Changing Poison into Medicine- A Buddhist principle that can help you view your health issues in a transformative way.
Changing poison into Medicine
(hendoku-iyaku): The Buddhist principle that human desires and sufferings can be transformed into benefit and enlightenment. This phrase is often used to demonstrate that any problem or suffering can be transformed into the greatest happiness and fulfillment in life.
I have been practicing Buddhism for 10 years now and I believe this concept is one of many worthy of sharing with you. Nichiren Buddhism deals with daily life; it is a daily practice that teaches you to use your sufferings as fuel to become happy.
You see, we all have behaviors, recurring issues, or karmic tendencies that cause us to suffer and hold us back from advancing and reaching our potential. When these issues arise, we get pushed down; often times we feel defeated and maybe even say to ourselves “this is just the way I am, or this always happens to me, story of my life.” According to Buddhism, these very sufferings are the path to true and lasting happiness because when you truly over come them and win, you have transformed something deep within yourself and not only do you become happy, but you can inspire others who are suffering in a similar way as you did.
“The process of changing poison into medicine begins when we approach difficult experiences as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and to strengthen and develop our courage and compassion.” – Daisaku Ikeda
How does this pertain to your health? Health is a big word; but as I write here, I refer specifically to physical health. Your health effects every other part of your life. Everyone has parts of their health that they would like to improve on. Whether you are very sick with an incurable disease, you want to lower your blood pressure, are aiming to drop some extra weight to feel healthier, or maybe you know you want stop a certain habit that is wreaking havoc on your body but you just can’t seem to do it; these are all things to suffer about, and all of these things are your karma. They are all here for you to learn from and overcome in one way or another. And through the process you earn a true and lasting happiness.
Heath is not a shallow desire. When you feel healthy, you can do all things, you can live your life to the fullest. Joseph Pilates is strict in his words, claiming “Not only is health a normal condition, but it is our duty not only to attain it, but to maintain it.” It is our duty to take care of ourselves, to recognize when things are out of balance and to get back on track because no one else will do it for you. YOUR body is YOUR business. Yes, I know, you are more than just a body; you are a spiritual being, but without your body working well, life is much more difficult and much less enjoyable. After all, you are here to enjoy life and be happy.
So what can you do about it? Like most things, it starts with some honest self reflection. I know it may sound strange but in our Buddhist practice we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo over and over again to the Gohonzon. The Gohonzon represents a mirror of our lives. That is how we self reflect, come to conclusions about our situations, and find the right path forward. But, if you’re not into chanting, you can journal. Personally, I love journaling to help figure myself out. I have stacks of old journals (that I consider burning and might eventually decide to.)
Personally, I am not a list maker or highly structured person, so I like to free write. My favorite exercise is to free write 3 pages. It’s really just a purging of words onto paper. But you can also start with a question. Try this one: If you could be a fly on the wall and follow your highest, healthiest, happiest self around for a day, what would your day look like? What would you be doing in the morning, afternoon, and evening that made you feel so good, healthy and happy? How does your healthy energy affect the people around you? Free write about that without judgement, just let it flow. Don’t even worry about punctuation or spelling, just let go and have fun with it. You don’t even have to reread it, but you put it out there on paper, into existence. Return to this exercise anytime you want to connect with your healthiest, happiest self.
Now to become the person that you wrote about, you will have to take daily action. That’s the fun part. Because one action is one thing for you to feel good about. And slowly, very slowly, like water wearing down the grand canyon, things change; and they stick because you feel good, and you like it. The important thing is that you never give up, you never stop trying. Continue to learn and experiment with healthy habits. You will find that this way of life has benefits that far outweigh how you look. And that’s all done by YOU; no one else can take credit for it. YOU know what YOU need to be healthy and feel good. Trust yourself. YOU have the power to change your poison into medicine.
Thank you for reading my words. Have a wonderful rest of your day!
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