortunate enough to have one or both of your parents, you know some time in the near future, if they are elderly, time is going to rear it’s ugly head and you will witness the decline and disappearance of someone who may have been your rock your entire life.
In April of this year, my 83 year old mother had a stroke in the early hours of the morning. When she woke and found she couldn’t move and panicked. She slipped off the bed to the floor. After a couple hours she inched her way to the phone cord and pull it down from the table and call 911.
My mother doesn’t look at herself herself as 83. As long as she was able to go outside to her beloved bright blue Honda Civic and whiz off down the road, as she did her entire life selling Tupperware, she was happy – until one day, I heard a knock on my door early one morning. The ambulance service tracked me down because they couldn’t reach me by phone and told me my mother had stroke and was in the ER.
My husband and I were at the ER as fast as I could get dressed and made the 25 minute drive. What I found resembled a broken bird. My heart crushed but I still needed to smile for her. Her life crashed that day and was she would never going to be the same woman again. I understood how much this was going to cost her. Family came together quickly. Being the middle child of three girls who are close in age, born in ’53, ’54 and ’56, I wasn’t the baby in the family and compared too often with the first born.
The oldest of her daughters lives twenty minutes away, but might as well live on Mars because she made it known long ago she didn’t want her mother in her life. My younger sister lives 2 1/2 hours away. Instead of day to day care she takes care of bill paying and the multitude of calls to set up the help she would need when she came home. and has driven here every single weekend for at least one day. I absolutely detest making calls. Stomping on the phone with a big brick would be my first thought if it woke me up.
My younger sibling came flying into the hospital room letting everyone know she was now in control. Whoa . . . excuse me . . .hello, what am I, invisible? She gave the feeling that no one but her had the capabilities of making a decision. My sister and I had not talked at all for several years because she talks on the top of issues and I talk about why an issue is important. We speak two different languages and I get angry at her complete inability to accept responsibility for the causes she made.
Initially the bossy attitude pissed me off. She had not come out to visit with our mother in at least two years, only seeing her only for a couple days when my mother drove in to her high school class luncheons. Now she comes out usually one day a week for a few hours. Before the stroke my mother would drive to her house every two months for her high school class luncheon. My sister never lived close enough for daily visits on a whim. Cutting her some slack, though, her job for years didn’t give her 2 days off in a row. She did say recently, after five months of dealing with the stroke, thinking about something I said, she admitted she did come on too strong. That was surprising. She was used to doing things herself because then she knew they were done right. That admission was not easy for her to make. It is necessary for us to be able to work together on this and I can’t always talk the way she needs to hear it. Sometimes she needs to be able to hear what I say in the words I need to say it.
My mother told me on more than occasion, no one came to visit anymore and calls were rare. Her granddaughter who lives nearby seldom came. Her grandson, who used to come, didn’t come anymore and seldom, if ever, called her. She also said my sister didn’t call her as often as she used to. Why? Because busy lives come with their own set of obstacles to overcome. It is not unusual for younger people to think they can visit later and sometimes later is too late. Gradually, she only saw her family during planned holiday events and that bothered her enough to talk to me. She and I visited each other often because I live close by. This is not criticism. We all have our own lives to live, and have relationships that sometimes need work. Welcome to life. Every day is a gift we give ourselves and it isn’t to be wasted.
My relationship with my mother is deeper than she had with my sisters, because of our ability to talk. I am not saying I had a better relationship – we have a different kind of closeness. She and I are also both Buddhist and speak the same language of life. We are twins born 20 years apart. The similarities are almost scary. Knowing how she thinks and understanding what is going on in her head is easy because we often think alike. Would my sister argue with that? Probably, but how can you understand when you aren’t able to discuss what is going on in your own head, let alone your mother’s head?
Mom and I talk about issues for hours and apply the Buddhist theory of the law of cause and effect to understand why our lives have become what they did. What good is it to look outside ourselves for answers if we aren’t willing to do the work to change the parts of our lives we aren’t happy with. Ignoring the bad parts does not change a thing. We reap what we sow, if you believe the Bible. Buddhism is simply the law of cause and effect.
