How to Get Over the Hurt-2

The question still remains: How to get over the hurt? I would like to cover this answer in two posts. In today’s write-up, let me begin with a beautiful story:

Once upon a time, there was a guy. He deeply loved a girl. He dreamed of her all the time. He would send her flowers, give her gifts, say nice things, and express his love. She accepted his gifts, flowers, chocolates and all, but wouldn’t give or say anything in return other than a thank you. The boy still didn’t lose hope and thought one day his love would win over her, that, one day she would melt and she would reciprocate. He thought the girl did love him, only that she wasn’t expressing it yet. It went on a for a while. Nothing changed.

One day, the girl informed him that she was moving out of town. He pleaded with her to not go. The girl, however, said that she had more important things to do.

“Why, what about love? Is it not important? Don’t you love me?” the guy said.

“Love? What about it? I never loved you,” she said.

The guy got up and left the place. Everyone in the friends and family got concerned about him. They were certain he was broken beyond repair, but there was not a sign of hurt on his face or in his actions. Some thought he was really depressed and was acting cocky to hide his real feelings. A few days passed and he kept on living normally. One day his friends confronted him.

“You must be really sad and heartbroken. We know you are hurt,” they said.

“Hurt? Not really. I’m happier than before.”

“How can this be? You loved her to bits, whereas she dumped you callously saying she never loved you.”

“You see,” he said, “I lost someone who never loved me, but she lost someone who loved her deeply. So, tell me, who has actually lost?”

The story above gives us a perspective. And, it’s all about the perspective, a viewpoint, how we take what we get, how we look at what life makes us see. We are no one to judge the girl in the story either. Who knows maybe she had another reason she chose to not say. Matters of the heart can’t be forced or comprehended, really. Besides, my focus is the guy in the story above, for, he was the one who was supposed to be hurt.

So, what is the learning in the story, you may ask? Here it is: stop looking at yourself as the victim. I know you may not like it but it’s the truth. If you are getting hurt because you are in an abusive relationship, in which case we need to deal with it differently, I agree you are the victim. But, in normal relationships, when you choose to ignore what the other person really wants, and when you focus on only your preferences, you automatically set yourself up for great disappointment.

That’s not all, though. A long ago I wrote on the karmic account. Nature operates in a wholesome and integrated manner. When you are hurt, you should take a hard look at if you are hurting someone too? They could be your siblings, friends, family members, in-laws, colleagues, anyone. When we hurt someone, it doesn’t mean the same person will hurt us back. It simply means that in the immaculate laws of Nature, She will setup someone else to deliver the goods.

I would like to reiterate that this post is about getting hurt in a non-abusive relationship. Abusive relationships, even though common, are anomalies in Nature. They are dealt with differently. I also understand that this is not exactly a motivational post for those who are hurt, but, I do hope you’ve some food for thought.

In a nutshell, we should examine if we are reasonable with our expectations we have from the other person, and, if we are taking responsibility of the choices we have made, and, if we are hurting anyone else, anyone at all in this creation.

Reflect on the above and act accordingly, and I promise you’ll become your own witness to a powerful inner transformation. Your mind will become like the quiet sea, like the blue sky, like the gentle breeze, like the steady stream.

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Get Over the Hurt-1

When you discover your inner sanctuary, you become like the gentle stream. You keep moving.

My inbox was swamped with comments on my last post on hurting being easier than healing. Most readers said they would love to hear my views on how to get over the hurt. Some had a different view, they didn’t think it was possible to avoid getting hurt. One of them wrote:

“Don’t you think it’s easier said than done (to protect Yourself) from getting hurt from the ones you love? Should you be closed to them as well? Detachment is not a human emotion. It’s divine and it cannot be reached by everyone or else we all would be the happiest. And if you are going to let your guards down in front of someone or anyone, you are going to keep getting hurt. And, I feel if you love or are attached to someone too much then no matter how much you try to change or forgive or forget or walk away you can’t let go…the hurt keeps coming back…”

There’s no question that detachment is an extraordinary trait, it is even divine. Agreed. But, that doesn’t make it good enough a reason to drop it. There’s also no doubt that we will get hurt, but, that doesn’t mean we can’t get over it. We truly do hold the keys to our happiness. The question is do you want to improve yourself? If yes, then you need to work on yourself. We can’t just continue to hope that things will change without bringing a change in ourselves, in our mindset, in our lifestyle, in our approach.

Om Namah Shivay

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Peaceful co-existence

Often we find that we are unable to get on with our parents, or siblings, or spouses. The reason is no one is without the thought of self. No one is without an ego. So there is bound to be friction when people are thrown about in each other’s company for a long time. But what then is the solution? Should one shun one’s relatives, in the desire to avoid friction? How much importance should we give to our independence? The refusal to make even minor adjustments to accommodate one’s own family has led to members of a family not even keeping in touch with each other. Siblings who grew up together, no longer tolerate each other, when they are adults. It is sad when they can hardly bear to be in the company of their extended family for long. But we must learn the art of peaceful co-existence.

