Look Backwards, To Move Forward

Looking Backwards, To Move ForwardThere are situations and challenges in life, when the almost overwhelming tendency is to look inwards, to examine repeatedly, the reasons and causes that have brought us to this point in time.

We may have certain regrets about things we did, or indeed didn’t do, but the fact of the matter is that the past is set in stone.

Of course, making sense of situations, and the events that brought them about, can be very useful if we are to avoid making repeated mistakes or errors of judgement. But a continuous process of navel gazing is never going to get us back out into the big wide world. Imagine what you would miss, if you were to sit and stare at your hands, neatly folded in your lap, every time you went on a train, a plane, or a car journey.

So whilst we must take care to learn from the lessons in life. We must also look forward to using those lessons as we move forward towards a brighter and happier future, buoyed by the knowledge that we are better prepared to meet whatever we might encounter around the next exciting corner.

Writing Nice Letters To Ourselves?

Creating Our Own DestinyThe law of cause and effect, action and reaction, applies to everything in life and forms the basis of our Karma.

The results of all the causes we have made in this, and previous lives, is precisely why we are where we are today.

The more good causes we create, generally speaking, the more good effects we see, and the happier we are with our lives.

Dora, in the book The Buddha, Geoff and Me, explains that Karma is a bit like letters we write to ourselves. Many of those letters were written so long ago, that we have forgotten all about them.

The nice letters are lovely surprises when they arrive. Nasty ones come as a bit of a shock, they may annoy us and we might even write another nasty one in response. Of course, in time, those responses get delivered too, so the cycle can repeat itself, time after time.

That is, of course, until you understand the way the process works. Once you realise that you create the causes, you can create causes for nice, or good effects, rather than going round and round forever.

I cannot imagine a more important lesson to learn, to know that your Karma, and hence your future, is determined by you? It is the most empowering feeling, to take control of your life and to have your destiny in your own hands.

Looking Back, To Move Forward

Looking Backwards, To Move ForwardThere are situations and challenges in life, when the almost overwhelming tendency is to look inwards, to examine repeatedly, the reasons and causes that have brought us to this point in time.

We may have certain regrets about things we did, or indeed didn’t do, but the fact of the matter is that the past is set in stone.

Of course, making sense of situations, and the events that brought them about, can be very useful if we are to avoid making repeated mistakes or errors of judgement. But a continuous process of navel gazing is never going to get us back out into the big wide world. Imagine what you would miss, if you were to sit and stare at your hands, neatly folded in your lap, every time you went on a train, a plane, or a car journey.

So whilst we must take care to learn from the lessons in life. We must also look forward to using those lessons as we move forward towards a brighter and happier future, buoyed by the knowledge that we are better prepared to meet whatever we might encounter around the next exciting corner.

In Other People’s Shoes

In Other People’s ShoesSo the HCRV diet is going rather well. I’m hoping to get over to Thailand next summer for the inaugural Thai Fruit Festival, but situations may not conspire to make that possible. Never the less, I am trying to make the causes to see it through to fruition.

I have to be careful, however, not to evangelise about the diet too much, even though the benefits are incredible.

It’s easy to sit here, in the quiet of my living room, and pontificate about eating a vegan diet, when I only have myself to consider. Being able to do so real life family situations is so different from the theory, but it does give you a really good measure of how much you want to make the change.

When you read some of the topics on my blog, and think ‘I could never be like that’ or ‘I would like to give that a try, but I just can’t see it working for me’ remember that I’m only human too, and that even though I do try my very hardest to practice what I preach, it doesn’t work all the time.

The trick, if that’s what you would like to call it, is not to give up completely just because you have a slip up. Learn from the slip, in this case seeing things from another’s viewpoint, and be determined to try harder next time. You will get there in the end.

Look And Learn

Look And LearnI love the way this poem beautifully encapsulates the stages of learning, and the long, long road to enlightenment …

  1. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost… I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. ~~~~

  2. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. ~~~~

  3. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit My eyes are open; I know where I am; It is my fault. I get out immediately. ~~~~

  4. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. ~~~~

  5. I walk down another street.
~ Portia Nelson

Life is a series of lessons. As our wisdom increases, we learn more and more from each lesson. Be heartened by your progress, do not be down-hearted by the mistakes you make, they are a sure sign that you are living life to the full.