My mother is the only one in this family who understands who I am. I learned so much from her. Having her for my mother means I did something right somewhere. I am who I am because of her. She taught me strength and courage. She taught me to grab life by the horns and run with it. She said I lived a life she wished she had a chance to live but couldn’t, because women in the 50’s weren’t supposed to reach high. What she did to add income to their household was sell Tupperware – until she retired. Growing up at this time there was a lot of Tupperware in our home on order packing day!
My sister and I never had a close relationship. No sister talks not did we do things together. She stayed close to home and I left home at eighteen and moved many times. She does not have one clue about what makes me tick and if I try to encourage her to talk in any way, she shuts down. She stuffs what she can’t deal with and pretends they don’t exist. I stuff nothing. We don’t confront life with the same set of objectives and are extreme opposites. I’m not saying I am right and she is wrong. We are different and I can’t talk to her about anything deeper than the weather. We are a dysfunctional family.
I’m afraid of my mother disappearing. Hermemory before the strokewas at the point of repeating things but there weren’t gaps of time. Now there are sizable holes that pop up when we talk about certain times in the past. I am making recordings of her memories that no one else has shown any interest in doing – except maybe later. Family thinks they are doing all they can without being too disruptive to their own lives, but what about my life? Maybe my sister doesn’t want to see and shoves reality far enough inside to be safe so she can go about her life. My house is only a block away so I understood from the beginning that her care was going to fall on me. How else could it go? We would need a few weeks to see if a routine is established that allows me to do my work. Because I don’t get a paycheck and can’t get fired, do they see what I do as less important? Do they really know what I do because my mother has told them things? Do they understand why I do the things I do? No, how could they?
In addition to the different avenues I write for, I write record improvisational piano music. No one in my family was ever interested in my music. They know I have played piano my entire life but they have never heard me play or wanted to hear it. I wrote a piece for my niece for a special occasion. She wasn’t home when I took it to her house so I left it with her husband. She never thought to say thank you until I finally asked her one day if she received it. I wanted to believe it got lost and that was why I didn’t hear back. To be given something so personal and not say anything at all was hurtful. The music piece on this post is the one I wrote for her. It is titled Graduation Day. Spending twelve hours a day behind my computer is not unusual. In addition I teach a few piano students. My life is jammed, and doesn’t take a lot much twisting to get out of rhythm.
My family believes they are doing all they can for my mother. They want to think she is going to improve and be around for an indefinite number of years. My husband said, “Go. Stay with her. She needs you.” My niece is an LPN in a nursing home caring for elderly people. She knows the odds of her ever being completely self sufficient again. Not impossible, but age works against her. She works nights and long hours and has a family. Can she do more than what she is doing?
Five months in a nursing home trying to overcome a stroke is a long time, and a big shock to her. This type of illness is something you hope will never happen to you. It took the right half of her body. It is easy to see the damage to her right arm,hand and leg, but cut a body in half and see everything inside the body, from her brain, half her throat and vocal cords down through her bowels. With a brace on her leg and a belt around her waist she can get up to a walker while I make her walk throughout the day inside her home, and do other exercises. Use it or lose it.
She needs help with everything. The love I have for my mother and the realization someday she will be gone is something I know I can never prepare myself for. This stroke made that very clear, and to lose pieces of someone is worse than if you have a cut and quickly rip off a band-aid.
Two weeks ago she finally came home and I have been by her side because she can do little by herself. They declared her independent, I think, because they knew she had family. But if I couldn’t be with her she would not be able to go home. My mother tells herself she is going to overcome this and even drive again. She needs to believe this to push through the permanent fatigue the stroke caused. But who knows? She has determination and that is the only thing that will make it work. My niece and my sister are doing all they can, they think, but they get to go on with their lives and fit my mother into their schedule when they can.
I’m going to make this paragraph as short as I can because I have already written about the liver transplant that caused me to have to move home, close to the family I thought would be there for me through this. It didn’t happen. I can’t find closure. I had no one but my husband to care for me for the two years I spent mostly in my bed. The family members I deal with today treated me as though I was an evil person out to hurt my mother, yet no one ever talked to me about why. Not one time did I receive a phone call to asking if I was still alive; before the transplant or after. It is hard for me to forget that.
This is a poem I wrote earlier and posted that says how I feel.
