Happiness is . . .

 

daisaku Ikeda guidance

I met a man today as I was picking up my belongings to leave physical therapy. He was on one of the bike type machines. Stationary bikes are boring. I had just finished fifteen minutes myself, determined to get my strength back, healing from an injury.

It looked like the effort of the exercise was causing him discomfort so I told him, “Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I’m climbing a mountain.” I didn’t quite hear his answer but it didn’t look as though climbing a mountain seemed very appealing to him so I said next, “How about running down a beach and listening to the waves?”

His eyes welled up with tears and he looked about to cry. “No, I never want to go to another beach.” He then poured out his pain of what happened to him and the memories he had of the beach, and how through that his life fell apart. He had moved some time ago within a half hour of a beach with his wife and children. His wife had never been to a beach and she became obsessed with it. Every day she had to go to the beach, even on Christmas.  He really wanted to have Christmas at home.  She was never home. She was always at the beach.  Eventually she left him – for a woman.

Later he met another woman. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. She did. They were happy for awhile. He didn’t know she had an old boyfriend in prison. When he got out she left him to to go back to this man. He said, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I have nothing to live for.”

I asked him,”Have you ever heard the words nam myoho renge kyo?” He had been looking down. When I said those words his eyes snapped up to mine in immediate attention. Startled. It was an unusually strong emotion for someone who had never heard the words before. But even though we don’t understand the song of birds, the birds do. Something inside him recognized what I said, even if he wasn’t conscious of it. “No, What is it?” he managed to say.

I repeated the phrase three times and he tried to say it with me without my asking him, which is unusual, especially when someone doesn’t know what it is. Why would they try to say it?

“This is the law of cause and effect,” I gave him the translation. “It doesn’t have to be like this. You are misunderstanding what happiness is. It isn’t something that completes you, that can be taken away by . Goes away. Happiness caused by things outside yourself is fleeting. That is relative happiness. What you wasn’t is absolute happiness, indestructible happiness.” With this he looked at me as though a small part of himself had found relief.

“Do you want to know more?” I gently asked him, not wanting to press too hard and scare him off. It was painful watching someone so desperately unhappy and not understanding how to change it. It takes more than wanting it or it would have been changed already. It only took the smallest kindness and a little time to show him he wasn’t invisible. I believe he felt very alone. I told him we could talk again if he wanted. He looked me in the eye and said, “I’d like that.”

The Ten Essentials Elements of dignity

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There are two lists I found recently that hit home with me in a big way.  I will soon be putting up the other list as well, which is: Ten Temptations To Violate Our Own Dignity.

Applying this discord to people in my own life; they know who they are, they perhaps might benefit from reading these lists, as no one is perfect, and hopefully do some self-reflecting about these points and understand how it might apply to them. I know I have. It never hurts to look inside our own hearts and see if we have misjudged others. It is a shame I would even have to mention this here except there is complete refusal to hear me.  One person, I know who, because it was predictable, tried to trash talk me on this blog, which of course I put into a spam file. That wasn’t a smart move.  I have total control of comments, as do all bloggers.

Sometimes people in many different situations would rather keep their misconceptions because it allows them to carry the negativity and they don’t want to take the chance of having it changed because they might then have to admit culpability. 

There is a reason for the phrase, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” Everyone knows this phrase, but doesn’t think of it until it is they who are “done unto.” I am sure I will hear or read severe repercussions for writing this; but the teacher in me never gives up, but searches for the words or the way to change negativity, whether it is to me, me to others, or on a larger scale with the work I have devoted quite a few years to changing.

There is so much anger in our world today. We can’t expect others to change without changing ourselves. When something crucial changes within us, it is reflected in our own personal environment, positive or negative. If we point the finger and say it is someone else who is wrong, be it personal, religious, race or perceived class standing, nothing changes, and if the person involved fails to take any responsibility for the part they played in causing the problem, it continues to grow. The longer time passes, the worse it gets.  It doesn’t go away until communication is established and we apply the points below to our own life.

The hate and disrespect we see around us begins with the individual.  One person can begin to change the world – unless he thinks and behaves as though he carries no blame or responsibility for the outcome.

Actually, I believe it applies to all of us, because no one is so perfect in their actions and thoughts about the people around them. They shouldn’t think they wouldn’t benefit from thinking about the way they treat people they perceive as going against what they “believe” to be true.  That belief may not be the actual truth if they insist it doesn’t apply to them, and those who think that the truth I write about my life is “bullshit”, it is because they never took the time to acknowledge any one of these ideas; therefore not important enough to apply to my life. It takes away any value in my life they didn’t feel important enough to learn.

 

What we extend to others and would like for ourselves

Donna Hicks – Weatherhead Center For International Affairs – Harvard University

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Acceptance of Identity

Approach people as neither inferior nor superior to you; give others the freedom to express their authentic selves without fear of being negatively judged; interact without prejudice or bias, accepting how race, religion, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc. are at the core of their identities. Assume they have integrity.

Recognition

Validate others for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness, and help; be generous with praise; give credit to others for their contributions, ideas and experience.

Acknowledgement

Give people their full attention by listening, hearing,validating and responding to their concerns and what they have been through.

Inclusion

make others feel that they belong at all levels of relationship (family, community, organization, nation)

Safety

Put people at ease at two levels: physically, where they feel free of bodily harm; and psychologically, where they feel free of concern about being shamed or humiliated, that they feel free so speak without retribution.

