As today, I really enjoy the moments surrounded by nature, the breeze caressing the leaves of the palm trees, the birds singing and the butterflies that alight on colorful flowers. I feel my heart radiating with joy.
“Does this mean that I am happy?” I ask myself, “Have I found my own path of contentment?”
I believe I did.
It wasn’t too long ago that my perspective of happiness was completely different.
I thought that wealth and social status could give meaning to my life, I misunderstood the greatest purpose of spiritual abundance compared to the material one, to find myself at the end with an empty heart due to several bad choices I made.
One day I heard from a friend about Nichiren’s Buddhism.
I embraced this faith and learned how to chant the powerful mantra of “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”.
Every morning and every evening I chanted tirelessly, lifting up my life’s condition and bringing happiness to myself and the ones around me.
Each day was filled with wonder!
Until the time that my faith was put to a serious test.
I took an enormous fall, about two years ago, when I had to face one of the most challenging times.
Suddenly, my husband, our youngest children and I became homeless due to a major financial crisis, We lost everything!
After seeking a little help from a few friends and family members, we were forced to move into a motel, certainly not the kind you would like to bring your family. We had no choice, it was either sleeping in the car or staying at the motel. Of course, at the end, we chose the motel.
Despite my Buddhist practice that taught me to embrace any struggle with a positive attitude, I felt I was losing strength and determination to overcome those obstacles.
“How can I still be happy when my life is falling apart?” and “How can I wake up each morning, while my heart aches, and show a positive attitude towards the future?” I continuously asked myself.
One morning I was sitting outside at the table in front of the motel’s reception and I had tears coming down my face. The little money that we had left to cover the motel’s bill was almost gone. I worried that we had to sleep in the car that night or go to a homeless shelter.when a man walking by looked at me smiling and said, “Be happy, it’s a beautiful day!”
Before I could say something he was gone.
I was speechless when a little bit later the motel’s manager walked to me with new keys for the room and told me that it was paid for two nights.
A sense of complete gratitude towards that man filled my soul and I decided not to give up hope.
I continued to chant fearlessly until this day, dipping more and more into the limitless power within myself and changing negative circumstances into new possibilities.
I feel like a butterfly, spreading wings of hope into a flight of fulfillment.