What David Bowie and I Had in Common…

One night in Berlin, in the late 1970s, David Bowie found himself surrounded by the various persona he had famously portrayed up to then. Picture it! Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack and the Thin White Duke, all together in Bowie’s living room.

Doubtless heavy drug use had a lot to do with this meeting. I totally related to it when someone told me about it during my own heavy drug and alcohol use period.

Because I didn’t have a clue who I was.

I survived by assuming various persona, which differed according to each person I interacted with. I used to imagine how that person might like to see me, and then behave correspondingly. And convincingly, apparently. I even decided to become an actor based on the success of my role playing. I thought, “I’m doing this in my private life, let me do it professionally and get paid for it.”

The trouble was that whenever I let down my guard, usually under the influence, people who thought they knew me freaked when they found themselves confronted by a completely different me. I couldn’t understand why this bothered them so much. I thought there was something wrong with them for not accepting me the way I really was. Broken. Fractured. Shattered, in fact.

Fortunately (never was a truer word spoken) at 30, I started to practise Buddhism, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It acted like kintsugi on the broken pieces of my life.

Kintsugi is the centuries old, Japanese art of sticking broken pottery pieces back together with gold. The finished product is infinitely more beautiful and unique than its original, whole form.

Not long after I began my journey of faith, two different close friends, on two separate occasions, on the same day, said to me, “Excuse me! Which one of you am I talking to right now?”

Buddhist practice has a way of bringing you answers or messages that you need in sometimes very surprising ways!

When the first friend said it, I laughed it off. When the second friend said exactly the same thing, on the same day, it brought home to me that I had a problem. I needed to stop role-playing in my real life. This presented a snag, as my strong insecurities caused me to need everyone to like me.

Fortunately (again!) the practice of Nichiren Buddhism brings forth from within four great virtues, one of which is – ta-daa! – true self.

β€œTrue self” refers to a state of freedom as vast as the universe, in which we can enjoy our true, or greater, self.

Daisaku Ikeda, president of SGI

Nichiren Buddhism reveals the truth that every living being has within herself or himself or itself an inviolable Buddha nature. It’s our true identity, underlying, and permeating, when activated by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, all the other aspects of our life, both interior and exterior. We share it in common with each other.

However, for many long swathes of time, even recently, I have continued my practice while disbelieving that I was the great, limitless person Buddhism spoke of. I clung to my fears and doubts, even while suffering from them.

I continued, regardless. That pure, inner part of me knew that I’d found the right path, in the timeless way that you know things without knowing how you know them.

And so, in a process by no means smooth and easy, but infinitely rewarding, fulfilling and freeing, I have for the past almost 40 years, gradually, bit by bit, stuck my broken self back together with the pure gold of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Our true self is always there, waiting to be tapped into.


6 comments on “What David Bowie and I Had in Common…”
  1. Supriya says:

    You write so beautifully! It’s effortless reading. And so enriching πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greatly and gratefully appreciated, Supriya! Especially since the process of writing is effortful for me, so it’s lovely to hear that reading the finished piece is effortless!! There’s some kind of justice to that! 😁


  2. Laura says:

    Always enjoy your eye opening post!πŸ˜ŠπŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Laura!


  3. Laura says:

    Love your eye opening post!πŸ˜ŠπŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ☺️


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