Spotlight on Our Sangha: Naimah

May 3, 2021

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I’ve always had a sense life was about a spiritual path. It was my husband Steve who introduced me to the Dharma. I saw the joy he would bring home from going to classes, so I went to a class, and I’m still going all these years later. What I’ve observed throughout my life is that most people believe they’re not enough or they don’t have enough. Dharma has shown me I have plenty.

Even though I’ve been coming for a long time, I’m still, moment by moment, learning and exploring. I’m always asking myself if I’m living the teachings as best as I can. I know there’s still room for improvement but I also know that I’m better than I was. I’m not as angry, or sad, or fearful as I used to be.

Dharma is very much at the center of my life now. When I wake up in the morning, I do my sadhana, I meditate, I make offerings, and Steve and I always read a few pages from one of Venerable Geshe-la’s books. What I want to keep improving on is the sense of lightness that comes with practice. I want to feel like I’m always smiling at my heart.

It’s not just my inner experience that has changed, practicing Dharma has also improved my relationships with other people. I think because i’ve become less judgmental over the years. It’s much easier to be withdrawn and aggressive, but it’s so much more fulfilling to be open and loving and kind. Being a practitioner doesn’t mean you can’t speak up or fight for justice but you come to understand that people’s negative actions come from unbelievable suffering. People in designer suits suffer too. We have an image of what we think suffering looks like, but it’s really not always the appearance we think it is.

For me, it’s not enough to have the teachings, I also need to share them. I look at my class as the opening door. I often find that people who are new have been searching for a while. I want to make them confident in the knowledge that they can meditate. I also want them to know how important it is to create space to get to know their mind and see how busy it is, and to use this as an opportunity to learn how to be truly kind and compassionate with themselves. Most important of all, I want the people who come to my class to know that they have the potential to be a person who benefits others by the quality of life they live.

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