Happines Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good by Tina Turner

Published in 2020, Tina Turner has given us one more memoir, of her more than eight decades on this earth. She is able to weave in the influence of her spiritual practice with her tales of growing up in Nutbush, Tennessee and becoming an international superstar.

She sang out loud and chanted in secret. This is what Anna Mae did when her then-husband wasn’t around, she chanted for her life. Unlike what was commonly believed, through the depiction in the stellar film “What’s Love Got to do with It?”, she was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism through a white woman who Ike brought to the home. His house. His rules. How interesting his karma to have delivered absolute happiness to someone he was abusing. Her relative happiness could be identified in her ability to get out of his house, out of the contracts and keep her stage-name. Her absolute happiness could be identified in her ability to forgive him and pray for his happiness and healing.

Tina Turner touches on common topics in any person’s life: difficult family relationships, societal pressures, and impasses that prevent someone from doing and being what they desire. Anna Mae cannot deny the racist structures that ruled around her, the seasons picking cotton, and becoming a mother in her teen years. There is common magic here, in her words, her stories that reveal how vulnerable people still have limitless potential and can make what they perceive as impossible, possible.

Tina discusses how the 10 Worlds function in her life (from her buddhist practice). The 10 worlds are the ten states of life: hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, heaven, learning, realization, bodhisattva and Buddhahood. The Buddhist terminology would label the 10 worlds as follows: the realms of hell, hungry spirits, animals, asuras, human beings, heavenly beings, voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, bodhisattva and Buddhas. The mutual possession of the 10 worlds means that each of the 10 worlds has all of the 10 worlds inherent within it. Subsequently within the 10 worlds are the 10 factors. The 10 factors of life are 10 aspects shared by all living beings of the 10 worlds. These include appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relational, latent affect, manifest affect, and their consistency from beginning to end.

From “The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace: Selections from the works of Daisaku Ikeda” the 10 worlds are broken down into habit patterns. “just as a spring returns to its original shape after being stretched, people tend to revert to their own basic tendency. But even if one’s basic life tendency is the world of hell, it doesn’t mean that one will remain in that state 24 hours a day. That person will still move from one life state to another — for instance, sometimes manifesting the world of humanity, sometimes the world of anger, and so on… Even if they momentarily manifest the world of bodhisattva, however, they will quickly revert to their basic life tendency of the world of anger.”

This is to say that things are always going on. That roller coaster people often talk about, that’s what we’re all on, all the time. For some, the roller coaster is just creeping up to the highest height about to breach over the top. For others the roller coaster is taking the turns, which are exciting and also unnerving. This type of awareness is not for coaches and gurus and meditative practitioners. This type of awareness is for everyone to grasp, whatever their capacity. Wisdom is truly the notion of considering the same ideas with more depth, precision and relatability for all people.

Tina Turner is an example of a life of gratitude. Not one of perfection and protection from pain or public scrutiny. She faced each phase of her life as a rebirth. To be born a human is rare. To be reborn in the same lifetime into enlightenment through the wisdom of one’s suffering is the ultimate expression of Buddha-nature.

Domestic Potential | Violent Marriages

f7f0dcf71a070f21db24a62fcc785118 I always find it interesting when I enter someone’s home and they have a placard or poster hanging that says “God Blesses Everyone Who Enters This Home” (hearts, italic font). I wonder if they believe it. Did they buy that? Was it a gift they felt they had to put up in order to appease someone? I never ask. Whether I think it’s rude or irrelevant, I still wonder what it means to the people that walk around it every day.

I think the reason I wonder these things about these placards is if the home is really as blessed and safe as it proposes. So many unhappy homes have trinkets that represent togetherness and bonds that may not actually exist. Family photos, the Sears or JCPenny kind, are a reflection of what we want to see, not necessarily what is, which is a painful notion captured in a frozen image.

Just like the idea that there are no gay people in my family, there must never have been any domestic violence. My parents yelled at one another. I know nothing else. And that was only during junior high. I might have seen scenes go down at other peoples homes but that was the community we lived in. Arguing, screaming, throwing things, pushing. But we were always taught to never let anyone put their hands on us and that boys were not supposed to hit girls. The fallacy of adulthood.

A lifetime later I discover that most of the women in my family have been in relationships or situations that can be considered domestic violence. It is with hope that more and more people discuss these common experiences in order to find solutions instead of perpetrating the lie that a happy family can look like us. Several of my cousins are married to men they love, and have loved a long time, but who have committed infidelity, made cruel statements that lower self esteem or simply taking power away from them through financial means. We know this…control the money, control the person. I’ve been through this with my parents. It makes absolute sense that I may choose someone who is any combination of these things.

Control and the side effects of taking someone’s power away have deep repercussions. We are recently seeing more articles about how domestic violence manifests in the future lives of children which is extremely important. But it is also important to talk to your children about the realities: NOT ALL PEOPLE WHO YOU LIKE OR LIKE YOU ARE GOOD FOR YOU!

Many small conversations over a persons’ childhood and adolescence can meet this need. It is a need. It should be demanded and I wish all children could do so, but it’s up to parents. If parents are in a negative situation, how can they discuss this objectively with their kids. It tends to come up when people are going through a divorce. A divorce is what happens at the end of a marriage. It is the deletion of the account, the dissolution of a contract, the nullification of vows. If parents are not in a negative situation, they must find it in themselves to be brave enough to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations.

What is it that parents do not want their kids to find out? The truth about the potential of their future relationships.

Recently, San Bernardino experienced a tragic situation when a special education elementary school teacher was shot in her classroom by her estranged husband. Newlyweds. Full-on adults. Not youngins. We are way past go here, it is clear that this woman had experienced this type of behavior before. And her victimizer had done bad things. Violence against women has become a tenet of the news and social media so much so that Twitter participants created a hashtag called #YouOkSis. The fact this is necessary is horrific. Truly. We have to look out for each other because the police, strangers and our family are dangers to us.

The most shocking part, that will reverberate through lives and time, is that a classroom full of children witnessed this and one of them was shot because he was standing in her rear trajectory. How long will they receive counseling? How long will this resonate with them? This is a link to a great article about how abusers, no matter the degree, control their image through social media and other outlets. Mass shootings are caused by people, namely men, who have a history of domestic violence (reported or not).

I want the wish on the placard to be true, that All Who Enter Are Protected.