Only the headwinds make you stronger….

This is a post about gratitude and determination, two massive themes in Nichiren Buddhism. I am currently trying to lose weight (or ‘gain slimness’ as we say in life coaching 🙂 ) and recently went out cycling around a lake in the Leicestershire countryside near my home. After 20 minutes I found myself on a really steep hill huffing and puffing against a cold strong headwind and wishing it was easier and that my legs would stop hurting. 🙁  Image

Then I saw a man walking towards me (someone I had never seen before) and he just smiled warmly and said: “Keep going mate!” Usually the people I come across on this bike route only say ‘hello’ (if they say anything at all…) so this was a lovely surprise and made me reflect on the kindness of strangers who encourage us but expect nothing in return.

I carried on up the hill, went around a sharp corner and suddenly was no longer cycling into the wind. In fact the wind was now at my back, pushing me along. It was only then that I realised the wind had already been behind me for the first 3km of the bike ride… I just hadn’t realised it. Chanting daimoku later that day I reflected on the fact that in my daily life I often do not notice, let alone appreciate, the support I get from the Universe and from other people.

And then I realised that I must also be grateful, instead of moaning, when the wind is against me, either on a bike ride or in the shape of challenges in my business or personal life. For while the tailwind might be lovely, it is only the headwinds that make us stronger (and hopefully a little slimmer… 🙂 )

I will write about resilience / stickability another time, but for now I leave you with these words from Nichiren Daishonin who in 1273 wrote a letter to Shijo Kingo – one of his most famous disciples who battled many a ‘strong headwind’ in his life. He urges Kingo to develop deep determination, “praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground.” This is a line I now call to mind when I am cycling up a steep hill…

So, today I redetermine once more to become a person who earnestly wants to gain slimness, appreciate strangers, cherish tailwinds and, most of all… thank the headwinds that make me stronger…

PS. This post also inspired by fellow Buddhist blogger Alex Lickerman’s fab new book, The Undefeated Mind.

PPS. If adverts for weight loss (or anything else) are appearing on this post, please be assured that it is WordPress putting them there, not me… 

5 Replies to “Only the headwinds make you stronger….”

  1. Deepshikha, YWD, India. says:

    Hi David, it is truly inspiring to read your blog. Thanks a ton for uploading. You have offered us a fresh perspective to renew our faith and challenge ourselves to awaken our best of abilities – “Buddhahood”. Thank you for sharing your kind words

    1. Many thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated and my goal is that Buddhism will inspire people to live life to the full. Warmest regards. D

  2. Tiffany says:

    Dave, I like your headwind blog – focussing on gratitude at school at the moment. Xxxxx Ps I used ‘we are surrounded by miracles, but we have to recognize them; otherwise there is no life’ Thich Nhat Hahn to inspire discussion in our family groups on Monday – my fave contribution was colour – how beautiful. Much love xxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Lynette Hare says:

    Thank you for your uplifting blog, David. We had occasion to be grateful for the recent cold snap, we were visited by a flock of very pretty waxwings who perched on our apple tree. There certainly is beauty all around, if only we open our eyes. xxx

    1. Hey Mum,
      thanks for the comment! 🙂

      One of my very good friends (who was a coaching client to begin with…) has a daily mantra of ‘seeing beauty everywhere’ and is one of the happiest people I know.
      see you soon

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