It would be crazy to say that it is easy to stay positive amidst these difficult times. The year 2020 has caused a lot of disruption in people’s lives across the world, from deadly virus to worrisome skirmish at Indo-China border to devastating cyclone in West Bengal. Fear, anxiety, and worry are spreading from individuals to families to communities. With such lofty burdens of the negative emotions, it is challenging to persevere when the normalcy looks like a distant dream. 

While it’s impossible to avoid what is happening around us, we must look for things that help keep the hope alive in us, be it talking to a friend, watching a favorite TV show, learning a new skill, listening to music, or any activity. Hope begins in the dark, and if we wouldn’t let the darkness defeat us, the dawn will surely come. As a prayerful nation, we should be calmed with the fact that God is still in control and will sail through these difficult times, through his love and grace. 

Winter always turns to spring; however, we will only be able to enjoy the bloom of spring if we diligently challenge ourselves in winter and keep moving forward without getting defeated. The key to victory lies in how hard we struggle when we are in these challenging times, how wisely we use that time, and how meaningfully we live each day. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but first, we must inhabit the darkness with complete faith that respite awaits us.

Cultivate Spirituality 

Now, more than ever is the right time to set an example for our future generations on how to rise above and be strong in hard times, and the best way to do that is to cultivate a spiritual practice through heart-centered awareness. 

The heart has that powerful force that gives a push to action. The initial inspiration to do any activity always comes from the heart. Having a dedicated spiritual practice expands the mental horizon and plays a vital role in helping us embrace the unknown and see more possibilities in known. We usually seek wisdom and hope outside; however, it has always been within us; we have to bring forth the courage to seek within. Cultivating a spiritual practice helps us give that courage to seek within and provides direct access to our inner voice. 

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, spirituality means devoting to religious faith. In contrast, for others, it means seeking a more personal connection with their spiritual side by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, listening to music, or any creative expression. These practices help in connecting more deeply to the soul, to the silent witness that rests within. The more we shift our focus towards the path of spirituality, the more we begin to see good things in life.

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism gives me hope

My inclination towards spirituality has always been there for as long as I can remember. I have always been very inquisitive and wanted to dig deep into the facets of life. The hunger to understand the aspects of life in depth became even stronger when loneliness took a toll on my mental health after moving to the States. I felt very vulnerable and hopeless. That’s when I got introduced to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism. Soon after getting into the practice, I realized that taking charge of my happiness and recognizing my own potential was something I had been missing in my life.

I chant “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo” morning and evening with faith, and it has changed my life. I’m a much more liberated person now. However, the change wasn’t magical; it came naturally and built organically within me. Hardships and problems don’t scare me now; in fact, I happily embrace them. With my thorough efforts and determination towards the practice, I realized that my challenges and hardships are the opportunities to see the light and transform my karmas. If there will be no hardships, my life will become so complacent. The more I learn about this practice, and the more I chant “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo,” the more I started to realize my inner potential and believe that I can fulfill my mission and be truly happy. Buddhism has given me so much hope, courage, wisdom, and compassion.

Hope through kindness

Creating hope in any form can go a long way. A small gesture of kindness not only spreads hope among others but also brings back positivity in our lives too. It is during the difficult times that words of encouragement, gestures of kindness, and actions of compassion are most helpful. Take time to sprinkle kindness, extend a helping hand, and bring hope to others’ lives. You’ll never know how far it’ll go. 

(Written by Mansi Mehta)

Author Bio –

Born and raised in Delhi, Mansi currently lives in San Francisco. She is fueled by her passion for understanding the nuances of cross-cultural public relations and marketing. She considers herself a ‘forever learner’ and is always keen on learning new ways to work on ordinary things.

Speaking of hobbies, home decor, gardening, and art are what keeps her sane. All the colors make her happy, but yellow is her favorite. She is “her people” person and can’t be an extrovert all the time. It takes special people who she can be herself with; otherwise, she is entirely a “quiet” person. She is still on her way to know herself better!

This article was published in Storizen Magazine July 2020 Issue!

(Featured Image by Ben White)

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