Retro-Grade

birth_of_venus_botticelli-e1479776312229There are four planets going retrograde this month: Venus, Mars, Saturn and Mercury. Jupiter did it’s thing last month. All these retrogrades tend to have people in and out of the know to begin attributing all the difficulties they’ve been recently facing to this phenomenon. They give us a chance to be more mindful and conscious about our thoughts and actions. They seek to teach us lessons and diminish particular forces on our lives. Yet, when those damned keys go missing it is Mercury’s fault.

On Twitter you can find many wonderful astrologers and tarot readers as well as spiritualists that make their services and knowledge available online and by appointment. There is Astrology by Mecca and the ever worthy AstrologyZone.com by Susan Miller. Both women receive raving reviews from their audience for their insights and using plain English to share it. Despite what my astrological sign might be itself, I appreciate the delicate way these, and other astrolostar-dust-slidergists, express this information to lay practitioners. There’s no pretense. No assumption that you should already know this stuff so why are you asking such simple questions. They are like mothers though. They do keep a firm hand on the panic that inevitably ensues.
Besides, new moons and full moons impact things too and if I’ve ever believed anything, it’s that the freaks come out at night on a full moon.

The point is that we must use this information, if we use it at all, to shift ourselves in a positive direction. I am such a grouch that even thinking “positive direction” seems super corny. I understand the deep rooted anger and skeptisism that some people have seething under their skin: and this is where they work from, which is reliable. Positivity is not reliable because it can go away. It can dissipate even from the person or thing your positivity is based on.

phases-of-the-moon

Cycles of the Moon

Still, I think it matters where we place the responsibility of our own positivity. Where should it come from? Who and what is culpable for its daily presence? It’s one of the most difficult things to rely on and practice. But it’s not the Gohonzon I chant to or the attractiveness of my Butsudan or that I’m able to study every night. It’s not whether I chant at all. It’s if I know where to find the right information and how to use it.

I do chant. I am a Nichiren Buddhist and before I was introduced to the practice I was already thinking and living in such a way that the education I began building was in perfect alignment. This isn’t a sale. This is simply to say that I do not always chant although I do keep other habit behaviors in my back pocket. That is to say that I have daily practices that are not always helpful, useful, healing or transformative. Though I have figured that if I can spend time avoiding certain things, I can surly spend that time attending to something else. So maybe I want to sleep. One round of the Gosho and Daimoku and you’re good. Go back to sleep.

Nichiren states to a lay believer…

The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra

NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO.
Question: Is it possible, without understanding the meaning of the Lotus Sutra, but merely by chanting the five or seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo once a day, once a month, or simply once a year, once a decade, or once in a lifetime, to avoid being drawn into trivial or serious acts of evil, to escape falling into the four evil paths, and instead to eventually reach the stage of non-regression?
Answer: Yes, it is.

The above states that no matter how many times you chant NAM-MYO-HO-RENGE-KYO (devotion to the mystic law of cause and effect through sound) you are protected by it for the rest of your life. 

As a new practitioner I truly believed this. I let go of a degree of guilt and shame that held me back from the world. But as time goes by, the urgency of your enlightenment and transformation becomes less… urgent. Or less important. I am a logical person, so I 7-ways-to-incorporate-a-consistent-spiritual-practice-into-your-life-733x440perceived the above statement and the power of cause & effect to be true all the time and therefore I didn’t need to chant twice a day. My intentions could just be good. But that only lasts so long, then you have the weight of the world on your shoulders and no method of chipping at it.

I knew my attitude had changed into something I didn’t want it to be; a perfect reflection of the negativity around me. I absorbed all of it and didn’t give any away, but I shared it. I’m sure there are a slew of macro and micro aggressions I’m responsible for over the past years. I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I may have caused. But I’m also sure I said it then, and then did it again. But what I was supposed to do is chant. I was supposed to go back to the practice that was self care and healing and universal transformation. I was supposed to take my human revolution seriously and not let anyone or anything deter this decision. A simple decision to go back to the beginning of taking control of my own life and permeating that expression of humanity outward to the world.

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