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    Dharma Glimpse by Jules

    I was reading an article about how our brains process our thoughts, each thought interlinking, leading to another thought and then another, thus creating chains of thoughts or ‘thought worms’ (as named by Dr. Poppenk and Julie Tseng). It is estimated that we have approximately 6200 of these thought worms a day. But what is interesting is that 80% of them are negative! Even more astonishing is that 95% of our thoughts are repeating themselves day after day. This negative thinking is taking over our brains and we are doing it repeatedly, creating a continuous cycle of pessimism and self-destruction!

    So it got me thinking about my own latest string of negative thoughts. I have been thinking about whether I deserve to be loved. As I reflect upon my thoughts, it reminded me of my childhood, where we would all sit on the grass, picking petals off a daisy, alternating between positive and negative phrases…Love me…Love Me Not?…hoping that when we got to the last petal, the phrase we spoke was positive, as this last petal supposedly represents the truth between the subject of my affection loving me or not.

    The concept of deserving love is subjective and by definition and connotations of the word deserve “is to earn”, so this can become problematic in itself. For me, the question of being worthy or deserving of love, arises from my own self doubt, human expectations, and internalised self-perceptions often comparing myself to others. The constant criticism, rejection, or comparisons to societal standards has contributed to a diminished sense of self-worth. But I don’t feel I need to earn love, but do feel I am worthy of love and thus deserve to be loved.

    In Pure Land Buddhism, the compassionate nature of Amida Buddha accepts us just as we are, embracing our perceived unworthiness. Recognising our imperfections, we find solace in the boundless love of the Pure Land, transcending feelings of unworthiness to experience the unconditional acceptance that leads us towards enlightenment. So somehow I need to change my thought process so that I feel good enough “Just as I am”, the bad bits as well as the good bits.

    So the next time I sit in front of of my shrine and pray to Amida Buddha, I am going to play the more humorous twist on the game and chant; “He loves me, he loves me lots!”

    Namo Amida Bu

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