We all experience dark times in our lives. This is when something difficult or devastating happens. Maybe you have a bad diagnosis, or lose a spouse or family member or friend, lose a job, experience a betrayal or are living through global threats such as the pandemic or climate change, when old institutions do not appear to be working and our safety and security feel threatened.
Whatever it is, it is certainly not something you would have wanted to have happen. But it is our curriculum.
I believe that the Mystic Law is at the center of everything that is happening. As Ikeda says,
“In the innermost depths of all beings, there is the primal life force and it causes living beings t live. The same force supports and organizes matter and works it into the harmonies and rhythms of the great cosmic existence …..this is the active force necessary for all life, the force that crates and re-creates all existence, spiritual and physical.
In other words, the Mystic Law is the infinite intelligence that is behind all evolution.
During this dark night, I believe this evolutionary force is preparing the way for an evolutionary jump, that something greater is seeking to emerge through us both individually and collectively.
We have to look at what is going on square in the face. I believe we are being asked to evolve as a race. The institutions which have worked for us until now, no longer seem to have the answers that once seemed to serve us. For example, our economic system, the requirements of capitalism itself – to make a profit, the promotion of consumerism, are now contributing to the major problems we are facing with climate change. We are being asked to look beyond the goals of making money and acquiring power, our own comfort and convenience, to implement what is needed for the common good and the very survival of humankind. This is going to require major changes and sacrifices. But if we don’t do it, we are in the position of lemmings getting ready to go over a cliff.
Old institutions die hard. Right now we stand squarely between the old and the new. The old beliefs and institutions are fighting to survive, while the new way
is not clearly seen yet. It is an ugly time. We are being faced with what has not been working, that has been hidden from sight but is now showing up to be seen, evaluated and modified. We are being shown the dark side of our human nature and being asked to grow beyond that.
Change is going to be required and we are seeing the fear of change and the stonewalling of it.
We are looking for answers but our old beliefs and are dependence on our rational left brain are no longer sufficient to deal with the complexity of what we are facing. I think we are being asked to understand that we are more than any circumstance coming at us. That what is inside of us, that infinite intelligence is greater than anything we are facing. And we’re being asked to learn how to partner with that intelligence which has the answers to anything we need to know.
We are being asked to trust that this evolutionary force is working for the good and if we partner with it, we will move along with it. If we fight it and resist the flow, things are going to become very difficult.
We are being asked to grow out of old ways of being. For example, we are being faced with our disregard of human rights on many fronts. From some people being subjected to tyranny and oppression, to people not having health care or sufficient food, or housing, or the right to live in a humane way. We are seeing the failure of our institutions which should be supporting the people of this country as we go through this very difficult time. Instead there is a disregard for their needs and we are about to have a tidal wave of the dispossessed, while others are obscenely rich. This is a failure of our way of life as is the underlying racism in this country, which I think is born of fear of change and old beliefs.
We’re seeing that the community and unity we used to have as a nation is deeply fractured. We are seeing that people’s personal wishes are taking precedence over the common good – just in wearing masks for example or insisting on travel, getting into planes where no social distancing is possible . Big Thanksgiving dinners. Not taking the vaccine. All of these are individuals putting their private wishes over the common good. We are seeing that individualism has overridden the needs of the community and a re-balancing is going to be necessary to deal with climate change for example. Otherwise we will be dealing with chaos.
The dark night of the soul is where what is seeking to emerge is trying to break free of old ways of being, old ego states. Because for the greater to emerge, we must let go of the lesser.
As Buddhists, we are fortunate to have our connection with the Mystic Law. As we chant day after day we can keep our lives in sync with the evolutionary flow. When life becomes tumultuous, we can stand on the rock of the Mystic Law and not be swayed by events outside of us. When we chant about what is happening, we can use that inner wisdom to understand what is being asked of us.
And remember, Nichiren says,
“When great evil occurs, great good follows.”WND, p.1119
Better times are coming.
We are in the middle of a dark time and are being asked to evolve as a race.
The Mystic Law is behind all evolution and asking us to look at the fact that our old ways of being are not working.
We are being asked to look at the dark side of our nature, our disregard of human rights, that individualism is taking precedence over community.
Our dependence on our rational left brain is no longer sufficient to deal with the complexities of what we have to deal with
As Buddhists we are fortunate to have the rock of the Mystic Law to stand on through these tumultuous times and the fact that we have our connection with the infinite mind within through our Buddha nature.
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