Fairness

Treat people justly, with equality, and in an evenhanded way, according to agreed upon laws and rules

Independence

Empower people to act on their own behalf so they feel in control of their lives and experience a sense of hope and possibility.

Understanding

Believe that what others think is important; give them the chance to explain their perspectives, express their points of view; actively listen in order to understand them.

Benefit of the doubt

Treat people as trustworthy; start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with indignity.

Accountability

Take responsibility for your actions; if you have violated the dignity of another, apologize; make a commitment to change hurtful behaviors.

copyright 2011 Donna Hicks

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I have only become aware of this center recently and haven’t had a chance to follow all of their links to see exactly what they do, but what I have read recently leaves me very impressed.  I wish I were able to get involved, but I think I would need another lifetime to do that!  I’d like to encourage you to take the time to follow the link at the top of the page.

 

God is Love?

 

life is an echo, you reap what you sowOnly 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.

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The Roar of a Lion

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If we meekly go through life with a begging mentality, asking whatever we think is “up there” to fix whatever problem we have, we never tap into the strength we have to change it with our own focus and determination. If we meekly accept that our problem wasn’t fixed because it was the will of some entity then you have missed the chance to learn, through your own wisdom and determination, to change something that causes you unhappiness. Having faith is not about having a wonderful place to go after you die – it is about having a wonderful life while you are alive! Have appreciation for being alive and having determination to succeed. Faith is about having the tools to change the part of your human nature that causes you to do and say the things that cause you unhappiness, so we can stop making the same causes over and over. Cause and effect – or reap what you sow is the same for everyone.

I read an article on a Christian website the other day where a supposedly religious scholar wrote that it really wasn’t important to pay attention to the phrase, “you real what you sow”, even though it is mentioned numerous times, because Jesus died for your sins.  WHAT??? You don’t have to worry about the negative causes you make???  But these are the very things that  bring unhappiness into your life that lead you to need to pray to have an outside source fix them, after you caused it to happen to your life through your actions. I will end today with this daily encouragement from Daisaku Ikeda:

“The daimoku (nam myoho renge kyo) we chant is not a weak imploring plea for something. It is a lions roar that reverberates with all of our being, and is powered by making a personal vow, setting our minds on realizing it and aligning our lives with the fundamental law of the universe. There is no force stronger or more sublime.”

“Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the roar of a lion. Therefore what illness can be an obstacle”

Don’t beg or plead or make promises if only your prayers could be answered. That is the prayer of a coward. Summon inside yourself “no doubt – at all” that your goal will be realized, regardless of the faith you believe to be true.

http://sgi-usa.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Lifetime Will Never Come Again

sgi-usa

This lifetime will never come again; it is precious and irreplaceable.  To live without regret, it is crucial for us to have a concrete purpose and continually set goals and challenges for ourselves.  It is equally important that we keep moving forward toward specific targets steadily and tenaciously, one step at a time.

Daisaku Ikeda   SGI International    http://sgi-usa.org      my mentor

Nichiren Buddhist lay organization

Daisaku Ikeda, sgi-usa, daily guidance, Nichiren buddhism
Photo credit: sgipanama.com

Dear Past, Dear Future

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This sounds good. It would be nice if we learned lessons from our past. This is one of those wishful thinking posts that sounds good but I don’t think we have learned anything at all from our past or the United States wouldn’t be in such deep shit. If there is anyone out there who has learned anything, please raise your hand so we know who you are. Granted, there are people who understand the direction this country is headed, but I promise you they aren’t saying, “Dear future, I’m ready.” They are depressed. We try to remain hopeful that somehow we will get through even one more year without imploding.

There are too many ignorant, brain-dead people that continue to push us toward self-destruction even as they watch us sink faster and faster. People vote against their own best interest. They want us to be a Christian nation. I’ll tell you this much; if America is an example of a Christian nation, and the behavior of its people is an example of the way Christians show respect to human beings, then I am really glad that I am not one. It’s depressing to watch.

The sign above should say, “Thank you for all the lessons. Maybe this year we can work on understanding one or two lessons this year, so in the future we won’t be so ignorant and self centered and learn to help people. Maybe then we’ll have a future we can be proud of. Right now it’s hard to have much hope.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

12 Quotes From An Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our World

…..This is the way it should be. When you look at what we have done to this beautiful country of America it should make you cry. If it doesn’t, there is something wrong with you. From cutting off our mountain tops, to poisoning our rivers, digging into the earth with fracking, and now they want to dig into the Grand Canyon. It shows that nothing is sacred. One day it will be gone and we’ll look around in shame. I don’t understand why it is being allowed. How can it not be stopped? As part of the human race we have lost something of ourselves that is very vital as we run around stupidly, screaming that we have a right to carry a gun, as if that is the most important thing. We will later have so many regrets, because we failed to pay attention when we had the chance to hear that our world is crying.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

peoples trust toronto

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by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution

It’s 2016, and across the globe we are seeing indigenous elders from various locations on the planet coming forward to share wisdom that is so desperately needed. All of us who live on the planet are feeling the heat as we recognize that the time for change is now, and that this window of opportunity won’t be open forever.

Not long ago, Indigenous Elders and Medicine People of North and South America came together in South Dakota to deliver a fundamental message to humanity and the Earth:

We are part of Creation, thus, if we break the laws of Creation we destroy ourselves. We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to…

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