Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grateful.

Gratitude is the key to unlocking a more open and rewarding perspective on life. Feelings of appreciation are always accompanied by the elevation of one's state of life and the broadening of one's perspective. And, the more our life expands, the more profound our sense of gratitude becomes, to the point where we can feel appreciation even for the problems we face in life. -- Daisaku Ikeda

Awhile back when I was a caregiver for my father, I noticed that some people would show their support by sympathizing with my plight. “Oh, it must be so hard for you.” “I’m sorry that you have to endure this.” “How horrible that your father is no longer able to walk nor care for himself.” “You look tired, you poor thing!”

Alternatively, others congratulated me for encountering struggles, and encouraged me to win over my obstacles. Initially, I wanted sympathy and felt comforted by those who felt sorry for me. As I overcame my internal challenges, I found that sympathetic remarks, though well meaning, hindered my growth. In my weakness, I sought a “cushion” to protect me from reality, but I came to realize that the idea of security is an illusion. The truly compassionate were those who were strict and urged me to plow through my difficulties. Furthermore, those who criticized me turned out to be my “best friends” because their words aroused my determination to create a happier life for my family. Likewise, Nichiren states, "...it is not one's allies but one's powerful enemies who assist one's progress ('The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,' WND-1, 770)."  

My little ones!
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for my husband, my mom, my late father, my feline “babies,” my friends, Sensei, my Buddhist practice, health, and an opportunity to further my education. I am especially grateful for the hardships I’ve had as a caregiver: the lonely, sleepless nights; uncertainty of my father’s health; family conflict; financial hardships. I’m most appreciative, however, to those who shunned me and accused me of being an uncaring daughter. Believe it or not, the harshness of some peoples’ attitudes became nourishment for spiritual growth.

"The struggles we face might range from the apparently mundane (summoning the energy to take out the trash or to write a letter to a relative) to the vast (campaigning to ban nuclear weapons), but the essential challenge is the same. It is to overcome our own weakness, fear or inertia in a given moment and take action for the sake of the happiness of ourselves and others (SGI Quarterly, July 2006)." With this sentiment, I am sincerely grateful to you for visiting my blog. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoy every moment!

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