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Without Having Cried, You Cannot Genuinely Laugh

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I remember lying in bed awake in the middle of the night when I was still in elementary school. I couldn’t fall asleep, and I kept thinking to myself, Why me? Why me? This was so many years ago I don’t remember why I was thinking that particular question to myself, over and over again, but I still have the memory. I’ve read in a Buddhist teaching that people are the consciousness of the universe. I wonder if this is true?

I’m sure the question, Why me? occurs to many people when they are faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in their lives. The challenge for us is to discover the answer. It all comes down to our own unique mission in life. As SGI President Daisaku states:

Without having cried, you cannot genuinely laugh; without having suffered, you cannot savor real joy. I’m sure there are times when, in the midst of some difficulty, you think, “Why me?” But that in fact is your chance to fulfill the mission you have chosen. The deeper your suffering, the greater your mission.

– The New Human Revolution, vol. 17, p. 83

For us, as Nichiren Buddhists (and for everyone who choses to believe so), we are all born with a mission that only we can fulfill – a mission that we chose. Our problems and sufferings help us to discover what our unique mission is, a mission that we might never have understood without our life’s challenges. When I think of my own experiences over the past several years, with the mafia and the nameless, faceless voices, I haven’t always recognized that these challenges were mine to conquer, and mine alone. I’ve often waited and hoped for someone or some group of people to come along and put an end to things, and while this seems reasonable given the circumstances, it isn’t the right attitude. We must never rely on others to solve our problems for us.

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For me, I’ve had to become a much stronger person in order to stand up for myself and for what I believe in. The constant and continuous stalking, mocking, harassment and insults never fails to get on my nerves, to say the least. Yet over the years, I’ve developed many creative, healthy, and positive methods to keep my mind off what I hear and what I know is going on. This is one of my biggest benefits of challenging my circumstances, rather than giving up.

My husband and I work out every chance we get, I’ve become a much better writer and have self-published my first memoir. I’ve taken wonderful pictures of all the wildlife I see along the bay, I’ve joined a women’s soccer league and have met some great women – the list goes on. I’ve also developed closer relationships with my family members, and have become more self-confident and courageous.

All these great things in my life never would have happened if I hadn’t had such a difficult time with these insane people over the years. Personally, I believe there is a much more profound reason for my circumstances, but I hesitate to speculate on it at this particular point in time. That is part of Buddhist wisdom. Nothing is coincidence, and everything happens for a reason.

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