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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Will the real Gakkaigirl please stand up



"Have you even noticed that there seems to be an awful lot of World Tribunes and Living Buddhisms? I’ve learned over the years that I can gauge my life condition (how happy, hopeful, and powerful I am feeling) by my attitude towards publications. Well, towards anything SGI/practice related, actually, but its especially obvious with publications.
Clues I am doing well: I am excited about the next newspaper or magazine to arrive. I enjoy the articles. I feel connected to Daisaku Ikeda and what’s going on around the SGI. I carry the latest copy with me. I naturally and spontaneously share something from an article with somebody, and it makes them feel better (and somehow it is exactly what they needed to hear)
Clues I am not doing well: I feel overwhelmed by how many publications are coming. I feel obligated to read them. I suspect the author of making it up, especially the experiences. I don’t notice how many have stacked up since I last read one. I don’t notice that my subscription lapsed…months ago! (this really happened recently. well, they all happened, but this one especially took me by surprise)
The point isn’t to know the publications or be a mindless gakkai minion – that would be unhappiness in another guise. The point is to be truly happy and as strange as it might be, it can be really hard to realize when I’m not! More because I am numb, or caught up in petty stuff. I just don’t notice that I am sinking. As somebody at FNCC (Florida Nature Culture Center) once told me, “You can only be coasting if you are heading downhill.”
Anyway, my attitude towards publications is a really good mirror for me to figure out if I am coasting (and heading downhill), and an opportunity to start working on it before I’m so far gone it takes ten times as much work.
I renewed my subscription a couple weeks ago, and I haven’t seen a copy in the mail yet, but I have access to it online. OMG, welcome to the 21st century SGI! Sometimes it seems like the organization is terribly behind the times (no apps in the app store, really?). I love love love being able to access the World Tribune and Living Buddhism online!
I started reading an article today, “Advancing with Courage and Hope” (2.17.12 WT p2). President Ikeda made a joke about being 24 for a second time and it made me smile. Really smile. I could feel the warmth and the humor in it, how clever it was, and that he was also serious – it is about having a youthful spirit all the time, a “I’ll start from now” mentality. And I realized the brilliance of his approach – if he had said “you should have this attitude” I’d probably tell him to shove it, but because he told a humorous story about himself I loved it.
I shouldn’t need somebody to have a brilliant approach in order to take the good stuff from what they say, but it is one of my many weaknesses that I am working on.
Even though I only read a couple of paragraphs, it gave me a lot to think about and I feel…better. It isn’t huge better, like sunshine and unicorns, but it is a tiny tendril, the kind that you know is going to grow into something much larger. I guess that is the faith bit.
The practice bit is not beating myself up (aka feeling GUILTY) for not reading more, more often, without grudge, etc etc. The practice bit is appreciating all my little efforts, be they flowers or incense or reading a paragraph of the World Tribune, and knowing that even if I forget what I read something profound has been engraved in the depths of my life." -- "Gakkai Girl"'

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