Monday, September 30, 2013

Happier Because of Difficulties.

Just as the pure white lotus flower blooms unsoiled in muddy water, our lives, which are supremely noble, can continue to shine even amid life's harshest realities. -- Daisaku Ikeda 

My cousins, my father, me and my brother.
This week, as I was cleaning up my desktop, I found an old experience I wrote for a Buddhist meeting in 2006, and here is an excerpt:

…Every single day was a struggle and many times I fantasized about running away and not coming back.  At night, I cried myself to sleep, so tired, frustrated and worried about our future.  I was also very angry and resentful and felt like my life was being placed on hold…When I received guidance, my senior in faith told me to chant to get benefit out of my struggles since I could not leave them.  She also stated that my life is not made of separate compartments and that everything, including overcoming family struggles, is all towards the greater goal for building a happier, peaceful society.

Although my father passed away more than 3 years ago, I am still processing the experience of being his caregiver during the last years of his life.  It was a wonderful, life-changing experience, but initially very painful.  Feeling sorry for my father, I used to wonder why he had to suffer so much.  I also felt sorry for myself because this was not the life I had imagined I would be living.  After chanting and receiving guidance from a Buddhist senior, I realized that feeling pity does very little to improve one’s life outcome. Therefore, I decided to utilize my father’s suffering as the impetus for his happiness and for my personal growth.  Through this transformation, I experienced a richer, genuine kind of happiness.  Best of all, my father and I became much closer.

My wise Buddhist friend helped me to see that I can become happier, not in spite of, but BECAUSE of my difficulties.  Just like the lotus flower, my life had blossomed out of the murkiness of daily life.