Last week’s blog post about the meaning and possible interpretations of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo generated some interesting discussions online, especially around one particular example: “I Am God”
I can very much relate to a certain level of resistance to a term that is inherently associated with a monotheistic concept, especially when used in the context of Buddhist practice and modern spirituality. I used to be just as opposed to the concept myself, but I wanted to explain in a bit more detail how I now think about God, and offer some more food for thought and discussion.
Chanting nam myoho renge kyo is a truly powerful practice which can transform your life and mindset in hugely positive ways. There are a few ways you can focus your mind when chanting, but the practice becomes even more profound when you focus your attention on the meaning of what you’re actually saying. Not just the literal translation of the words, but what they represent. This mantra is rich in history and symbolism and can be interpreted in various ways, but all really coming down to the same general idea.
On Saturday 15th December 2012, I sat alone in my apartment and chanted for the very first time. I had been having great conversations about the practice with a good friend who had started it a couple of months before that, but as a cynical atheist I was more interested in the philosophical debate than the airy-fairy spiritual side of things. Boy, how things can change…
A few years ago, there was a guy in my life. I won’t go into the boring (and ultimately irrelevant) details of what happened, but suffice to say he was not a good guy. It took me a while to realise that, though, as he had enough charm and wit to get under my skin, and also had the same effect on two close friends. He was quite manipulative and in the end, he had managed to play us all against each other, even resulting in a rift in our friendship. He didn’t care that he was hurting us; on the contrary, he actually seemed to get enjoyment from toying with our lives and emotions. We all worked in the same company so it was a very difficult time, with every day bringing new arguments and feelings of resentment, anger, and hurt. Even after I cut off contact with him, I couldn’t get the situation out of my mind. Every time I saw him in the office, strong feelings of bitterness and hatred would rise up, spoil my mood, and ruin my day.
A New Year is a great time to start a healthy new habit, or to refresh old ones that may have lapsed or need a bit of a boost. This New Year, why not commit to your chanting practice to raise your Spirit, your energy, your wellness, your life in 2019? Whether you’re a seasoned nam myoho renge kyo pro or a total newbie, everything you need is right here.
A Big Confession
Once again I’ve come with promises, and once again I’ve left you high and dry. Months have passed since my last post and my voice on this page remains silent.
The truth is, I’ve been struggling.
As spiritual practice goes, chanting is a relatively easy option. It can be challenging to quiet your mind and release stray thoughts during silent meditation. It can be difficult to bring a sense of mindfulness to every moment, especially the difficult ones. With chanting, however, all you really need to do is say the words. Out loud, regularly and consistently. After a while, you’ll even find that those meditation and mindfulness skills start to come naturally! You just need to start with nam myoho renge kyo.
People often ask what they should think about while chanting, and there is no right or wrong answer to that. The power of the words alone will be invoked no matter what you’re thinking about as you’re chanting.
However, there are several ways you can consciously direct your thoughts and intentions to get the best out of your chanting, or to complement any other spiritual or self-help practice.
When it comes to spiritual (or self-improvement) practice, everyone has different preferences. Some like meditation, some prefer yoga, some do mindfulness practices, some talk to angels… I think that all practices can ultimately connect you to the same energy that lies within and around us, so it doesn’t really matter which particular practice resonates with you. There is no right or wrong.
With one caveat…
Spiritual practice should be a DAILY thing. Not every few days, or every once in a while. EVERY DAY.
Imagine having a conversation like this with a friend:
“Hey buddy! Thanks so much!”
“That 100 quid!”
“Ummm… what 100 quid?”
“The 100 quid you’re going to give me!”
“What, you need a loan?”
“Haha! No, not a loan, you’re just gonna give it to me!”
“Ehhh are you crazy? I can barely afford to splash out 100 quid on myself, let alone just give it away!”
Sounds about right, yeah? After all, it would be a bit presumptuous to just assume someone is just going to give you something for nothing.
Well here’s the good news – the Universe LOVES presumption!
You can be happy, right here, right now.
It is possible to summon a feeling of joy in every single moment, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
And if it is possible to consciously create a joyful moment, doesn’t it then follow that you can bring that practice that to every moment and create a joyful life?
Yes, it does! Keep reading to find out how.