How to Gain Control of Your Life: The Stories of Two Men Who Succeeded

Do you know how to regain control of your life when overwhelmed by negative circumstances?
Sometimes life seems too much to handle and we don’t know what to do.
Let’s take a look at the stories of two men and how they gained control over the negative circumstances of their lives to show you the steps you can take.

Meet Arden

Today Arden is a twenty six year practitioner, but he can remember clearly what his life was like when he started to chant.

“A single father, my life had become stagnant and negative. My twenty year old son was involved with drugs and living at home with his girlfriend. I didn’t want to ask them to leave for fear he might end up on the streets. Their drug using friends would come over and sleep at my house while I was cooking for all of them and trying to keep things together. I felt like a slave. I knew I couldn’t do anything to change my son’s life: I’d already tried that without success.

For the past few years I had been on the fringes of various forms of Buddhism, and saw other people felt it was beneficial for their lives. I was curious but uncommitted.

One day, overwhelmed by my circumstances, I sat on the kitchen floor in tears. I felt my life couldn’t get any worse. Reaching out for something, anything, I vowed I would become a practitioner of the first kind of Buddhism that I encountered.

Nothing happened for a couple of weeks, and then two Nichiren Buddhists gave my son a phone number so I could connect with the Buddhist group in town knowing I’d be interested. Receiving this, I resolved to follow through as I had promised. I had to do something. Things couldn’t be much worse.

At my first meeting I was told that if I practiced a simple chant, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, I could become happy. Sounded weird to me but what did I have to lose? I was desperate. So I did what they told me, and set a goal. I wanted my life back and to be free of drugs in my house. I chanted for this every day.

To my complete amazement, two weeks later, my son told me that he and his girlfriend were moving to Alaska. He had decided to go into recovery with his mother, who lived there. I was free! My home was mine again!!!

To this day, I can’t explain how it worked. All I knew was it had worked. Seeing this, I had to try chanting about something else and then something else to see whether it would happen again. Today, twenty six years later I am still chanting…..”

Meet Doug

“When I encountered this practice, I was adrift in my life. A 65 year old engineer, I had tried unsuccessfully to find work for a year. I didn’t want to work as a greeter at Walmart. My self-esteem was in the toilet. I couldn’t sleep and found myself wandering around the neighborhood at three in the morning. I felt victimized, helpless and depressed.

One day, staring out my window, I saw two men removing tree debris from a cart, abandoned for a week. The yard man, hired by the woman across the street, had finished trimming her trees, gotten his money, and left the cuttings in the street. I walked over and recognized one of the two, who lived a number of houses down.

Curious, I inquired, ‘Why are you coming down here to do this?’
“I am a practicing Buddhist. So is the owner of this house, who is an old woman,” he replied. “That yard man is taking advantage of her and I’m going to do my best to see that she is supported and protected.”

As I chatted with them, I asked them about Buddhism. They told me I could become happy if I chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo but I’d have to prove-it-to-myself. That seemed sensible. Even though I was very skeptical, I was attracted by the thought I could be happy and decided to try the chant.

I started out by chanting for a clear direction in my life. While chanting it was as though I was able to look at my situation from above. I was able to see my options for the first time. I saw that it was unlikely I would get a job at 65. But there was another alternative for my life: I could retire. Then I looked into whether retirement would work financially and found I could swing it. I made the decision to stop worrying about getting a job and decided to retire.

As I chanted and took these steps, taking the tiller of my life in my own hands, I lost the overriding feeling of helplessness about my situation. I was no longer floating down the river with no direction. I discovered that when you take control of your life, everything turns around. My new way of life in retirement suits me quite well. I’ve become happy.

I used to play football. If you are on the field it’s hard to see where the play is going. But if you sit in the stands you can have an overview of the whole thing. That’s what happened to me when I chanted. I was able to focus more clearly and look at the reality of my circumstances.

6 steps taken by Arden & Doug

1. They recognized they needed to address a problem in their lives.
2. They were willing to try something new and quite different.
3. They were introduced to the practice and taught to chant for a goal. (link)
4. They chanted daily with a specific goal in mind.
5. They took action, both chanting and then acting on their insights.
6. They chanted until they achieved their goal and saw that the practice had worked.

It Can Work for You Too

You don’t have to be stressed out and discouraged, waiting for circumstances to change. You can do as these two men did. This process works for all types of issues, financial, relationship, health, any problem you can imagine.  See Try the 90 Day Experiment You can chant for another person too but it’s harder to see the results. If you’re trying to chant for the first time, I would suggest you select a concrete goal so you’ll have no doubt when you have gotten it.

How to Begin

Follow the steps given in Try the 90 Day Experiment which will teach you to do as Arden and Doug did. If questions come up, I would be happy to answer them at

If you’d like to have someone guide you go to  to Find Us. You will find a group close to you and practitioners will be glad to help you.

I would be interested to hear about your experience, so feel free to contact me.

Next Topic:

Can You Expect Religion to Change Your Life?



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  • Jean says:

    Pls clarify any steps taken: Arden – 1. He chanted with goal in mind & 2. Daily His goal, “to get life back & home free of drugs” 2 was later son who used drugs moved to Alaska. Ok so 1 action Arden took was to chant but what insight did he act upon.

    • Margaret Blaine says:

      Hi Jean,
      I asked him this question. This was his first serious attempt at changing his life, as a brand new practitioner. Other than desperately chanting to have his life clear of the negativity around him, he didn’t act on anything else. I think it might be an example of a new person benefit and that his son’s Buddha nature responded. You are absolutely right though. No one should expect to see results without acting on some insight.

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