An essential part of the Buddhist organisation I am involved with, is the aspect of practical training in order to grow. This involves doing so-called “activities" where you try to commit yourself 100% to creating happiness for other members by taking on some responsibility at a meeting or event. That could be anything from greeting people warmly as they arrive, to giving a study presentation. No matter what obstacles you encounter along the way, you are taught to never give up regardless, unless of course it would harm you to do so. I am deeply grateful for these trainings because they've taught me that I have more empowerment potential than I sometimes believe when I'm in low spirits.
These activities are a cornerstone in accessing the world of empowerment, striving for the greater good and creating happiness as a result for yourself, too. When you set noble goals you will often be presented with seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. These are precisely what you need in order to learn how to win against your Demons. This type of training, therefore results in enormous strength and hope if done correctly.
Because I am a musician, I am often asked to contribute to Buddhist gatherings by playing one or 2 pieces. One such occasion was the ceremony for the receiving of a scroll by some new members, in this case a married couple. This scroll is meditated in front of as it symbolises a mirror of one's life. The ceremony is regarded as a very special occasion because the recipient is deemed as having committed themselves to the Buddhist philosophy, so it's like starting a new life of hope, happiness and growth.
I was to perform at about 11 AM, not early at all, but because of my negative and apathetic state of mind the night before I stayed out late and slept little. I hadn't taken my responsibility too seriously. I was in a foul mood the next morning and had to drag myself along to the meeting begrudgingly. I thought I would never be able to create a vibe of joy with my own attitude, so what the hell was I doing it for anyway? But the quiet voice of experience and wisdom inside me made me carry on. I sat in the audience watching the others smiling, relaxed and looking particularly Buddhist in the positive sense! They clapped enthusiastically as the new, committed couple joyfully received their scrolls, radiating love towards one another. It just made me feel even worse. How could I possibly pull this performance off in the right spirit? I had never been so resentful of having to play.
On zhe other hand my wiser self told me to do it to the letter – to strive with all my might and give it my best shot for the sake of creating happiness for others. Transformation would be round the corner. It was a mental battle literally up to the last second. As a professional performer, I am normally able to pull off a convincing act even when I am considerably tired, and most people don't notice any demons that might be whining away inside my head. So I played “well". People really appreciated it. I didn't feel joyous in the middle of the piece but that quickly changed as I recognised that I had managed to give people a great feeling. I then was filled with incredible satisfaction knowing that I had overcome the state of Hell once again and all had benefited!
What I learned from this experience yet again was the potential in the darkest times for positive transformation. Once you can recognise that you have it in you, and focus your efforts on using that power, you are again able to see that you are an amazing person.