【Our daily practice develops strength over adversity】
Although the late summer heat still remains, the scenery is starting to change to autumn colors.
How are you, everyone?
The other day, I heard a story from an acquaintanceabout the word “resiliency.”
It was a story about “strength over adversity” and “flexibility of our thinking”to rebound fromdifficulties,such as failure at the job or stressful human relationships.
When I heard that a “cutting edge psychology program to developresiliency” for people to acquire such strengthis drawing attention, I also became interested.
The American Psychological Association apparently defines resiliency as “the spiritual strengthand psychological process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trouble and significant stress”
When people face reality of life, some people are emotionally weak, some are mentally tough, some tend to give up on the problems,some persevere, some tend to be on an emotional roller coaster – swinging from joy to sorrow, and some can control their emotions. As such, people are different in various ways.
In actual life, people tend to be obsessed with their mistakes and give up as result. And they feel a sense of loss thinking, “I couldn’t do it…it’s not possible after all.” That is when this program to develop their resiliency nurtures the strength in them, so they can objectively think whether or not the experience is something of importance for their own selves.
Now, while my acquaintance was earnestly sharing this story with me, I realized that, as members of Rissho Kosei-kai who have received the valuable Dharma and are trying to put that Dharma into practice, we are already participating in that program to develop our resiliency.
I could feel my gratitude well up from deep within my heart. And, I became convinced that our repeated practice – repeated over and over again - to cultivate our hearts and minds through our various encounters is, in fact, the program to develop resiliency.
I have a friend, Mr. A., who manages a company. There was a time when he introduced a 28 year-old youth for a job. The timing was great for this youth, who was not a recent college graduate, for there was an increase in demand for the product line of the majorCompany, to which he had been introduced. Apparently, the prospect of employment at the company was proceeding well. Mr. A. thought the youth was happy with the situation. However, Mr. A. heard that the youth made a call directly to the director of human resources andsaid things suggesting he may decline the employment.
Mr. A. was not pleased.“How can he be so thoughtless and bypass me when I was the one who introduced him!If that’s the case, I will formally decline for him.” He said he was absolutely furious. His heart was torn apart, pushed to the limit with stress.
Yet, since then “I looked into my heart wondering why I was so angry,” said Mr. A. “I realized it was my heart and mind which perceived the youth as someone who made me lose
face that was making me angry. But I was looking from only my perspective.” He further
more said he thought, “If I were to formally decline, I would be cutting off his one ray of light. I will wait and see and pray for him.”
I asked, “Mr. A., what caused such change of heart within you?” He immediately responded by saying, “I was revering the effort he made for eight long years to graduate from college and his parents’ hearts and wishes.”
Mr. A. happened to possess the strength to objectively think how important this incident was for him.
In every aspect of our daily life, our emotions of delight, anger, sorrow and pleasure that manifest in response to external stimulations may be natural for us, living human beings. And yet, it is also a fact that we often meet setbacks as result.
In the Buddha’s teachings, we are taught that our attachments cause our suffering.
When and what are the conditions that trigger negative feelings in ourselves? Without averting our eyes from the challenges, let us proactively develop the strength to flexibly overcome our insecurities.
Just like aforementioned Mr. A., let us accept the incidents that evolve in front of us as messages from the Buddha. Through repeatedly training ourselves daily, we will naturally acquire the ability to look into our hearts and minds. We are bolstering our strength over adversity. That will allow us to acquire the strength to accept the reality as is. And that will lead us to faithfully follow the Buddha’s compassionate wish.
New York Church Minister