In the midst of the dissertation storm, with only snippets written and a mountainous 15000-word cohesive whole yet to be created, maybe now is a good time to tell you just how wonderful I’m feeling about it all! After all, the focus of this blog is to teach you about and perhaps even encourage you to try the practice of chanting nam myoho renge kyo. What better way to do that than to share real stories about how it affects my life?
This Master’s degree has been enriching but, at the same time, insanely difficult. Having been working a desk job for ten years, academic language was wholly unfamiliar to me. Learning to read, comprehend, and ultimately write in this dialect was a challenge unto itself. As such, the first semester was a constant struggle, to keep up, to understand, to participate, to get it.
Coinciding with this new world I was venturing into comes an admission. We’re all human, and like many of you I’m sure, I sometimes struggle to keep up with my “good habits”, such as juicing, running, meditating or chanting. So, my admission is that, for that first semester, I had allowed my practice to slip a little. I wasn’t chanting daily, and sometimes found myself slipping for weeks at a time. The first batch of essays was due in early January, amounting to a total of 10000 words. Trying to wrap my head around so many complex and interrelated concepts and then write about them was overwhelming. There were long days in the library, sleepless nights, anxiety, and even tears.
I did get it all done, but I cannot say that the experience was enjoyable. Moreover, once these essays were submitted, it was straight back into a new term, new readings, new presentations to give, new concepts to learn, and new essays to write. But there was a stark difference between the experience of the first semester and the rest of the year.
I returned to my daily chanting practice because once I started again, I returned to a joyful sense of bliss and serenity, even in the midst of more deadlines and stress. I felt calm, confident and assured that “all is well” and that “I can do this”. I simply had a smile on my face more often than not.
Right now, this dissertation is the biggest challenge I have ever faced, involving original research and analysis, and yes, writing, more writing, so much writing.
Yet my predominant mood is happiness over anxiety.
Joy over despair.
Tranquillity over stress.
When I take a break it is to dance around the living room rather than reach for the biscuits or curl up in a ball under my duvet. At times, yes, I have had to just grit my teeth and get down to it, but I haven’t found myself succumbing to the frazzle of those first few months. This is the difference that nam myoho renge kyo makes in my life.
Having a regular spiritual practice keeps you connected, with your inner self and through your Self with the universe at large. It is that Self which knows that you are capable of anything, that you can attain whatever goal you strive for, that you can achieve your highest potential. That connection with your Self is what keeps you grounded and calm in the face of adversity.
I find that connection through my chanting practice. It is that which I will always return to because it brings about the most profound effects in myself and my life. And it is that which I will tell anyone and everyone to try, because it works.
Do you have a similar story? What regular habit keeps you feeling calm and happy? Let me know in the comments below!