My sister won’t talk to me about it because she insists she didn’t do anything wrong. Her words were, “I have nothing to be sorry about.” That was damn hard to hear. Am I supposed to pretend it never happened, because I can’t. Not once has she made even the smallest effort to make it better. Doesn’t Christianity teach that we are to treat people the way we want to be treated? Buddhism teaches why we need to, because karma is a bitch. What if she ever needed me? Could I be as callous as to her as she has been to me? I don’t think I could.
The strength I need to not let the pain come out, because of what my family did to me during my illness, is sometimes more than I can control. The words “I’m sorry,”has never been said. We now see it takes three people to care for my someone. I’m just supposed to forget about that now, because it is in the past even when it is right in my face.
My sister threw in my face, “I don’t know how to be a sister, but all my friends love me.” I lost it – I absolutely lost it. Why do they love her? Maybe because she cares about them. In her stories I am sure I am the only one at fault. We are in our 60’s, isn’t it getting a little late now? I tell my mother I’m done, I will never try again. She says to me, “No you aren’t. You have to keep trying to reach her. Some day she will listen.”
This story is not unique. There are grown children caring for parents everywhere, and some of it is from a distance. These are painful times. My sister and I deal with life in a different way. It is harder for me because this “thing” between us is an infection with a light scab and I bleed when it is She is right, she didn’t physically do anything to me. The hurt is because she wasn’t there for me when I needed her and didn’t care what happened to me that created a hurt unable to heal. In the past few years not seeing her at all I could push it away. I can’t now.
My brother-n-law is a very caring person. He has sent my mother at least 160 get well cards. He has other people he sends cards to every day as well. I have known him for decades, but not one card was sent to me – by anyone in my family. Am I feeling sorry for myself?
There is a positive inside every negative. If I hadn’t needed a transplant I would never have moved home. I owned a store in Key West I loved. But could I be here now for my mom? Would she never leave the nursing home to be in her own home with her 15 year old cat? If my mother didn’t have a stroke would my sister and I never be in the situation where we have to talk to each other? She is not a mean person. Why was she mean to me? Everything happens for a reason. What we learn from these things enables us to grow as human beings. Is there a possibility to see things from the perspective of someone else?
What is the real truth of anything if you only ever listen to one side of a story? This truth can become ugly if the nature of the person is negative. This is how I became someone to be gotten rid of when I moved home. Those are the words my sister spoke to me. “I will get rid of you if it is the last thing I do,” . Tell that to a dying person of liver failure and liver cancer. it wouldn’t take much to be rid of me. Can people admit their perception might be wrong? It’s hard sometimes to admit out loud you might be wrong. For my sister, my internal pain isn’t real and she didn’t care what happened to me. “Apologize? Me? I didn’t do anything to apologize for.”
P.S. I’m not looking for sympathy, but have you ever had someone in your life that couldn’t -wouldn’t hear the truth?
It is so hard for some people to understand what is really a very easy concept. As a society we should be ashamed for the things we did in our country’s history, starting with the slaughter of the American Indian because we knew we had a right to their land. They were savages and we were a God based intelligent race. WE discovered it after all, so our wants and needs were much more important than theirs. And they attacked us for God’s sake! Savages! They deserved it. Before that they were meaningless, anyway, right?
Then we began kidnapping people from another continent to enslave them to serve white people with no remorse for the destruction of their families and their lives. We owned them. They were too stupid to be anything more than savages. So we saved them really; fed them, clothed them and gave them real houses to live in instead of grass huts. They should be grateful. After all, we shoved our godly religion down their throats so they could get saved and become peaceful God-loving people like we were.
Some people think none of this matters now because we weren’t there to see it being done, so it doesn’t involve us. So many of us think these people were supposed to forget what was done to them even as we continued to treat them as lessor humans. What did we think would happen? The fact that all lives matter was not important to anyone until black people decided to put it in everyone’s face and complain about a few lousy people being shot. It had been happening for decades and it was no big deal until cellphones became able to make videos and put it in everyone’s face.
