There is a story from Ajahn Brahm when he was asked by a devotee a question, and they wanted a quick answer from him. They said “Ajahn Brahm, I don’t have a lot of time, so can you give me a short teaching about what the Buddha taught?”. Ajahn Brahm being a quick thinker answered brilliantly “suffering is asking what life can never give you”. I really like that – but I’d personally phrase it to be “suffering is asking anything but what is”.
I must admit, this lesson really sunk in when I was healing from my heartbreak. I was so much in pain – pain from having someone I loved walked away from me but mainly the pain is because I wanted something else but the reality.
To love him isn’t the real cause of my pain or suffering. In fact, pure love won’t cause suffering – it’s my wanting that makes me suffer. My expectations… when we broke up, I wanted to kill my love for him. Because I (subsciously) felt that by not loving him I’d find my happiness. Little did I know this was the real cause of my pain! I rejected what was happening.
Slowly I learnt to be open to whatever arose in my heart and life… I leant to truly accept. If I still loved him, so be it. If he didn’t care about us anymore, so be it. If I felt hurt/disappointed, so be it. So I let things be… I opened my heart to any experience that came. Then I noticed the difference. The hurt/disappointment was still there but it felt much more bearable. And the more I practise acceptance (mainly of what arises in my heart, rather than other people’s), I felt more at ease and happier.
Going through disappointments isn’t always easy… but it’s more difficult if we reject ourselves. So my friends, whenever you feel pain/suffering, let it be – welcome it with all your heart, don’t judge it. Just be with it, just like a dear friend. Welcome and embrace it with love.
Love in itself is acceptance. Without acceptance, it’s not love. When we love ourselves fully, our mental suffering is reduced. If we rely on others to give us the love we need, we will feel disappointed, as we can’t guarantee if they won’t change their mind. The only secure source of love is from our own.
So .. let’s always welcome whatever we have in our heart and mind. Though I don’t mean that we shouldn’t reflect ourselves and try to be a better person. Part of loving oneself is to give it the best we could possibly offer, that includes to create a better self (physically and mentally).
Hope my rumbling makes sense and is helpful. Thank you for reading.
Wishing you well