Children of the present era use the word ‘self- reliant’ with abandon, thinking that human beings can be dispensed with and that life can go on merrily if one has enough money for creature comforts. But human beings are not dispensable. Nor can they be cast aside once their services are no longer needed. In fact one must realise that one cannot live in isolation, and that it is one’s family that rallies round in times of need.

The need for co-operation and gregariousness has been demonstrated in the animal world. There was a time when there was an unusually cold winter, in a place where there was a colony of porcupines. To keep warm, the porcupines huddled together. Because of the bristles on their bodies, they were injuring each other, but they still kept close to each other for, if they moved away, they would die without the bodily warmth of the other porcupines. So although there was a lot of discomfort, the porcupines stayed close together and survived. Likewise, a family is not without its share of annoyances and irritations and even quarrels. But if we cite this as a reason for moving away from our kith and kin, then we will be left with no one to help us in times of need. We need each other for our very survival. So we must learn to co-exist peacefully with others, so that our life on this earth does not become difficult.

Always be Happy……..

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Forgive-2

These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people.

The key phrase is rightful pardon to the one who has confessed his misdeed. There’s no forgiveness without confession. And a conditional or an incomplete confession is not a confession but a vain explanation, a justification, a pretense. For example, if someone apologizes for their mistake but starts to describe why they did a certain action or why it wasn’t entirely a mistake, it means somewhere they still don’t mean to apologize, somewhere they still believe there was some validity behind their transgression. No real forgiveness is possible in such a scenario. As they say, a stiff apology is one more insult. It’s much better and more effective to fully admit and take ownership of our mistake and vow to not repeat it.

Forgiving and letting go are not the same, for, forgiveness is only possible when the other person participates in the process. Imagine two road accidents. In the first case, the offender comes out, says sorry and exchanges the details so you may claim the insurance. In the second case, it’s a hit-and-run. They don’t stop and speed away. When there’s no participation from the other side, you can’t truly forgive or reconcile. You may, at the most, unwillingly accept that you got cheated. Sometimes, you find yourself unable to forgive and then feel bad that your heart’s not big enough. The truth may well be that with your heart of gold you are eagerly waiting and patiently standing with the gift of forgiveness wrapped in compassion, love and care, but the recipient fails to show up.

If you are on the other side of the fence, if you hurt someone or when deep within you believe you treated the other person unjustly, offer them an unconditional and a sincere apology. You’ll feel light and they’ll feel healed. To seek forgiveness is even more profound than wanting to forgive.

What if the other person is no longer in your life? Is there no way to forgive then? Yes there is; one for another time. And, at that time, I would also elaborate for you the difference between forgiving as an act versus forgiveness as an emotion.

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Forgive-1

Forgiveness is a gift. It’s as much about the recipient as the giver.This is a question I get asked more frequently than any other: how to forgive? Often readers tell me that they have forgiven the other person but they are still hurt. That, thoughts or sight of the other person still triggers emotional pain. That, even though they have forgiven, they are still unable to feel love for the other person. That, the good old times have not returned. I know what you mean.

There’s a common misconception about forgiveness — we often believe that once we forgive someone we’ll immediately start feeling love for them again. It doesn’t work this way. Before we reach the point where we contemplate forgiving the other person, we have already been hurt. Until we recover from the hurt, the harmony and peace can’t be restored. The period of recovery can range from a minute to a lifetime. It depends on the quality of the relationship, our personal strength and the nature of the transgression.

Further, forgiveness must not be confused with reconciliation. They are not the same. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you’ve accepted their manner, demeanor, or actions. It simply means that you have decided, out of compassion or care, for the good of the other person or your own, to not let their past actions ruin your peace. The peace you experience upon forgiving someone quickly vanishes if they repeat the mistake or don’t value your kindness. Think of forgiveness as a gift you give to the transgressor. When the other person doesn’t acknowledge it, or devalues it by repeating their actions, they have basically not accepted your gift. Your gift is returned and it’s lying with you again now. You are back to square one — hurt, resentful and perturbed.

True forgiveness is not possible without reconciliation. And, reconciliation is not possible without a confession. Unless the other person confesses his act, you can’t really forgive. When they don’t believe they made a mistake or when they don’t care about what or how you feel, in such circumstances, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s not possible to forgive. A confession and an apology from the other person, with a sense of remorse, are absolutely integral for forgiveness. Yes, it is possible to forgive someone a hundred times, if they come and confess and apologize a hundred times, but it’s not possible to forgive them even once if they don’t seek your pardon. This is where I see the root cause of the problem: you want to forgive and not resent the other person, but, you can’t do so because they won’t admit they wronged you.
Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one who doesn’t see his transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn’t rightfully pardon another who has confessed his transgression. These two are fools.

Om Namah Shivay

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No attachments

It is said that when Buddha inducted bhikkhunis (Pali term for ordained Buddhist nuns), he was met with considerable resistance, for he had moved away from the norm and offered women an equal place as their male counterparts. Some objected and asked him to reconsider. It was not prudent to have women in such close proximity to Buddha, they argued. Unchained by the petty views of the world, Buddha, however, did what he thought was right. The number of female followers grew rapidly in his sangha and wherever he traveled, many bhikkhunis traveled with him. This did not sit well with a lot of people and rumors spread like thoughts in a restless mind.

