(Photo above courtesy of Anthony Cloyd)
Anthony Cloyd, of Los Angeles, shares how learning to listen and reach out to others helped him build confidence.
One of my biggest benefits since I started practicing Buddhism three years ago has been developing the ability to listen to people and connect with them in a way I wasn’t able to before. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo helped me to listen with my heart and see beyond the surface. Before, I would judge people, especially people in my family, and if I felt they weren’t a “good” person, then I would distance myself.
In my family, people struggled to say how they really felt, and it quickly led to anger. And as much as I was angry with my family about their inability to communicate, I was repeating the same patterns.
For example, my grandmother came from a time when vulnerability was seen as a weakness. Any conversations about personal feelings were avoided. I used to react to her pushing me away by staying away. But chanting helped me see why it was important to challenge that and transform our relationship.
So, in January of this year, she needed help walking after injuring her hip in a fall, and I was there for her. After every interaction we had together, even bad ones, I would remind my grandmother that I loved her by taking action to help her. Before she passed away on Feb. 6, 2021, she expressed her appreciation for my help and commented on the phone with a cousin that she was receiving a lot of love. Buddhism enabled me to see the value of her life.
Determined to change this karmic situation in my family, I introduced my sister and brother to Buddhism, which has helped us communicate better. They’ve been chanting and my sister has started to see some changes in her life. She even attended a Buddhist meeting in her local community. My brother is pursuing his interest in animation, and I’m encouraging him to follow his dreams. I am focused on my career as a film actor and even booked a national commercial last year. Currently, I am in a recurring guest starring role on a popular streaming platform.
By making efforts to connect with others, to listen with my heart and to see beyond the surface, I have built my confidence.
In our society, we are often encouraged toward an individualistic way of life so reaching out to others was foreign to me. However, by making efforts to connect with others, to listen with my heart and to see beyond the surface, I have built my confidence. For me, the key is not to be discouraged or to give up in this effort.