Are You Getting the Results You Want From Chanting?

If we are getting the results we want with our chanting, then we are mostly in alignment with what we want and in alignment with the spiritual side of our nature, the realm of possibility, where life is in the process of becoming and growing.

Jose Toda, 2nd SGI president, says that that spiritual side of our nature, our infinite side, our Buddha nature, is the life energy itself. Life looks out from our eyes and we can see its connection to growth in every blade of grass and every tree, how a baby animal or human strives to grow and develop. We are so close to it that we are it. We don’t see it. It powers our bodies: we can’t even breathe on our own. Something takes over when we try to control our breathing. It’s beneficent and is always on the side of growth. It is us. We are one with it as an individual wave is one with the ocean.

When we are aligned with our spiritual side, we have access to knowledge that we don’t know already, unseen help, unseen connections to move us towards our goals. We can access the intuitive voice. Life becomes magical.

But if we are not getting the results we want, there is a part of us that is more in agreement with the struggle than with the freedom. This happens with our human, finite side, which is born and dies. We rely more on the conditions and circumstances we see around us – the conditioned side of our nature. This is the side that has been trained into us by our culture, which has taught us how things work in the world. This side only believes what it can see, and works only according to the intellect.

We have longings that things can be different and we set goals but often there is a part of us that is resistant to growth and change.

What Does Resistance Look Like?

Resistance insists that conditions remain the same. For example, I am this way because I’ve always been this way. We defend the status quo tooth and nail. When we find ourselves saying this there is something in us that is strongly resisting change and unwilling to be different.

Or resistance will say – It can’t be that way because all my life I’ve heard from my parents, teachers, friends, that this is the way it is. This is the way the world works. You might hear comments like, “That’s not realistic. That’s not possible.”

Resistance appears when we step out of our comfort zone. Our comfort zone is comprised of beliefs, habits, ways of thinking and doing that are familiar, and well worn like an old comfortable pair of shoes. Our comfort zone keeps us thinking what we’ve always thought, doing what we‘ve always done. It may not always be what we like, but it is familiar. There is a gravitational pull to our comfort zone which is quite powerful. We set a goal but the discomfort of stepping outside of what is familiar pulls us back to our comfort zone. You don’t think so? How many times have you given up on a goal?

Resistance points to our life circumstances and says that things can’t be different because my life circumstances don’t allow it. I can’t do it because. The becauses are the conditions we have set up which prevent us from moving forward. According to the Buddhist law of cause and effect, our life circumstances are the result of what you have thought and done in the past. For results to be different, we are going to have to think and act differently.

“Everything depends on what is in our hearts. Heartfelt prayers will definitely be answered. If we decide something is impossible, then, consistent with our thinking so, even possible things will become impossible.” Daisaku Ikeda, FIA, p. 10

If you want to know your past causes, look at the present. If you want to know your future, look at the causes you are making in the present.

As long as we are, resistant, defending the status quo, we have set up a wall against change, even though we may think we want it. Our results never lie.

When we set up a wall against change, then we have turned away from the spiritual side of our nature. We have stopped listening to our intuition – those flashes of insight and knowing that come out of nowhere, the side of us that can overcome any obstacle , the side we can’t explain, that doesn’t seem reasonable. We have that choice. That calm, quiet voice within is so quiet that it is easy to ignore. The universe doesn’t intrude upon us.

When we don’t develop our relationship with our spiritual side, then we only listen to the intellect, which can only know what is already known, and which can only take us through well-trodden paths we have learned from day one.

How Can We Overcome Resistance?

But in order to connect with the spiritual side, we have to turn up our willingness and say, “Maybe things don’t have to be this way.”  Be open to discovering something different. We have to be curious and be willing to let go of our defenses and just relax allowing ourselves to be open to new possibilities and experiences.

If you think you are stuck in the same old rut, chant to be willing to break out of it.

We also need a solid support system, a group of people who will pick us up when we get discouraged or waver and remind us that we can do it. This group can also chant for us to overcome any hump. Groups such as these are quite effective in helping someone break loose of constricting circumstances.