During one of his sojourns in a village, a small group of rowdy people hurled abuses at Buddha forcing him to cut short his discourse. They were mad at him for breaking the tradition and all that. They called him names, accused him of impiety and impropriety. Unable to bear the insult, a number of sangha members rose to their feet to confront the offenders.

“Wait!” Buddha forbade the monks raising his hand. “They are behaving like this because they don’t know me.”

He looked at the faces of his spiritual children red with anger and hurt. Buddha let a few moments roll before he said, “But, you do. Therefore, follow the path of ahimsa and sit down.”

Everyone has a whole world of thoughts, emotions, desires (mostly unfulfilled), opinions, ideas and so on in their head. What comes out of anybody’s mouth is simply a glimpse of what’s in their mind. Good and loving words tumble out from a calm and compassionate mind. Gossip and harsh words from a restless and jealous mind. It’s no rocket science. Besides,  everyone is entitled to an opinion about you. Let them.

“Does that mean, Guruji,” someone asked me, “that we just listen to their blabbering? Doesn’t being silent imply that we are not just accepting but encouraging them?”

It’s a good point but I’m not suggesting that you can only choose between silence and anger. When you are dealing with a rumormonger or a criticizer, if you are going to get angry then how are you any better though? Does that kind of behavior suit you? If anything, it’ll only ruin your own peace. As I say, under all circumstances, act in a manner that befits you. It takes patience, resolve, mindfulness and compassion to do that but, it is entirely possible. At any rate, beyond silence and hostility, there’s a third option. A better one. It’s called the Three Filters Test by Socrates.

“I’ve something important to tell you,” an acquaintance of Socrates said to him while he passed through the markets. “It’s about your friend. He—”

“Stop!” Socrates reacted. “Let me run the three filters to ascertain if I want to know it.”

The man looked somewhat confounded as Socrates continued, “First is the filter of truth. Whatever you want to tell me, have you seen or witnessed it firsthand?”

“Umm… I heard it from someone,” the man replied, “but, it is from a trusted source. I’ve observed—”

“Maybe. That does not pass my first test though,” Socrates said cutting him off, “since you don’t know whether it’s true.”

“Second is the filter of goodness. Is that a good statement you want to make about my friend?”

“Not really. That’s the reason I wanted—”

“So, you want to tell me something bad about someone but don’t know if it’s true.”

“The last is the filter of utility,” Socrates added. “Your statement about my friend, will that be useful to me?”

“Probably not, I just wanted to share…”

“Well, if the information is not necessarily true, not good, and of no use,” Socrates concluded, “I don’t want to know it.” With that the Greek philosopher walked away.

This is also my way of dealing with excessive information in the present age. Mindfully, I ask myself before indulging in a conversation: do I want to know it? Will this information fill my mind with good thoughts? Would it matter if I did or didn’t have this piece of information? After all, anyone who knows you or doesn’t know you will have an opinion about you. And, it’s perfectly fine.

What people see is what they want to see. And if they don’t see what they aspire, they’ll create it. That’s the definition of a rumor. That’s how an overactive mind imagines.

Social media has fueled our appetite for gossip. It is counterproductive and unnecessary. We waste a lot of time peeking into others’ lives. One little Nemo in the vast ocean of information. At least, I should not be a contributor on social media.

A disciple asked, “Master, is it okay for a monk to use emails?”

“Yes, son,” the guru quipped, “as long as there are no attachments.”

Om Namah Shivay

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Four Aspects of Mindful Parenting-3

Here’s the secret of joy in a relationship: don’t take yourself too seriously.

Freedom (Upeksha)

Many such scholars as Thich Nhat Hanh define upeksha as equanimity or freedom. Perhaps, the true test of trust in a relationship is how much freedom it grants, and also how such privilege is used. There’s another meaning of upeksha though: patience. And, patience is something that most parents possess and lose in abundance — strangely, at the same time sometimes.

“Do you know when Abraham Lincoln was of your age he studied under the street lamps?” This was what a father said to his 14-year-old every time he scolded him, which was nearly everyday. He thought it would inspire his child. For months, the boy listened to the same argument over and over again.

One day he couldn’t take it any more and shot back. “Dad,” he said, “do you know when Abraham Lincoln was of your age, he was the president of the United States of America!”

Be patient. Understand that when you were 15 or 20, you were going through very similar challenges too as they are facing now. You also loved lazing around, getting up late perhaps, feeding on junk food and so on. Maybe there were times when you told lies, bunked classes and fooled around. This is all part of growing up.

As parents, or in love, you only mean well but you can’t teach them everything. And you shouldn’t try to. For there are certain lessons only life can impart. And, life never transmits a lesson alone. It does so with time. We can do the best we can and the rest must be left to time. The flower of life only unfolds with time. Rushing it is wrecking it.

Be patient. Be gentle. Be kind. Take it easy.

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Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.

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Try to disconnect from technology and sit down with a good book on a regular basis.

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Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

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Volunteer with a local reading program.

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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

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A room without books is like a body without a soul.

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Start a collection of your favorite books, and loan them out to friends and family.

Om Namah Shivay

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