How dare they think they are as important as white people? White people have done most of the important things in history, anyway. They should just SHUT THE FUCK UP and let us go back to watching TV shows with the importance of Jerry Springer and stay informed with the truth about current events watching FOX News. Let us white people continue to pretend our lives are way more important than anyone else’s. After all we managed to marginalize the American Indian so you hardly ever think of them anymore. No one ever says Red Lives Matter so who do these black people think they are anyway?
Besides, we are past the pine of re-training the haters and the cops to have a desired effect on the humanity of all people. What do they think? You can’t train people to change how they feel or to change their gut reaction of hatred and disrespect for people who aren’t like them – colorless except if they burn their skin in the sun.
Our only chance of surviving our history with any sense of self respect is by teaching the youth – our future leaders – to not be like so many of their ignorant parents who insist they are better than others by teaching them they are God’s chosen people. Boy, are they going to be in for a shock later when they die and realize there are a whole bunch of other people who never made it up to the Pearly Gates – if you believe that kind of stuff. They will understand then why their lives became so miserable. They learned – what goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. The law of cause and effect is very strict. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not. There is no loving personality who cares about you. It doesn’t need your belief in it to be effective. You simply will get back what you dish out and it’s too late to go back and undo it. What is done is done.
If a cop can’t even control himself to not shoot someone who is helping another person and even had his hands up, and tells the man he shot he doesn’t know why he shot him in the leg three times then, #1 the cop needs to be charged, and prosecuted according to the law meant for ALL PEOPLE, and never be allowed to possess a gun ever again. #2 Any idiot who still doesn’t understand what society in general has done to intentionally destroy the black race and pretend they have always respected the fact that ALL LIVES MATTER, should be sent off somewhere – maybe to live on an island that will soon be underwater, along with all climate change deniers, including the bought and paid for politicians who wanted to line their pockets with money from the gas and oil corporations and corrupt, greedy. That way they can’t show their idiocy to any of us anymore. Hope it was worth it. Sadly, it probably was to many of them – but hell is a very long time.
You can add comments about the music under the wave form. You can see the comment I left to show you where.
Written in support of all trans people.
I apologize for my fellow man who doesn’t understand his faults.
IN THE PASSING OF TIME
We live our years, we’re no longer young Time is passing us by Are you happy with the choices made and the person you’ve become?
Does it make you sad when you look back when you had the chance to choose but thought your life was all God’s plan You couldn’t see then what you’d lose
Your very soul when it was young loved your life like an endless dream When you look back, then look at now Did life pass by in an endless stream?
Do you justify your anger? Do you have the need to fight? Do you Feel disgust for those you judge? Did God say you had the right?
So you punch and kick God’s love at them with hate instead of love God told you this in a spiteful voice whispered from above?
Do you justify your righteous thoughts and think God will forgive? These ugly thoughts won’t stain your life Cause you happiness instead?
It’s okay to force God’s love on them, Make them feel your pain? The effects of this on your own life will come back to you again.
When it’s time for me to go, and when it’s time for you Was your life what you desired What do you wish you could undo?
Will it break your heart to think inside the love that Jesus taught had turned around inside your soul Became hate and warped your thoughts
When you were young and life before you stretched through endless years did you think you had all the time in the world to overcome your fears?
Did you think your life was planned for you so you didn’t have to change? You could hate and judge and didn’t think your God would cause you pain?
You have only yourself to blame at the very end of life when you didn’t learn the Bible taught hate would cause you strife
You haven’t learn that you will reap the effect of causes sown The words so clear on the Bible’s pages you’ll pretend you hadn’t known
You can not die with happiness With a heart intent on pain I hope the last thing on your mind is sadly… “I’ll have to live it all again”
You will not have earned the happiness in the life that is to come Forgiveness doesn’t ever change the angry, hurtful things you’ve done
All of us have to pay the price for things we do But you’ll get another chance next time
to become a better you
Sonni Quick – a Nichiren Buddhist copyright 2016
Ever since the issue came up of the state that wanted to cause even more hate in this country with the nonexistent issue of trans women molesting four year old girls in restrooms. They caused fear on an issue never before expressed. These Christians thrive on fear and hate. Because of this hate they want to force women to use restrooms based on their birth rather than who they are today and it has brought out ugliness in people that is really quite shameful.
