I went for my first day of volunteer tutoring this morning. It was great. A really good experience. I met the 2nd grade boy I was paired up with, and he was very bright and enthusiastic, also a little nervous. I was a little nervous myself, but I think we’ll do well together. The site coordinator was friendly and helpful, and there were a couple of other tutors there with me. One said she had been tutoring with the program at a different school for three years, and the other said it was his first time. I have been teaching and tutoring for the past six years or so, but this is my first experience as a volunteer with this particular program. I’m tutoring once a week through May, so I think that’s a manageable commitment. Hooray for reading!
During my tutoring session I was pretty focused on my student, so I wasn’t worried about the voices. Last night I told my husband that I heard a voice say, You have to be honest about it if you want other people to believe you. I told him I didn’t know what they were referring to. He said not to try to make sense of what they say. I should be ignoring them. Most of the time I can, but not always. Earlier this morning, while I was chanting, and then getting ready afterward in the bathroom, I heard them say, You should work on having more compassion. Why don’t you get rid of yourself. She’s just doing it to get back at us. Your every thought is being recorded. Sometimes it sounds as if there are different people talking at the same time, and what they are saying gets all mixed up. Other times, it’s just one voice, sometimes male, sometimes female. I thought briefly about having my thoughts recorded. One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is “thought broadcasting”, where it seems like your thoughts are being broadcast out into the environment. I can’t imagine anyone sitting around actually writing all my thoughts down. Who would spend their time doing that? No one.
I have to make sure not to get carried away or caught up in what the voices say because it leads to paranoia and pointless worry. I found another Buddhist quote yesterday in my newspaper. It reads, Doubt is the source of fundamental delusion in life; it is what Buddhism calls fundamental darkness. It gives rise to anxiety and drags us into the depths of despair. Faith, meanwhile, is the struggle against the doubt that resides within our hearts. The power to win in that struggle comes from chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The quote is referring to doubt we may have about ourselves and the existence of our own Buddha or enlightened nature, as well as the Buddha nature of others. Every day, twice a day, I chant to tap into my Buddha nature so that this enlightened part of me becomes stronger, and so that I am not discouraged by the voices or by what I hear. It takes consistent effort, but it’s definitely worth it.