We discussed that if we aren’t getting the results we want, we are dealing with resistance to change. We see it when we insist that our lives remain the same. “I am this way because…” Or resistance shows up as reliance on what we’ve been taught since day one about how the world works. Or it shows up in our comfort zone, beliefs and habits of thinking and doing that are familiar and comfortable. Resistance says that my life circumstances won’t allow change.
Then we discussed how to overcome resistance. Turn up your willingness and curiosity and relax. Chant for willingness to be open to change. Then find a solid support system.

Do You Let Circumstances Control What You Do?
Chanting But feel You Aren’t Receiving Answers from the Universe?
Did You Know That Your Life is Your Curriculum?


It’s been great to be back with you.  As always I love hearing from you to know what you are thinking.  Please keep your comments coming and if you have suggestions for topics, send them along too.

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  • Sameer Thukral says:

    Thank you for writing this. Can you help me understand how mentor-disciple relationship helps in breaking out of the rut?

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      Yes. The mentor is a living example of how Buddhism should be practiced. Model your behavior on that persons and you will find yourself doing things differently. If you’re talking about Daisaku Ikeda get his book For Today and Tomorrow. It’s a book of daily encouragement. I used it to break out of a rut of my own and it was very helpful.

  • Neha says:

    This is so apt and amazing guidance Margaret. Thank you so much

  • Andre Leite Siva says:

    How does someone motivate himself to chant daimoku again? After more the 8 months of chanting, without receiving any answer, sign or results, I stopped chanting! How should i start chant again? How should i approach it?

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      You are at a nexus point. You’ve been telling me that your old way of believing and looking at the world isn’t working. You keep coming back because deep down you know something needs to change and you want to grow. Yet the other part of you, that wants to hold the status quo, has dug in its heels You say to me over and over, I can’t change my beliefs. If you aren’t willing to be open to any new ideas, then your life is going to remain exactly as it has been and the practice won’t work. You have been projecting disbelief to the universe and what you project you’ve gotten back. How about projecting hope and being curious instead. Use the law of cause and effect for you instead of against you.

      • Andre Leite Siva says:

        But how do I change my belief? After 8 months of daily practice, I received NO RESULT, SIGN, NOTHING. How can I really believe without proof? (That would be faith but craziness)
        How could I not hope and chant every day for more than 8 months? Again, the responsibility is all mine! If it is a Law, why did not work it? You can’t believe whatever you want(positive or negative), jump from a building and you will see the Gravity’s law working(Because Gravity law is actually a law, not some bullshit)Madam, how many more days, weeks or years of practice does it take to receive ANYTHING OBJECTIVELY?
        How someone like me will ever get any result from chanting?I cannot just not be who I am! Without any proof or results who Will i ever have faith? Buddhists just can give me an objective answer! Maybe this dAimoku it is not for someone like me. Maybe it does not work for everyone.

      • Andre Leite Siva says:

        I didn’t say that I can’t change my beliefs, but that I can’t leave who I have always been, overnight! I practiced for more than 8 months, daily, without getting any results! But is it all my fault and my beliefs? Well, if it’s really a law, why doesn’t it work for me? Because I guarantee, that if I throw myself from a building, regardless of what I believe or not (positive or negative thinking), I will fall to the ground!
        How can someone rational and skeptical, create faith and conviction in something, without obtaining evidence, results or receiving any sign?

  • Dearest Margaret,
    I do wholeheartedly hope that this messed finds you well.
    I have instantly become a huge fan of your websites which is filled with powerful insight and wisdom in regards to our practise and Buddhist philosophy as your rightly refer to.
    I profoundly resonate with all of your blogs as a direct reflection of my own life. Truly inspiring. To me they are like a personal guidance I want to hear every evening. Sooo grateful for your unmeasurable knowledge and efforts to share your deep compassion and happiness with others.
    I must thank my fellow practitioner and my daily mentor Kiran who advised me to check your website.
    Have a great week and lovely weekend.

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