All of the attention, especially on Facebook, with the use of posters, has used guns pointed at these women keeping watch to make sure none of “women” come into the restroom because now they are all concerned that these “men” are going to sexually molest little girls. Was that ever – at any time – an issue? Did it bother any of these people before? Has there ever been a case of a trans woman molesting little a little girl? Does being trans automatically make them a pedophile?
This extreme attention has all been directed at trans women who were born as a male. I have seen absolutely nothing about women who feel they are now supposed to be afraid of trans men. The have had testosterone. Many have grown facial hair – sometimes full beards, and definitely don’t look like women. But not woman has posted anything about these men being in the ladies room, next to them in a stall doing their business. But they DO have to be afraid of heterosexual men barging into the restroom to patrol and ask for ID’s
An important thing to consider; the hateful comments all seem to come from very hateful Christians who feel it goes against their faith – and no – I am NOT saying that all Christians are hateful – but the ones I conversed with definitely were.
Then, to mock me, they said things like, “She’s just a Muslim and can’t help herself,” also maligning, all Muslims. Exactly what did Muslims have to do with this? We have hateful Muslims and good Muslims and we definitely have hateful Christians and good Christians. How any person can think they are a good Christian who practices what it teaches in the Bible, yet can still be so hateful, is beyond comprehension. Are they practicing Christianity, or perhaps some other form of religion that is definitely not based on the lessons taught in the Bible.
I am not a Christian, but I used to be, and I have read the Bible. I don’t remember hate being taught. I do remember being taught to treat people the way I want to be treated. The Bible also teaches what will happen if you don’t. You reap what you sow; in other words, karma. The law of cause and effect. When these Christians get back what they give, in any circumstance, they will most likely cry, “I’m a victim! I don’t deserve this! They have no right to treat me this way!” But that is how you reap what you sow.
Anyone who reads what I write knows I am a long time Buddhist. I don’t shove my faith down others throats. I do not malign other religions for fun or crudeness. That would be disrespect my faith. There is good to be found in most religions. I say “most” because I don’t know about all religions. If you are following the teachings of a religion so you become a better human being and learn how to improve your life and be happy, who am I to say it is wrong? But if you use it to hurt others and to put other religions dow; be belligerent – a bully – that is another story.
If you can’t take responsibility for your life and your actions and instead use your faith as an excuse to hurt others, I’ll use my words to show you your fallacy. I have no tolerannce for hypocrites, or plastic Christians.
After reading these Facebook posts it went round and round in my brain. When I woke this morning I reached for pen and paper and wrote that poem. I included the most recent piece of music I have recorded.
I only ask, share this post with your own social media and let people know that disparaging people who are not like you is not the way any of us should behave. Being born into the wrong skin has made trans lives lives difficult enough to deal with without ignorant people slinging mud at them because they don’t approve of them, even if you think you are so perfect and think everyone loves you because you are such a wonderful person. People doing that make a mockery of their faith and everything it stands for. You get back what you dish out, so have fun when life gets you back.
I have begun a newsletter on different aspects of the prison industry as well as updates on the progress of the book. I’m looking for a reasonable cost publishing house that can also include CD’s of the piano music found athttp://soundcloud.com/sonni-quickmost of which was written for the book.Fill out the contact form to be put on the mailing list which will only go out monthly. (You won’t get bombarded like some businesses do!)
Only when we experience the crushing, painful depths of suffering can we begin to understand the true meaning of life. Precisely because we have experienced great suffering, it is imperative that we go on living. If each of you uses your sadness as a source of growth, you will become a person of great depth. This is the harvest of your pain and suffering.
Daisaku Ikeda SGI
Everyone experiences pain and suffering. When we don’t understand it we tend to blame others or we think what happens isn’t our fault. We don’t want our unhappiness to be our fault. But when we don’t accept that we have made the causes for our life to be the way it is, because of causes we made in the past, then we don’t learn and grow and most likely repeat the same mistakes over and over.
Some of want to think a higher life form wants us to have the problems we have and this being wants to test us. It would be so easy to do that, but it also keeps us from growing as we wait for something else to change our problems so we can become happy. If you look deeply at your life to see if indeed you are happy, and find that your problems really haven’t changed it might give you cause to wonder why.
