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The Courage to Live Creatively

The Courage to Live Creatively

It was back in 2002, when my company, Aura, had just established its own original product brand and its name was fast becoming renowned throughout the industry. My business was doing great but, at home, I had just learned that my wife had joined Happy Science which was a different religion from the one that I followed.

My name is Mr. Nonomura, and this is a chapter from my Workbook of Life in how I summoned the courage to live more creatively in my business.

“Self-reflection leads to progress”

I was a long time believer of Tenrikyo*; therefore, I was skeptical about Happy Science. Ever since I lost my father at the age of 14, Tenrikyo had been my emotional support throughout my life, helping me through those tough days when I was working like crazy to support the family and my own education.

*Tenrikyo: A Japanese religion that emerged in the 1800s.

However, the change that Happy Science brought upon my wife was hard to ignore. She became a gentler person and she said things that sometimes amazed me. She even quit smoking – something I had never been able to get her to do. I became curious to know what was written in the books she was reading and studying so earnestly.

What I found were teachings that gave answers to questions I had harbored for a long time and which gave direction on how to progress towards the future. One of the teachings that left a special impression on me was on how self-reflection leads to progress: reflecting on yourself and correcting your mistakes is progress for you as an individual. I decided I would join Happy Science and study these teachings further. However, although I could understand how self-reflection would help clear your mind, I had yet to fully realize how self-reflection would lead to progress.

Soon I was given an opportunity to obtain a shop space in a commercial complex situated in a prime location in Kyoto. This was a great opportunity for the company and, though I was well aware of the risks, I decided to take it. To my surprise, all my employees were against the idea. I ignored their disapproval and went ahead with it anyway, hoping that the success in the new venture would bring them around. However, the rift between myself and my employees grew, and sales performance faltered.

Did I make the right decision? Three weeks had passed after the store opening but the confidence in my decision was waning. That was when my wife suggested I visit a Happy Science temple near Lake Biwako to practice a meditation called, “The Four Season Meditation.”

Awakening to True Progress

I was in the midst of the ‘winter meditation’ when I saw my past clearly, as if it was reflected on the surface of a lake. I saw myself pursuing my dreams of success with little regard for my family and with no appreciation for my employees because I thought I was doing all the work myself.

“Maybe I had become arrogant in thinking that I could do everything the way I wanted to?” I thought. “My employees’ opposition is biting cold like the wind in winter, but perhaps it’s a gift from God for me to wake up to the importance of the people around me…”

That was when I realized that what was lacking in me was: gratitude. In that instant, I felt myself slipping free of the heavy layers of pride and desire for prestige and fame that covered my heart. Then tears ran down my cheeks as I became overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who had supported me so far.

The last part of the meditation required me to draw a picture of my past, present and future. I was born and raised in rural Japan, so my expectations of how far I would get in life were not so high. But as I drew freely, I suddenly saw a vision of myself soaring to achieve great things on a global scale and even in the field of space technology.

“What is this!? Is this the future me?” I could scarcely believe I could rise to such heights. Until then, I carried a sense of guilt about achieving success. A bitter experience of having to help pay for a relative’s huge debt when his company went bankrupt ten years ago had made me think, “It’s better to lead a mediocre life than to cause problems for a lot of people by trying to succeed big and failing.” But Happy Science taught differently.

“If your personal happiness is the kind of happiness that will lead to the happiness of all humankind… then that is the right kind of thought; it will cause no problems when it is realized. This is the kind of thought that you should aim for, the kind in which your personal happiness and the happiness of humankind can be realized as one.”

[The Laws of Happiness | Published by Lantern Books]

I discovered that my anxieties came from not knowing that one can realize both one’s own happiness and that of others too. If my company’s success and expansion are for the sake of benefiting the world, then it’s a good thing. This realization gave me enormous encouragement and swept away al l my worries. I had a tendency to blame my employees whenever things didn’t go as planned, but I was determined to change that. To stop the harsh words from leaving my mouth, I took a deep breath whenever I felt it coming and calmed my mind. In this way, I worked to mend the rift between myself and my employees. I had finally learned what it meant to leap from self-reflection to progress.

melaluiThe Courage to Live Creatively.

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