You can learn how to navigate agitated feelings, when blindsided by life, to maintain stability in the face of shocks. Many people feel flung about by their feelings when confronting an obstacle. Usually they are talking about despair, suffering, anxiety and depression. These can take over when faced with an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome. These feelings are not something you can ignore, as you are faced with them many days. But you can learn how maintain stability and not let them throw you off balance.
In Nichiren’s Writings such feelings are called the Eight Winds.
The Eight Winds
“Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity or grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds. But if you nurse an unreasonable grudge against your lord, they will not protect you, not for all your prayers.” Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, P, 749
Happiness comes when we learn not to be disturbed by outer events. Then we can remain confident and optimistic in the face of changing everyday reality. This persistence even in the face of defeat keeps us strong and allows us to be victorious in the end. Remind yourself of the confidence and optimism of Nichiren and President Ikeda, when, at times, it looked as though all was lost.
How Can we Develop Inner Stability?
There are no short cuts. We need to develop perseverance in the following areas.
- Consistency in practice. When attacked by the eight winds is the time we need to gear into our practice and chant for longer periods than usual. Sometimes all you can do is keep chanting your way through these feelings no matter what. But eventually you will find your life condition has risen above the turmoil. The support derived from strong practice is what allows you to persist in the face of obstacles and frustrations.
- Get Encouragement. Listen to experiences. Read the promises. Receive guidance.
- Study Buddhist teachings. Studying stabilizes our lives and brings out deep wisdom. President Ikeda’s book, Faith into Action, is a wonderful book and in short paragraphs he has something encouraging to say in about most situations. Going back to the basics with Winning Life can remind you about how the laws of nature work in daily life. Two of these are oneness of self and environment and the law of cause and effect. His yellow book, Daily Guidance, For Today and Tomorrow, has very helpful guidance on developing your unique life path in spite of obstacles. All of three can be bought at www.sgi-usa.org. Scroll down to Visit Bookstore and then under Books/ the Writings of President Ikeda. Study, in addition to wholehearted practice, allows us to train our deluded minds to view life from a Buddha’s perspective.
- Develop a strong mind of faith. Strong faith will develop when you consistently and wholeheartedly practice both for yourself and others and study the writings available to you. Strong faith allows us to bring out deeper wisdom, so we can bring out the full positive potential in all things and situations. It allows us to take advantage of change and move forward to victory.
- Change your self-talk. Don’t dwell in fears and worries. Remind yourself that you have had challenges before, and with the practice, they have always worked out.
You Can do It
When you do these things consistently you will develop a sense of self-assurance and confidence that you can overcome any obstacle. Then nothing will disturb your sense of well-being contentment and joy