Your faith, whatever it is, should make you happy. It should enable you to change the things about yourself that make you unhappy. It’s not about what happens when you die – it’s about your life while you live. When I see people hurting each other, passing judgment on people not like themselves and exuding so much hate; while telling the world how much faith they have. I have to wonder, faith in what? What kind of faith is it that says it is okay to be so hateful?
I read posters that say, “God is love” and other wonderful platitudes, but I don’t see love in this country where people try to insist they live in a Christian nation. Really? Look at the political headlines on any given day and read about our Christian leaders and say, “This is love?” I don’t think so.
Each person, depending on how they were raised, and what they were taught, has an opinion about what happens when we die. There are also those who think nothing happens. We live, we die, and that’s it. We believe what we do, because it is what we want to believe happens. To adhere to the teachings of our religion we find ways to justify our belief. If we were raised in a different religion we would be adamant that those teachings would also be the truth. Which one is right? You have to study other religions to find out. Many people – actually most people – never take a serious look at what a different faith has to teach, except to try to find ways to prove it to be false by comparing it to their own beliefs. But if you looked at it objectively you would find many similarities, perhaps only explaining it a different way. It’s important to remember, whatever you believe, it began with a human being’s interpretation of phenomena that later was interpreted again and again, while trying to make sense of life and death. Bottom line, people are afraid of dying. They “get religion” at the end, just in case.
Years ago there was a man in my life who was a staunch atheist. That was fine with me. I was agnostic. I didn’t know and at the time I didn’t care. I left the Christian religion years before because I didn’t see anyone applying the teachings to his life to become a better person. It didn’t mean anything to anyone. People went to church because that is what everyone did. If they didn’t go, other people would ask questions. So everyone had their social time together, but it didn’t affect their own personal growth. I guess Jesus “saved” them, although that terminology didn’t exist back then. Not one time growing up, and I was in the church almost every day for one reason or another and I never heard the words uttered “Jesus saved . .” So that must have started recently in the last 30-40 years. They were going to heaven. They didn’t need to work on changing themselves.
27 years ago my mother stopped going to church. She had learned about Nichiren Buddhism. She now had the answers to questions her pastors over the years couldn’t give her. The answers that made sense. She’s almost 83 now. She attributes still being alive because she learned HOW to live her life and how she could overcome her problems without asking an entity to do it for her. She knows that who she is now, in these last years of her life still determine the Spring of her rebirth. Every day she prays for wisdom and patience. She is so alive.
The atheist I lived with was later diagnosed with cancer. The closer he came to dying, he abandoned his atheism and turned to God – just in case. He was afraid of dying. If he hadn’t been sick he would still be an atheist. It was his choice, of course, if it gave him comfort, but it doesn’t make it real. God didn’t save him. He still died. Good or bad, no matter what happens, people always say, “It was the Lords will.” No it wasn’t. He had cancer. Did God give him cancer so he could die? No. God didn’t give me Hep C so I needed a liver transplant, either. I did that to myself with drugs 40 years ago. Now my Hep C is gone. Did God do that? No. Was it the Lord’s will? No. It was mine. I asked my doctors for the meds. God had nothing to do with anything.
Apparently Ted Cruz’s father thinks differently. These next pictures show abuse of religion in politics with the determination of deliberately swaying the Christian vote. This is swaying people’s thoughts that only a Christian is fit to be a president even though there are multiple faiths practiced. Is this what Christianity teaches? Does professing to be Christian automatically make him more fit than someone who isn’t a Christian? Do politicians have to convince people they are Christian even if they aren’t or they won’t get elected. You would never see a Buddhist using his faith for political gain. “I’m a Buddhist, elect me.”
I could never go back to Christianity. I tried to once, in my early 20’s. For two years I tried every day to make God the center of my life. I tried so hard to develop a relationship with him. I tried to feel the love. I studied. I went to church. I was “saved”. Two years later I realized it made absolutely no difference in my life at all. So I just stopped one day and that made no difference, either. There was no proof that my faith changed anything in my life. What was I believing in? I realized there were too many unbelievable things I had to make myself believe were true that went against reason. I might as well go to a ouiji board for answers about life and death.
