Turning Poison Into Medicine

20 Jul

It’s been a bit of an odd day. I have worn myself out with my share of emotional excavation. I am tired.

This time in my life partnered with a few situations that have me feeling all twisty inside is moving around my emotional furniture – and you know what a pain remodeling and redecorating can be. At times, it’s been an overwhelming day with situations that have me feeling bent for reasons I do not fully understand. But then while chanting today I remembered an important element of my Buddhist practice – turning poison into medicine.

I had almost forgotten about it. But as I sat chanting in front of my Gohonzon it came to mind. The idea behind turning poison into medicine is that any situation, no matter how painful, can be transformed into something that can be of use -helpful even. Remembering this set me free just a bit because it’s a reminder that in circumstances that are troubling to me I don’t have to be a victim. I can choose to transform it to something that will truly serve me and my life.

I appreciate bringing my challenges to the Gohonzon and being able to place all of it there. I don’t have to hold back or be embarrassed. I can bring all my troubles there no matter what they are. And I can begin to transform them.

In SGI Buddhism the way to change poison into medicine is by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I also chant chapters from the Lotus Sutra. How grateful I am to have a practice that opens a door to a little bit of freedom instead of feeling trapped in my circumstances. It’s like a powerful lantern when I feel I need to find my way out of the dark.

So just appreciating this access. It’s sort of like a trap door when you’re not sure how to get out. Turning poison into medicine gives us power in the big and small challenges of life’s journey.