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Empowering Yourself

In last week's Friday Meditation, I came across this excerpt from a book I've been referring to, to give a sense of direction to our journey together. I happened upon it randomly and intuitively sensed it could really help you realize you have it within yourself to move forward regardless of any circumstances.

When you're in a state of uncertainty, it becomes difficult to move, nevermind whether it's in the right direction. A great way to get yourself to move is to gather your Five Powers. The Five Faculties (or Powers), according to Buddhism, are the power plants that can help you generate energy within yourself. The Five Powers are:

  1. Faith

  2. Diligence

  3. Mindfulness

  4. Concentration

  5. Insight

[The following is an excerpt from, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching," by Thich Nhat Hanh, p185, 186.]

Faith (shraddha)

"When we have faith, a great energy in us is unleashed. If our faith is in something unreliable or false, not informed by insight, sooner or later it will lead us to a state of doubt and suspicion. But when our faith is made of insight and understanding, we will touch the things that are good, beautiful and reliable. Faith is the confidence we receive when we put into practice a teaching that helps us overcome difficulties and obtain some transformation. It is like the confidence a farmer has in his way of growing crops. It is not blind. It is not some belief in a set of ideas or dogmas.

Diligence (virya)

Diligence is the second power - the energy that brings joy into our practice. Faith gives birth to diligence, and this diligence continues to strengthen our faith. Animated with diligent energy, we become truly alive. Our eyes shine and our steps are solid.

Mindfulness (smriti)

To look deeply, to have deep insight, we use energy of Right Mindfulness. Meditation is a power plant for mindfulness. When we sit, eat a meal or wash the dishes, we can learn to be mindful. Mindfulness allows us to look deeply and see what is going on. Mindfulness is the plow, the hoe, and the irrigation source that waters insight. We are the gardener - plowing, sowing and watering our beneficial seeds.

Concentration (samadhi)

To look deeply and see clearly, we need concentration. Mindfulness leads to concentration and concentration leads to insight and to faith. With these four qualities, our life is filled with joy and the energy of being alive, which is the second power.

Insight (prajña)

The ability to look deeply and see clearly and also the understanding that results from this practice. When we can see clearly, we abandon what is false and our faith becomes Right Faith.

When all five powers plants are working, producing electricity, they are no longer just faculties. They become the Five Powers. There is a difference between producing something and having the power that it has generated. If there is not enough energy in our body and mind, our five power plants need repair. When our power plants function well, we are able to produce the energy we need for our practice and for our happiness."

You can meditate to visualize each instance of these Five Powers to determine why, what and how you can move forward. When you've figured this out and you Just Know, you're ready.

In Good Qi.


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