Ten years later I started to study Nichiren Buddhism. I saw proof in my life. But just like Christianity there are many schools of thought. Different sects with different ideas that try to explain life and death. What is karma? How do our thoughts, words and actions affect our life? And what is rebirth? Where are we reborn? Who are we? Why are we who we are when we are born. Looking at our own lives, the traits we have, our talents or lack of them; are we pretty, ugly, happy, depressed, angry, rich, poor, abusive parents, aborted, sick, healthy, intelligent or stupid. Why are we who we are? Do you think it is all the luck of the draw? Do you think an entity “up there” took the time to individually pick all of the traits you ha e and he does that for every single fetus? Or does he only do that for Christian fetuses? I use fetus, because these things are inherently in us in the womb. Who decides the traits for everyone else? All those babies in this world in countries who die of starvation who never had a chance to “pick” a religion. For me, this is where believing in a thinking entity breaks down. A loving God? You wish.
I spend a lot of time contemplating these questions. I’m not quick to believe what anyone says is the truth. Even when you break it down to simple gossip, people tend to believe what people say, pass it on and add a few new twists to it. That doesn’t make it truth unless it can be proven. “Jesus loves you!” Oh yeah? Prove it. “Jesus lives!” There is no proof he ever lived, and if he did, he sure doesn’t live today and he doesn’t love you today. He may have been a good man 2000 years ago but he isn’t alive today and his spirit does not talk to you. The problem is that Christians idealize the man, when they should worship the teachings. Worshiping the man doesn’t change you into a better person. “He” can’t change you. Only you can do that by your thoughts, words and actions. You do that with the wisdom you gained through overcoming problems. That is what really affects your life. You. You make the causes. You get the effects. You reap what you sow. This is a Christian teaching that I don’t see being applied anywhere. Does a Christian think about that everyday in all they do? Because that creates your karma and you will get back what you dish out. In Buddhism, “you reap what you sow” is the primary, most important thing to learn. “The law of cause and effect.” Have you applied that to your life today or are you waiting for God to make things happen. It doesn’t matter what you believe. You will reap exactly what you sow. Your life doesn’t happen because God decided it should happen. Your life happens the way you caused it to happen.
THE BUDDHIST SUTRAS WERE WRITTEN BY ONE MAN
The Bible was written by many men interpreting what they knew. They wrote about karma. These writings were removed. Political leaders needed to manipulate the masses, the same way they do today. https://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/2043/ You can read it everyday in the news; which presidential candidate is the best Christian, they claim, to get the Christian vote? Do you think the are really Christians who value the lessons taught? I don’t. Their kind of Christian is scary.
Many of the teachings of Christianity and Buddhism are the same, although Buddhism doesn’t just tell you the teachings, it explains why it’s important and also explains the effects if you don’t learn it, but still, the message is the same. The difference lies in what happens when you die if you didn’t change the negativity in your life and have positive results. Maybe you ran from your problems instead. Maybe you blamed your problems on someone our something else. Maybe you didn’t learn you problems our become a better person. You’ll have to do it over until you get it right. Christians should want to have Christlike behavior. Buddhists want Buddhahood. It’s the same thing.
I am NOT saying that Christians should become Buddhists. But I am saying you should look internally to break through your problems instead of asking something outside yourself to plan and execute your life. All life – ALL LIFE – goes through the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death – THEN – birth. The cycle of seasons goes from Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – then – Spring. Never does the cycle change. If all life goes through this cycle, why would our life be different? That is common sense. We don’t die and go to heaven to be judged and hopefully go to a paradise or hell. We die and the causes we made in this lifetime will be the judge as to how our life will be when we go through the next cycle. WE determine our own lives by our actions. Heaven and hell is something we live determined by what we do. It isn’t some place we go to after we die. Life is eternal and we either learn the lessons our life has put in front of us, depending on the causes we made, or we don’t learn it and have to repeat it. God can’t change your life, or make you well, or get you that job you need. Only you can do that. Something outside of yourself isn’t there. It is your own power inside yourself that changes your life.
