Originally posted on Buddhism now:

Buddha at Gochizan-Nyorai-ji Photo © @KyotoDailyPhoto‘Buddha’ As the years go by, this particular word has become increasingly meaningful and precious to me; it is something that reminds me of the way of mindfulness.

I came to Buddhism as an adult after being brought up in a Christian family where the word ‘buddha’ was never spoken. When I was twenty-one, I deliberately chose Buddhism because of the teachings. The word ‘buddha’ itself, however, still remained a kind of abstraction in my mind. I could be inspired by the idea of a buddha, but it is only after years of practise that the profound meaning has manifested.

I am not saying that I am a buddha because that doesn’t make sense. People have claimed to be buddhas, but that isn’t actually the way it works; it isn’t a question of becoming or personally identifying with the word ‘buddha’. To do that is a sure sign that…

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The reason I’ve been unable to contribute what I consider anything of substance to any one of the myriad of online soapboxes is because I didn’t feel like an expert in anything. I had no top ten lists, no gadget reviews, no pitches on how to make money in just four hours a week; all I have are my ideas, perceptions and insights — and even those I keep to myself for the most part.

Sure, I am — or was — good at being a designer and, maybe, a writer. But this, the third extended period of unemployment peppered with the relentless rejection from potential employers has left me doubting myself: I don’t know what I can do, really, having been told over and over for years how I wasn’t successful.

And that’s the key phrase, the one that cuts to the bone now. I thought I had a pretty thick skin (it’s a prerequisite for being in a creative field) but for the better part of the past seven years it’s the only phrase I’ve heard more than any other.

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