When you devote your life to achieving your goal, you will not be bothered by shallow criticism. In fact nothing important can be accomplished if you allow yourself to be swayed by some trifling matter, always looking over your shoulder and wondering what others are saying or thinking. The key to achievement is to move forward resolutely along your chosen path.
I went to my last downtown district meeting this past Sunday. I had been assistant women’s group leader there for the past 3 1/2 years and watched the district grow, develop and unite. I will miss the people I had become so close to. The changes have been significant. I also have to say that they key was for the leaders (M, T and myself) to do their own human revolution, overcome their obstacles and doubt so that they could fully concentrate on the members without begrudging their lives. My own struggle of course has been well documented in this blog. It seemed like yesterday when my close girlfriend and I both brought our tiny babies to a discussion meeting and they lay side by side on the couch. And now they can walk and visit people’s laps. Planning meetings were held during the day while the Precious was coddled and cooed over or while he slept. I so looked forward to having people over during the isolated days. They always forgave me when I would completely forget about those meetings, so distracted I was and I was out walking the baby and the dog or the times I was late hurrying down the sidewalk. They never scolded me or implied that I wasn’t competent.
Often at our first tiny study meetings, we would discuss the material and bring in our own struggles, searching for enlightenment. There were tears but also support and encouragement. One young woman came and she was so depressed and distraught with her life but moved by our own struggles, she has grown into a strong youth leader who always encourages others and has made incredible strides in her personal life. To witness someone blossom like that and know that you played a part is an incredible privilege.
Our discussion meeting was incredible – one woman shared her experience of being able to forgive her rapist because of her practice and was no longer a victim but a survivor. Another woman suddenly revealed that she had been a victim as well. I never reveal what goes on at our meetings, and honestly they’re never that dramatic, but this woman practically glowed. She opened up her life so that she could inspire others. This is the mark of the bodhisattva. Courage and compassion. I was the emcee and it was a challenge to move the meeting forward without breaking down in tears. After the meeting, everyone sang that song from The Sound of Music – So Long, Farewell – to me! Badly. It was hysterical. I laughed so hard, I cried. Then I was presented with a beautiful cake, flowers,cards even gifts. I was stunned. Overwhelmed. Grateful. Feeling the love, folks, feeling the love.
I loved it. You know, the one thing I have always enjoyed about my Buddhist community is that whenever I feel that everyone and their dog has to go out of their way to correct me, discourage me, criticize me and make me feel that I am “not enough” (and this includes the voices in my head) – they never do. When I am late, they thank me for making it at all, when I feel sad, they lift my spirits, when I doubt, they chant with me and lift my spirits. They accepted my “edge” and in turn, I hope I have learned to curb my tongue a little.
I am back in my old beloved district. Kosen rufu (world peace) happens wherever you are – and I look forward to doing whatever I can to fulfill my mission.
I have more to say about the quote above, but I’ve got another mission in the other room that needs my attention.