I have been doing more thinking and more reading about many things — the nature of life – and why we have the experiences we do have. Why do I have a loving marriage while many of my friends do not? Why do we have two children who are both safe and doing well in this environment where so many African American children are not? Why am I a member of SGI-USA while so many other people practice different religions? Why do I have MS?
According to my Buddhist practice, in the long-distant past, we each agreed to tackle the particular set of circumstances we have encountered in this lifetime in order to demonstrate the power of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. I often joke that I must have been either sleeping or partying when the challenges were distributed and I was left to select from a limited list of options. My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, often encourages us about handling difficulties. In one writing he shares, “Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.”
In a past blog entry, I shared my father’s advice about difficulties – “Defeat only occurs when you accept it as a reality and stop trying.” I am very fortunate to have both him and Daisaku Ikeda in my life to inspire me when things get tough. When I am in a good space, my experience of MS has kept me focused on moving forward, and working to encourage others. Lately, the input from my new functional medicine doctor continues to be positive, and my nutrition journey continues (3 months and counting!).
Recently I have had a major realization about my challenges/problems. Like a bolt of lightening, it occurred to me that my problems are the door through which I must walk to have the experiences/lessons that I need to learn/have in this life. My challenges DO have a purpose, and I am determined to face everything with hope-filled courage, and to remember that challenging MS (one of my problems in this lifetime!) is one way that I can encourage and inspire myself and others too.