Useful Buddhism – dealing with Disappointment

Not getting what we desire is suffering. Getting what we hate is suffering.

What Buddha pointed out is a simple Truth. Something that we experience every day. Most of the time, we encounter minor sufferings, slight irritations that are quickly over taken by other distractions.

When we train ourselves to be more mindful, we become more aware of such unhappiness arising in our mind. In that sense, it is useful because we are no longer ignorant of what causes our irritation early this morning.

Since we are more aware of the cause, it becomes easier for us to address it. It could be a dream from our previous night that trigger our train of snappy emotion. It could be that sour face of a Starbuck staff. It could be a dread for a meeting in the afternoon. Or simply a bad hair day.

If we look at the above, it is apparent that our irritation is caused by our mind being fixated in a past experience or an unfounded future. Once we realize that, we try to live in the present moment. That result in us wanting to strengthen our mind through our practice, so that we have the strength to stop our discursive train of thoughts.

It is the same for huge disappointment in life.

Say our spouse is changing their personality or behavior. Or our children is misbehaving and getting into a lot of trouble. Or someone we respect slander us. Or our best friend betray our trust.

The only thing that differentiate huge disappointment from minor irritation, is our mind latching on to that huge disappointment. One moment, we relive that devastating experience and the next, we think about our happier days. Then we think about gloomy stuff awaiting us in the future.

Sometimes, we wish we can go back in time to right the wrong. sometimes we think about revenge. We lament that our love ones are no longer the people we knew. That helpless reliving of a memory and that longing for something that is already in the past, creates intense sufferings in our mind. If we were cheated, we lament the broken promise and feel like a loser. So on and so forth. We have no control over our mind and since our mind enjoys intense emotion, it keeps on bringing back those bad memories or create fantasy of intense emotion (including hatred)!.

Craving results in sufferings

When we recall Buddha’s message, it becomes soothing. Life is all about ups and downs. We cannot avoid the downs. It is inevitable. Everyone has it. Once we accept the inevitable truth of sufferings, we should ask ourselves. “Ok, so how do I eliminate the unhappiness in my mind?”

Craving cause suffering. Attachment cause sufferings. Clinging cause sufferings.

What does the above mean? Well, we feel unhappy when we replay our past memory. The solution is simply to stop thinking about the past. Stop clinging to that delusion. Stop craving for a past moment.

In another word, let go and move on.

So you see, our attachment to a past experience is causing us unhappiness. That is why we need to let go. For a beginner, it is difficult. This is because you cannot control where your mind is heading. Although, a memory is painful, our rascal mind just keeps on replaying it for us. That is why we need to strengthen our mind in order to gain control again.

Letting go of our pain is so beautiful. You can be looking at the cloud or sipping coffee in a cafe. Once we decide to let go, we feel liberated. The sky suddenly becomes brighter and we smell our coffee again.

The trick is to keep letting go because our tricky mind will bring back those hurtful memory at random. Keep letting go and practicing it till we are good at it. Then we will not latch on to that disappointment that causes our emotion to spiral downwards.

Since we already hurt once, there is no wisdom in punishing ourselves by reliving the past.

May all be well and happy.

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