I got up very early this morning. John left for work, and I got out of bed to take our new puppy for a walk. I named her Savannah. We took her with us today to my therapy appointment in Los Altos. She spent most of the car ride relaxing on my brother-in-law’s lap. Now she is sleeping next to me.
I’ve been focusing on my new goals for the past few days. I really want to be stable enough to focus on my writing, and start earning a steady income. I am often discouraged by my voices, although I am doing better than last summer and fall. I read an encouraging article about a man in France who was trying to decide whether or not to buy a new house. SGI President Ikeda gave him the following advice: You should make a pledge to carry out kosen-rufu (world peace) for the sake of the happiness and prosperity of the people of France and chant wholeheartedly for that. When you pray based on this type of pledge or vow, the Buddha nature within your own life will open up and raise your life-condition to such a degree that you can even move the universe. When that happens, you will be able to realize your wish to buy a house without fail.
I like to think that my own life has the strength and power to move the universe! Wow! How wonderful it is! I decided to pray to fulfill my vow as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, and contribute to kosen-rufu with my writing. I am focusing on my blog, commercial writing, and my memoir. I hope that I can contribute to kosen-rufu with everything that I write.
I chanted for an hour this morning. I focused on the new goals I typed up yesterday. Occasionally my mind wanders when I chant, but usually I am able refocus my prayers. I was chanting not to hear voices anymore, and for my stable mental health. I’m focusing and concentrating better than I was over last summer, but there are times when I still get distracted. If I continue to be stable mentally, and do not allow myself to be influenced by any negative voices, I will have a great 2012.
Today’s quote in my Daily Encouragement reads: We practice this Buddhism to make our prayers and dreams come true and to achieve the greatest possible happiness. The purpose of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is to enable us to realize victory. The fact that our prayers are answered proves the correctness of this teaching.
I find this quote very encouraging. I know that I can realize victory in my own life with my Buddhist practice. I’ve been practicing this Buddhism since I was in high school, and I’ve always believed it to be very profound. I’ve always believed in its teachings. I struggle with my faith when I don’t think that my prayers have been answered. When I was 20, I made a goal to work for the United Nations. I finished college, went to graduate school, and moved to Washington, DC with the intent of finding work in the field of international development. I lived in DC for 3 years, but never found work in that field or for the U.N. Eventually I came back to California.
I found another quote that said, when our prayers aren’t answered, it is a manifestation of the Buddha’s wisdom. I found encouragement in this quote because it means there is a reason why our prayers are not always answered. Even if we do not immediately know what the reason is, we may have a better understanding of the experience later in life.
At the end of the day yesterday I typed up a new list of goals for 2012 to put on my altar. They include my mental health goals (managing the voices), financial goals (earning a steady income with commercial writing), and relationship goals so that my husband and I have a happy marriage. If I write my goals down and put them on my altar, I focus better when I am chanting, and my prayers are more concrete. Mulling over my goals and dreams in my head doesn’t accomplish anything, and they only end up becoming more vague over time. Writing things down takes my thoughts and ideas out of my head, and puts them on paper where they are real. In Buddhism, we are encouraged to be specific with our prayers. This can be hard sometimes, especially when we aren’t sure what we want. This year, I have written more specific goals for myself. I believe that I will be able to accomplish my goals.
The New Year is finally here! Happy 2012! I’m getting back into my routine after the holidays and visits with family and friends. We were happy to celebrate Christmas with almost everyone on John’s side of the family. His brother’s family drove up from L.A. He hasn’t been here in 4 years! I called my mom and dad, and both my brothers on Christmas and New Year’s, so we had a little phone celebration. We used FaceTime on Christmas, so we could all see each other too!
I chanted an hour this morning, and am going to set new, more specific goals for 2012. I have health goals, financial goals, and relationship goals, although I haven’t written them down yet. I want my mental health to continue to improve. As long as I continue to ignore any voices I hear, and not let them affect or influence me, I will be fine. I’m also planning to ask my psychiatrist about reducing my medication next month when I have my appointment. I still tend to worry quite a bit, and occasionally shut down when I get angry, but I am continuing to work on this. I talked to my therapist about this yesterday, and I told her that instead of getting mad and shutting down, I talked to John about what I was thinking, and why I was upset. I didn’t want the same thing that happened in Estes Park, to happen again. This time, we didn’t get into an argument, although I still need to work on my communication skills quite a bit.
I found another Buddhist quote that I liked last night while I was writing in my journal. It reads: Human revolution is the process of changing our way of life by manifesting our Buddha nature – all people have this highest state of life within them. One’s human revolution concerns the total reality of life. It is fundamentally an invisible reformation taking place within and behind our consciousness. In other words, it concerns our ways of thinking, our judgment and both our physical and spiritual strength. In discussing The New Human Revolution, SGI President Ikeda said: “Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed that the ‘power of the spirit’ is stronger than any atomic bomb. To transform this century of war into a century of peace, we must cultivate the limitless inherent power of human life. This is the ‘human revolution,’ and it will be the theme that flows consistently throughout the novel”.
I read a Reuters news article posted online a few hours ago stating that a November U.N. report shows that Iran has sought to build an atomic bomb. In an effort to stop Iran from building an atomic bomb, the article states that the European Union agreed to an embargo on Iranian crude oil, and that new U.S. financial sanctions, if imposed fully, would make it all but impossible for many refineries around the world to pay for Iranian crude oil. It’s reassuring to know that the U.S. and other countries are working hard to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb. Gandhi’s statement that the power of the spirit is stronger than any atomic bomb might seem foolish or blindly optimistic, but I believe that the human spirit, and each of our lives has limitless power. Our lives do have more power than an atomic bomb. All we need to do is tap into and use the spiritual power of our lives to create peace, rather than war.
I woke up early this morning, and chanted for an hour. Afterward, I went with John’s parents and his brother to a Catholic mass in Morgan Hill. I said a silent prayer for John’s sister who died last summer. I also said a silent prayer for John and both of our families. I read a message from President and Michelle Obama earlier today. At the end of the message, Michelle Obama encourages us to spend the holidays with our friends and family. I liked her message, and I think the holidays are a great time to get together with family. My parents and brothers will be together in DC, while my husband John and I will be here in Gilroy with his family. The last Christmas I spent with my family was 3 years ago. We met at my brother’s house in Jackson Hole. It was a great Christmas with tons and tons of snow. We went hiking, snowmobiling, and swimming in Granite Creek Hot Springs while it was snowing!
My husband and I are hoping that my mom and dad, and maybe even both of my brothers will visit us next year after we move into our new home in Sunnyvale. We’ll finally have a guest room! We’re looking forward to moving next spring, and inviting over our friends and family to visit. We’ll also have an office so that I can work on my writing from home! If I can continue to ignore the voices, and not allow myself to be influenced by them, I think everything will go well for us. Happy Holidays!