Are You Writing Nice Letters?

Creating Our Own DestinyThe law of cause and effect, action and reaction, applies to everything in life and forms the basis of our Karma.

The results of all the causes we have made in this, and previous lives, is precisely why we are where we are today.

The more good causes we create, generally speaking, the more good effects we see, and the happier we are with our lives.

Dora, in the book The Buddha, Geoff and Me, explains that Karma is a bit like letters we write to ourselves. Many of those letters were written so long ago, that we have forgotten all about them.

The nice letters are lovely surprises when they arrive. Nasty ones come as a bit of a shock, they may annoy us and we might even write another nasty one in response. Of course, in time, those responses get delivered too, so the cycle may repeat itself, time after time.

That is, of course, until you understand the way the process works. Once you realise that you create the causes, you can create causes for nice, or good effects, rather than going round and round forever.

I cannot imagine a more important lesson to learn, to know that your Karma, and hence your future, is determined by you? It is the most empowering feeling, to take control of your life and to have your destiny in your own hands.

Class Dismissed

Class DismissedWhen I sit down to write my blog, I try to relate to the circumstances surrounding a particular lesson I have learned that day.

Quite often a post has been rattling around in my head for hours, and it is simply my role to mould it into some form that might be more easily understandable to others.

However, I find that the lesson for today is, that there is not necessarily a lesson to be learned. Of course the day has been filled with the micro challenges of work, family, relationships, just the stuff of life, but there hasn’t been a focus on anything particular.

If anything has come out of today, it has been the realisation that some of the lessons of the past have actually been learned and the effect of that really does make a difference when I meet the situation again. And that has to be a good sign, another step along the path.

A Book To Change The World

A Book To Change The WorldI know, I know, I know, I keep banging on about Edward Canfor-Dumas’ The Buddha, Geoff and Me. I must have read it half a dozen times and listened to the podcasts twenty or thirty times at least. But having recently given a copy to a friend, I am thoroughly enjoying hearing the positive feedback about the book.

It’s not just a really good story, written beautifully, in convenient bite sized chapters, it covers pretty much every aspect of Nichiren Buddhism at least once. I love hearing about my good friends, Ed, Geoff, Dora and Piers weaving their way through the story, the ups, the downs and every time I hear or read it, I take in a little bit more.

I truly believe that the book should be a compulsory read for every school kid, and every parent and adult too actually. It’s a modern classic, in my opinion, and could change the whole world given the chance. It changed my life, and it might just change yours.

It’s not for everyone, my mom doesn’t like the ‘modern’ language and I must admit that there’s a bit too much to take it all in with a single read, but I implore you, listen to one chapter and give it a chance. Chapter seven is my favourite, but that’s just me.

Ultimate Respect

The Lotus SutraThe Lotus Sutra, which explains that all people can attain Buddhahood and that all people are Buddhas, embodies a spirit of supreme respect for human beings.

By contrast, those teachings and ideas that seek to turn people into objects to be exploited, embody ultimate disrespect for human beings.

Such disrespect is an expression of fundamental darkness. On the level of the individual, practising the Lotus Sutra means confronting the fundamental darkness in one’s own life.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

And The Lesson Today Is …

Today's LessonWhen I sit down to write my blog, I try to relate the circumstances surrounding a particular lesson I have learned that day. Quite often the post has been rattling around in my head and it is my job to just put it into some kind of format for general consumption.

However, the lesson for today is that there is not necessarily a lesson to be learned. Of course the day has been filled with the micro challenges of work, family, relationships, just the stuff of life, but there hasn’t been a focus on anything particular.

If anything has come out of today, it has been the realisation that some of the lessons of the past have actually been learned and the effect of that really does make a difference when I meet the situation again. And that has to be a good sign, another step along the path.

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