Occasionally, you read something that is well written, simple, powerful and direct, so much so, that you just want to share it. Thus is the case here. It was written by New Zealand born, Pong Re Rinpoche, who has an excellent and precise command of the English language.
STOP CARRYING THE PAST
It’s not a big surprise if I tell you that we can't change the past - we all know there is no way to turn back time. Still, we cling so strongly to memories and experiences of the past that we hardly enjoy the present. And especially negative memories, which can have a very deep impact on how we plan our lives and think about the future.
Because of this some people develop very negative thoughts. For example, constantly thinking about revenge and wishing a person suffers for the things they did to them. Or they are so affected by the difficulties they have been through that it is almost impossible for them to find happiness in their lives, they become depressed and unable to help themselves or others.
Although you may not be able to see it, these kind of thoughts can be very harmful. They may lead to negative actions, if you succeed in carrying out the plans you made. But most of all these negative thoughts will take away your joy in life, awareness of the present moment, and the opportunities you have to become a better human being.
Actually, the best revenge you can take is not allowing other people to make your life miserable, don't give them this kind of power or satisfaction. You are the one who controls whether you are happy or unhappy, no one else. It all depends on your mental attitude.
Of course we all face challenges in our lives, but we can face our problems with strength and courage or we can let ourselves down. We can allow the past to take over our present and future, or let go of the past and decide to turn our present and future into a better one.
I can tell from my own experience, letting go of negative things that happened in the past can be a great relief. It is like a great weight we have carried for so long being lifted from us. It makes us light and energetic to continue on our journey. As Indira Gandhi said, "Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave." So, forgive yourself and others, be brave, let go of the past, and try to make every moment of your life meaningful.
Pong Re Rinpoche
Love is blind, and sometimes stupid too. It doesn’t ask for permission and it doesn’t go through a check list to make sure that you fall for someone who is a perfect match for you. When love takes hold of us, we usually fall, and sometimes we fall very hard. You may fall for someone who lives next door or someone who is very far away, even for someone who is from a different country and speaks a different language, or someone whom your parents don’t like. It’s also possible to fall for your teacher or even a family member, for example a cousin. As I said, love is blind.
If we fall for someone, lets say Pema Choedon or X or Y, our entire happiness seems to depend on that person’s attention. Therefore it hits us very hard when things don’t turn out the way we expected - sometimes we turn into complete fools in our helpless efforts to stay together with that one special person. Believe me, I know that being rejected or dumped by someone whom we dearly love is very painful. It can make us feel angry, lonely, desperate, depressed and utterly sad. Some people suffer so much that they even consider suicide.
The breakup of a relationship marks the end of a story between two people, and often it’s not a happy ending. Suddenly all our hopes and expectations for a shared future burst like colorful soap-bubbles and disappear. It leaves us with a feeling of disappointment, failure and loss. There are so many factors involved when people meet, and it’s the same with parting. Sometimes we are able to solve the problems and fix the relationship, but often we’re not, even if we have the best intentions. In such cases we have to let go without letting ourselves down.
The bad news is that the pain of separating will most likely not stop straight away. Just like a wound needs some care and time to heal, your heart needs some time to heal also. So be patient during this healing process and don't give up. The good news is that a time will come when the pain will go away. Just like everything else in this world, the sorrow of parting from those you love is also impermanent. I can guarantee it!
So try to be thankful for the experience, for this lesson that life has taught you and for the love you shared. Forgive the other person for their mistakes and forgive yourself also. Most importantly, don’t allow the breakup to break you. Actually you don’t need anyone to make you happy, just make yourself happy! You don’t need another person to survive. You can live on your own: eat, sleep, work, smile, study, pray, meditate, help others. You don’t need a girlfriend/wife or boyfriend/husband to do all those things.
So feel good about yourself, feel free and enjoy your life, it’s short enough! Finally, move on with a heart that is brave and courageous, yet tender and compassionate. A heart that is free and capable to love even more, to yourself, a new partner, and all beings in this world.