Today, our ability to reason far surpasses the capabilities of man in the past. They understood so little. It HAD to seem mysterious to them. Two thousand years have passed. It is an extremely short period of time when compared to the hundreds of thousands of years man has walked the earth. In the last two thousand years, the teachings of all religions continued to change and have new interpretations by different people. People conclude these interpretations are the truth, never looking to see if they actually make sense, in lui of our ability to understand things today. Instead, the more unbelievable the stories are, the more they are believed, because that in itself makes it more mysterious. God formed man out of clay, but Abel went off and married? To whom? A virgin birth with God as the dad? Believing in an all knowing, loving, but vengeful, very egotistical God, that “wants” you to suffer to teach you lessons, doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want to believe that, except that was what you were taught – what came to you in a very long, often changed, line of gossip. Use your brain. Step back.
Think for yourself. Why do you believe what you believe? Because you were told, or because you studied and compared what you learned. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. It’s your life.
Why can’t the world hear my crying?
Tears for all the years that passed
seeing dreams that never last.
beyond the time you can see
and when you open up your eyes
the dream has passed
It’s now too late
to dream that dream again
my heart is torn it can not mend.
My dreams are dying
and I’m crying
for all I have that’s left is pain
I lost it all with none to gain
I look in the mirror, I see myself
hoping to see where the years have gone
I made the cause, I was so young
Sharp turns to the left
that way was wrong.
tears fall, say please
as they stream down your face.
a longing look at the piano keys
I wrap my arms around my knees,
Crying tears of loss
Crying tears of pain
No one takes a step across
No one ever takes the time
No one ever looks to find
No one feels the pain inside
And no one cares about the tears I cried.
This poem was written in 2012 around the time of my liver transplant when no one took the time to hear me. I didn’t want to die, and I didn’t want to fully realize I was walking a very fine line. I still had things to. I wasn’t yet done living. I had been in a state of denial for many years. I still am. I was determined to live – to learn everything my body needed to live. I succeeded for a long time until the year I turned 54. It all came crashing down like a delicate house of cards made from one card too many.
I found the poem today when I was cleaning my desk, looking for one last book of blank checks. Some wounds are deep and they are almost impossible to heal. They go round and round in your head until you want to scream to drown out the noise. That is when I often choose to write. All through my life I have put my words on paper or music. I have also written many journals through multiple decades. I think it was a way to not lose myself; to not disappear- a need to keep me solid to prove I was here. A hundred years from now my descendants can still know who I was today.
I had know for years that the number 54 was going to mean something to me. I know this is going to sound strange, but I thought of it again when I recently wrote to someone who said she was 54. I was born in 1954. My father died when he was 54. He died from liver failure from alcohol. His body swelled with fluid until he looked 9 months pregnant. His father died, too, when he was 54. His body filled with fluid and it went over his heart and he drowned.
When I was 54 my body swelled with fluid and I had my first attack of ascites. I was in end stage liver disease and my body was shutting down. The week before I felt fine, but my legs were swelling and I was getting very think around the middle. The women who ran my doctor’s front office wouldn’t let me make an appointment with him because I had just been in, but after getting very angry they scheduled me with a part time doctor in the office who told me I was constipated and go do an enema. It got worse. I crashed my doctors office and demanded to see him. His jaw dropped. After he got done yelling at his office staff he gave me meds to take the water out. It worked but he told me later he was scared for me. Next thing to do? Pack up, leave key West and go get on the liver transplant list.
At the age of 54 I should have died. Without the advance of medicine I would have been gone. Many times, on this blog I have talked about karma – cause and effect. We carry karma with us. It is passed down through the generations. From the time I was in my 20’s I always thought that any year I lived after 54 would be a gift. I don’t even know why I thought that. My father was still alive. I just knew. The doctors at the hospital worked hard to keep me alive as long as they could, because I also had to battle liver cancer. Finally, 2 years past the age of 54 a liver came available that matched what I needed. Not all livers work for all people and more people die waiting for a liver for that reason. The doctors said I came as close as possible to death without dying. That is an eye opener.
But still, even now, I have to push through the damage it had done, and every day I tell myself I can do it. I can dream. I can still do things. I can start new chapters in my life. I’m off and running. I still have a few sharp turns to the left in me. I beat the karma. I’m 61 now and next July 2nd I will have my fourth birthday. Date of transplant. I’m a kid again. It will take a lot more than this to keep me down!