Thursday, October 12, 2006

More on Creating Value

Following my previous post, Karen asked these questions: "Would you be able to expand a bit on some of the things you mentioned from the conference? Specifically how do you start detoxifying your life? How do you recognize the things that are holding you back? And how do you create value in your life every day?"

I'll give you some background and then answer the last question Karen posed. I'll come back to the others a little later.

Let me begin with the points from our HQ day that were covered that made me think:
Yas, the UK young men's leader, covered this month's study from the Ghosho (a book of the writings of Nichiren Daishonen). The letter we were studying pertained specifically to attaining Buddhahood and it went on to describe how difficult it was to do. He spoke about how easy it is to give up and walk away from all we have learned and begun to transform in our lives because of self doubt. In Nichiren Buddhism, this self doubt/low self esteem is referred to as The Devil King of the Sixth Heaven. And he's a mean one. He is the embodiment of the fundamental darkness within us - our fears, our doubts, our hatred, our desire for vengeance, our envy... all these things.

Next, we had another leader, Cathy, share with us her experience of hearing a lecture by Dr Lawrence Carter Sr, Dean of Morehouse College. Lawrence Carter was with Martin Luther King all the way. He supported him in his endeavours and was with him at the forefront of the civil rights movement in America. She related to us Dr Carter's fondness for Nichiren Buddhists and how they have worked to create a more peaceful society. The SGI movement (the lay arm of Nichiren Buddhism), together with Dr Carter, has put up a travelling exhibition titled Gandhi King Ikeda, celebrating the efforts of these three men in creating a peaceful and tolerant society.

Now, the points from this meeting that really pushed my feelings towards value creation came from Cathy's talk. What Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Daisaku Ikeda have in common is how they live being the change they wish to see in society. Their efforts have been to create value in society by unlocking the hidden potential in others so that they can institute change within themselves and society.

And, it was Gandhi who said that we should become the change that we wish to see. And that particular seed is what took root inside me and inspired me to decide to create value with my life every day.

How do you create value in your life every day?

For anyone, the basic premise would be the same. Get up each morning with the intention to create value, live your potential and do your best. One of Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements is: Always do your best. He points out that this varies from day to day according to health and circumstances. Some days it will be easier and some days this will be the hardest thing you do. However, set this as your intention.

For me, it's standing up. Standing up for myself and speaking my truth and not judging others for what they believe. Standing up to the negative behaviours and attitudes within myself and challenging that behaviour in others. It means not resting on my laurels and not putting myself down. It means living my talents and living my practice as a Buddhist. It means that I give my full attention to people when they talk to me. I walk away from situations that are harmful and negative. It means encouraging people who need lifting, but not giving myself over to their negative emotions nor losing myself in drama. It means rising to the challenge of living authentically and helping others to see their authentic selves. It means acknowledging my true potential, forgiving myself and others. Every day has meaning and purpose. Regardless of how shitty or how amazing I feel, I strive with each day to always do my best.

So the place to start is with yourself. Just as you are, in the here and now. The first step to take is acceptance of who you are, how your choices have brought you the life you are living now and accepting that you have the ability to change anything within your life. There is no place for recriminations or guilt. If the past has been painful, simply observe how your actions have brought you to the present. Don't judge. Observe and accept.

After acceptance, forgive. Forgiveness is the key to your freedom. I read somewhere that not forgiving someone is like being imprisoned with the person who wronged you day after day and forgetting that you have the key to unlock the door. Forgiveness is not for the person who wronged you. Forgiveness sets YOU free by you setting someone else free. That energy wasted on hurt and revenge and anger is wasted energy. Why not channel that energy into your own life in a positive way? The benefits are enormous, as I have seen in my own life. This process is as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. However, make it nonetheless.

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